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No Prompt! Have Fun! · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
No Story! I Had Fun!
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#1 · 1
#2 · 6
#3 · 1
#4 · 2
I'm pretty sure this violates the rule about word count.
#5 ·
Dammit, horizon, this had better not be you.

It was, wasn't it?

You magnificent bastard.
#6 ·
#7 · 3
No fun, I had story.
#8 · 6
· · >>TitaniumDragon >>RogerDodger >>The_Letter_J
Oooooohhhhhhh, you.

This was not me. I'm going to straight-up disclaim responsibility for this one so I can sleuth into it. I think someone pulled a Basilisk For One and managed to creatively dick around with Writeoff code to take advantage of either a bug or an unanticipated feature.

Looking at the page source for this story (hopefully it shows up in comments here), this is what is being served inside the div where the story would normally go:

<div class="Story" style="font-family: serif">
<span style="color: inherit;"></span>
<!-- 2000 words -->

Oddly, that <!-- 2000 words --> shows up in other stories' pages, with the number changed to reflect the actual wordcount. The <span> did NOT show up in the other story I checked the HTML source of.

So I'm going to brainstorm some wild guesses based on that and other common weak points:

1) HTML injection with the wordcount comment manually added in order to fool the validator into using that rather than the calculated wordcount.
2) Something about the span tag allowed them to edit it later; e.g. text inside it isn't sanity-checked the usual way? Maybe it contained a line of PHP to replace itself with an empty box and 2000 words of dummy text, or something?
3) Possibly if the wordcount validator for story submissions is Javascript-based, creative client-side Javascript editing or disabling allowed them to bypass the edit restrictions.
4) Roger "wrote" this with a manual database insert.

Either way, hats off to you for the hack, author. ^.^ Even if Roger no-funs this into a DQ. >>horizon
#9 · 7
I was left wordless.
#10 ·
· · >>horizon
It is a pretty clear violation of the writeoff rules, namely the word count limitation. I don't think it is "no-funning" it. Just because you manage to trick the site into accepting a story doesn't mean you aren't breaking the rules.

I've never tried to circumvent the word limit with the edit function, but maybe you can?
#11 · 4
· · >>The_Letter_J
Ohmigosh, it's the 4'33" of Wirteoff fiction! Top marks, author, top marks :-D
#12 · 6
· · >>The_Letter_J >>horizon
I already knew this could be done. There are also many other techniques one could use to circumvent the word limit.

In fact, this story did not circumvent the word limit per se. Look at the input. There are 2000 words in this entry.

Of course, since the entry's text is just the same hundred or so words repeated multiple times to meet the word limit, I'm still going to DQ it.
#13 · 1
· · >>horizon >>TitaniumDragon >>Lucky_Dreams
No Story! I Had Fun!
Well, I can't say I'm surprised that this story got DQed; I knew there was a decent chance of that happening. I was really hoping that Roger would let it survive, even if only on a technicality. And you have to admit that this story is probably more true to the spirit of prompt than any other story here.

Still, I did enjoy having that one story that everyone was talking about for once, even though it was short-lived.

And I'm glad most of you seemed to enjoy this story.

Basilisk for One predates my participation here. What did it do?
I did consider a few of those options, but I went with something much easier instead. :twilightsmile:

Heh. I hadn't thought of it like that. It's not quite the same idea, but I appreciate the comparison. I've always been amused by 4'33".

So does that mean that if I had rambled on for 2000 words without repeating the text, you wouldn't have DQed it? I did consider doing that, but I thought it wouldn't be a problem because I remembered a previous story that wasn't DQed for 90% of it being repeated text (it was DQed for being connected to another story, but that's not the point).
#14 · 2
· · >>horizon >>TitaniumDragon >>Surf
I was pretty exhausted last night, and I didn't say what I meant to say. Now that I've slept on it, I would like to retract the "no-fun" line and try again.

If a story was submitted short of the wordcount, then it does break the rules and I agree that that disqualifies it, full stop.

What I was trying to say is that, whether or not this met the rules, I felt it was very much in the spirit of the prompt, and I thought it was clever, and the author should not be condemned for it. They shouldn't get the benefit of voting/scoreboarding for it (the rules are clear on that and I have no argument with them), but we can still reward them with our attention and some smiles, and my opinion is that we should.

Cue argument about April Fools, I suppose. I wouldn't have thought "creative, harmless rulebreaking for the sake of whimsy is good" to be such a controversial position, but I read more complaints about the existence of April Fool's Day on Friday than I read celebration of the jokes themselves. If I was trying to go somewhere with "no-fun" it was as a backreference to that (with lots of context missing), not at all intended as a slight on Roger or the Writeoffs.

I didn't even think to check the text version. That solves that. Still a pretty clever abuse of formatting.

Now I kind of wish that there actually had been a secret story, 2000 words of barely coherent stream of consciousness, kind of like that one entry Super Trampoline did for the "Just Over The Horizon" round which was a four-word visual pun and then 500 words of bizarre playground fable printed in white-on-white text. Which would have gone against the spirit of "No Story", and added some non-trivial amount of effort, but I would have loved it all out of proportion to its actual quality.
#15 · 1
I will confess to being vaguely amused by it. :V

I don't hold a grudge against The Letter J for doing it or anything.
#16 · 10
A Basilisk For One was my entry to the "Title Drop" contest a while back. I got the crazy idea of doing title drops of other submissions to the same contest, because if I found a way to make it work it would blow everyone's minds, and ended up hacking a solution together. This was back before the code change that gave each submitted story a randomized URL; stories were put into the databases with sequential numeric URLs, and so I actually was able to read the other entries before the story gallery went live. I wrote a blazingly meta story (riffing largely off of Being John Malkovich) in which Twilight and Spike are confronted with the mysterious arrival of 25 books in their library, books which Pinkie Pie warned them were existential hazards and desperately tried to keep them away from. Then pulled the mother of all plot twists at the end to reveal that those books were their own story plus the other 24 entries — complete with a scene in which they sat down and read and discussed the books, commenting on their titles and content — and then Pinkie burst in to wail that by reading the other entries, Twilight had gotten their story disqualified.

The reaction on the comment thread was glorious. Absolutely everything went right for it — I had to make a judgment call on how many other entries there would be, and guessed correctly how many last-minute submissions there were, so the story correctly cited the number of other entries. The stories were presented in a fixed-numbered gallery then rather than giving everyone randomized reading slates, and the custom at the time was generally to go through them in numerical order; Basilisk was randomly placed near the front of the list (for maximum impact before the thread spoiled it for later readers, but after one of the other titles it specifically name-dropped, so readers had enough context to realize what I had done). The first person to read it was the author whose story I described right at the beginning and used as foreshadowing for the big reveal, so they got the full effect without any spoiling whatsoever. In short, many brains were melted into puddles.

The story was a bit of a mess, but it was an event, and I am probably prouder of that one than of any of my gold medal winners. :D
#17 · 3
A Basilisk for One took advantage of the fact that previously, writeoff stories were given sequential numbers. This meant that it was possible to look at other writeoff stories before the round officially started.

Horizon's story took advantage of this fact by including references to other stories in the same writeoff, before they'd been officially published anywhere. It was a metafic, and it was glorious (though I think that it strayed a bit too far into weirdness in its Being John Malkovich crossover). Some of it was really brilliant, though, and it was a beautiful bit of mindscrew.

EDIT: Apparently in addition to being a mage, Horizon is also a ninja.
#18 · 1
Ah, for the sake of it: I liked this one. Fits so well the prompt and has this ninja vanish hidden arts attitude. (more story in making than is shown) Nice maneuver. Too bad it got DQed cause it fit the prompt so well.

Now that I've slept on it, I would like to retract the "no-fun" line and try again.

I wouldn't have thought "creative, harmless rulebreaking for the sake of whimsy is good" to be such a controversial position,

I think that's all why April Fools' is well recognised by calendars yet not a public holiday. Some people consider unruliness as a disease, others love it. Peace and pranks are the best of results. On april fools, don't ask permission or forgiveness. But on the official, the same rules apply:[ I love that holiday. It's messy. :]
#19 · 1
Sorry it got disqualified man. Though for what it's worth, opening this up was one of the few bright spots on what was otherwise a pretty lousy day for me yesterday, plus the hidden message was cool! So thanks for posting it :-)