Olympiad of Missguided Geeks

For the second time we bring you the "Olympiad of Misguided Geeks contest at The Daily WTF (or OMGWTF for short) along with our sponsor, NewRelic. Just like the last one, it's a fun twist on the usual programming contest: we don't want your best solution. Send us a solution that's so terrible that it's...worse than failure.

Rules & Objective

Competition Objective

After a long and drawn out requirements gathering process, one that lasted almost all of the time between the last contest and now, we decided that that we need a (nonlethal) decision making engine to match to our internal decision-making processes. It should be a program that randomly outputs 'yes' or 'no' (or heads/tails, 1/0, or any result with two options).

But this is The Daily WTF – we don’t want a simple, elegant solution. We need someone to implement a solution suitable for enterprise applications.

Submission deadline

No submissions, new or updated, will be accepted after June 28th, 2013, at 11:59PM, Eastern Time.

Who are the judges?

Only the best internet celebrity judges around – the editors of The Daily WTF!

Alex Papadimoulis
Mark Bowytz
Remy Porter

Each of us has the same weight in picking out the best (worst?) entry.

Who can enter?

Any readers of The Daily WTF who are not also writers of articles that have been published on The Daily WTF in the past 12 months.

How will entries be judged?

First, the code

Since this is a coding competition, your submission’s source code will carry the greatest weight with regards to its evaluation. You know how the entry page asks you to highlight WTFs? Well, we’ll read that and keep that in mind when looking at your code.

Also, your entry should be about “quality” over quantity. The length or brevity of your entry will not affect your chances, however, there must be enough code to illustrate a true WTF. Don’t send in a ten line entry and expect to be a finalist.

Second, the UI

Since your UI drives the interaction with your “WTF” process, it does carry some weight for how your entry will be judged. However this is a coding contest, not a beauty pageant. Making a gorgeous UI or using a hot dog stand color scheme will not affect your chances.

One more thing:

The decision of the judges is final. Even in case we’re wrong, we’re right. If you feel that your entry wasn’t judged fairly, well, sorry – that’s how a contest works. With that said though, we aren’t a bunch of jerks and we will make every effort to be fair.

Oh yeah, what about a tie?

We really hope that there will not be a tie, but in the event that there is, one of our Daily WTF authors to choose between the finalists.

Automatic Disqualification

  • Not deploying New Relic's performance monitoring software by the contest deadline. Yes, we will check with NewRelic to make sure that you did this.
  • Malicious Code contained within a submission – I mean, really?! Shame on you!
  • Submitting an entry without accompanying code. (i.e. sending in screenshots and a lovely write-up is a lot like bringing a knife to a gun fight)
  • Contest submissions entered after the entry deadline…sorry :-(
  • Entering somebody else’s work – you must have written your own entry. So don’t think about posting something on ODesk and using the solution of the lowest bidder! Besides, we all know that bad-code-on-purpose is always more interestingly bad than bad-code-due-to-incompetence.

Contest Details

Programming Languages

Choose your own, but remember: we have to be able to run your code, and understand why it’s bad. Things like C, C++, BASIC, Ruby, Perl, PowerShell, Python, .NET, Java, etc. are all great. As tempted as you might be to write a solution in Brainf**k or VAX Assembly, please don’t. It’ll just give us a headache and ruin your chances of winning.

Operating System / Hardware

All entries must run on Windows 7, OSX, or Linux. Natively. The fact that you can run a VM of Plan 9 on any of those OS’s does not count.

All judges will have relatively new computers. Not screamers - just regular middle of the road computers with several gigabytes of RAM and several cores of CPU. For Linux submissions, we would probably just slice a tiny server out of Amazon’s cloud. If your WTF solution necessitates the shoehorning of Windows 7 on a Pentium II, you need a new entry.

Alternatively, you may also host your entry on your own computer so long as it’s accessible via the internet (and you give us a way to access it).


Do not assume that we have a database installed on our evaluation machines. It’s not to say that we couldn’t install SQL Server 2000, but chances are we would ruin it somehow and invalidate your submission. HOWEVER, if you are hosting a database that is already installed on the backend, that’s fine.

Unlike the restrictions placed upon types of operating systems, any database is fine so long as either a) it’s open source (you probably want to do this or b) you have a valid license for it and can prove it - really - if you’re running a bootleg copy of DB2, you’re disqualified. (Don’t copy that floppy!)

Source Code Rights

The source code that makes up your project should be your entry. Please do not email us your source code...no really, that’ll just make us upset and discard your entry. Hosting your code up on github is a really good idea (or other source code host out there on the ‘net).

The volume of code will not affect your chances of winning. It’s all about quality (or lack thereof).

Finally, all source code belongs to you - we won’t steal your code no matter how ‘great’ it is nor will it be remixed or altered in any way in keeping with the spirit of the purity of this contest. However, if you are a finalist, we will share your code with the world. I mean, we’re The Daily WTF and that’s what we do - we publish examples of bad code.

Grand Prize

The one person who executes a perfect, all-around WTF solution will recieve a special engraved Asus - Transformer Pad Infinity Tablet with the keyboard dock. Also, as if that wasn't enough, you'll receive a coveted Daily WTF mug and a big ol' trophy to prove to your friends and family that you finished first in the Olympiad of Misguided Geeks and also warn those around you just how dangerous of a coder you REALLY are.

Runner-Up Prizes

If you don't come up with the best (worst) solution, don't despair There's other goals that you can aim for as well.

The MacGyver (most unexpected and clever solution)
$100 ThinkGeek Gift Card, Multi-Tool and a roll of Duct Tape.

Lipstick on a Pig ("best" looking)
$100 Amazon Gift Card, 1 can of Tactical Bacon, 1 stick of lipstick

Casino Royale, With Cheese(best randomness)
$100 Amazon Gift Card, Box of Random Swag, and an inflatable D20 We will not ship you cheese, but please, use your gift card to purchase some.

Beast of Burden (least maintainable)
$100 Amazon Gift Card, a box of adhesive bandages

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the results of the New Relic monitoring affect my chances of winning?

Nope. But if you have some results that you want to share, send them our way!

Hey, I have a great idea for 2 player human vs. human solution ­ does that violate the rules?

So long as there's a computer player option, somewhere, you're fine by us.

I don’t want to do a coin flip. I’d like to flex my creative muscles. I’m thinking: Rock, Paper, Scissors. Is that OK?

Go for it.

Really? Alright, I want to do Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock, +more ­ is that ok?

Yeah, that's fine. Remember the core of this contest ­ decision making engine. You should get a yes or no answer at the end.

I am terrible at web design. I’m great at coding, but to be honest, preschoolers have more artistic ability than I do. Do I have any chance at winning?

Do your best. Since this is a coding contest, I want to say “looks don’t matter”, but if you obviously put zero effort into the UI, chances are you put zero effort into your submission.

I am the best designer in the world. I can’t code worth a darn, but I can make a pretty webpage. I’d really like to enter ­ what can I do?

Head on over to the forums and put yourself out there.

I’m going to write my entry on an Apple IIe! This is going to be so rad!

That’s not actually a question, but keep in mind that the fact you’re crafting your entry on an ancient piece of hardware (or emulated hardware) isn’t very WTF­y, it’s actually pretty awesome.

Ok, but my four year old is at the Apple IIe pecking away supplying a random seed that is used in the decision making calculation. Results are sent over a null modem connection to my laptop which communicates with the Cloud in real­time. Also, my solution is quine. How about them apples?

There you go. THAT’S a WTF!

I want to enter, but I’m a rock star developer / code ninja and I don’t want someone (especially my employer) to know who I really am. Can I submit anonymously?

That’s fine. So long as WE know who you are. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, you’re out of the running for a prize since, as per our legal advisor (and the laws of space­time), we can’t sent a prize to Joe Nobody at 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA.


Sorry, all communication must be in English. (Also, your English is MUCH better than our understanding of your language.) We will work with you and ask for clarification if we need it.

Please do not let a language barrier deter you from entering. Do your best. Your code will speak for itself.

I have a question that I don’t want to ask privately or I have some issue with the contest...how can I get in contact with you guys?

Shoot an email over to inbox ­at­ worsethanfailure ­dot­ com or there’s always our contact page (http://thedailywtf.com/contact).

The contest deadline has passed!

Keep an eye out on The Daily WTF for the winners.