Teacher's Password: The LessWrong Mystery Hunt Team

by Scott Garrabrant, jchan1 min read4th Dec 20207 comments

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Followup to: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/iNTabF6vQjeDeSar7/interest-survey-forming-an-mit-mystery-hunt-team-jan-15-18

We are making a LessWrong team for the 2021 MIT Mystery Hunt. If you want to play the Mystery Hunt with other rationalists, you can sign up by commenting here and joining the discord.

What is the MIT Mystery Hunt?

The MIT Mystery Hunt is a puzzle-solving competition, in which teams race to solve a series of puzzles without instructions. Here is a quote by Mike Develin about puzzle hunts in general:

Imagine a word search.

Now imagine you aren’t told what words to look for.

Now imagine you aren’t told it’s a word search.

Now imagine it isn’t a word search.

You can learn more about puzzle hunts here, or the MIT Mystery Hunt here.

When is the MIT Mystery Hunt?

The Mystery Hunt is from 9AM PT on Friday, January 15, 2021 to 9AM PT on Monday, January 18, 2021 (MLK Jr. Day weekend).  Depending on how many people sign up, (and where they are) we might be solving puzzles for that entire 72 hours. You can log on and work on puzzles however much you like.

Where is the MIT Mystery Hunt?

Usually, the mystery hunt is on MIT campus, but this year, it is entirely remote. Our team will meet on LessWrong's Walled Garden, a virtual world for rationalists on gather.town. If you do not have access to the Walled Garden, you will be given a temporary password to access the space. We will also be hanging out on discord prior to and during the hunt.

What is Teacher's Password?

Teacher's Password is the name of LessWrong's Mystery Hunt team. The team is open to anyone on LessWrong, and friends of anyone on LessWrong, including people who are new to puzzle hunts, but you have to sign up. Our team emoji is 📎. We are probably not going to win. (We will either precommit to try not to win, or if many people want to try to win, create a mechanism to allow individuals to be absolved of the responsibility of writing next year's hunt.)

How do I know if I will like the Mystery Hunt?

We will do a sample puzzle hunt in the Walled Garden at noon pacific on Sunday, December 13 as the regular LessWrong online meetup. This will be much easier than the Mystery Hunt, and take 1-2 hours. We might also organize other practice events, which would be announced in the discord.

How do I Sign Up?

Join the discord, and comment on this post if you like (this is a social activity and knowing about your participation might cause others to join). You could also share how likely you will actually participate and an expected number of hours you will participate if you want to. There will probably be a longer survey in the discord later. (If you want to bring others along too, that is fine, just let us know.)

The discord link will stop working after December 20. If you want to join after that, you probably still can but should PM jchan.

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Update: we will be using a private gather town rather than Walled Garden.

Is it still possible to me to join? Let me know!

Strong +1 to the idea; I'll be on a different team, but I strongly encourage people to give it a try. I think Hunt 2019 was quite possibly the most fun I have ever had.

Oh exciting! I’ll probably join for this!

I may or may not join, but if not, it will probably be because I have joined another team.

I plan on participating for roughly the whole time I am awake. (~36 hours)

Same here.