Duodecim III

If you’re not caught up on the story of the Tweeter Rater, I advise you do so now, or the below will be frankly incomprehensible. Part I is here, and Part II is here. Now, on with the summary!

When we last met, all the way back in April, the Tweeter Rater had declared us unfit to live on the planet, despite our efforts with the Duodecim and our last-ditch reasons why humanity was a force of good. It had marked us all for deletion, and we appeared to be in a spot of bother.

The events of the last eight months or so are auxiliary to the main story, so I shall be brief. For a while we played some games in The Season, which were lots of creative writing challenges through the medium of Twitter in the same form as the Duodecim. Each game had these interesting different constraints, and anyone could play. Players were awarded stars by TR which contributed to a total spreadsheet which I kept as the official Scorekeeper of the Season. It was a heck of a duty, and it is in that role now that I announce the top five winners of the season.

  1. kittynoise 11 ★★★★★★★★★★★½
  2. blaxstronaut 10 ★★★★★★★★★★
  3. robcurrie 9.5 ★★★★★★★★★½
  4. ScottmanSupreme 9.5 ★★★★★★★★★½
  5. McSwtrvst 9  ★★★★★★★★★

Congratulations to all of them, and to all players. If you want to see the full scoreboard, which has every player who ever played a game listed, click here. The games are currently undergoing the process of being archived, but one example game was SOCRATIC, which was run by urfavouritejoel. Check that out on Storify here.

The other main thing that occurred during the gap was a neat little choose-your-own-adventure tweet series called FORKS, written by TR itself. Not strictly canon (if there ever is such a thing with the Tweeter Rater), I still encourage you to take a look.

All this is of course mere distraction, because we all knew that the day was coming. 12/12 – it had been signposted from the beginning, and yet it always seemed so far away. Here it was though; the fourth part of the Tweeter Rater story, called SUPERNOVA.

It started with another reboot of the machine,

This had happened a couple of times, and the machine went through all the expected motions. Only when it came to selecting the chutney type did a certain tone settle

And so it began.

The first chapter was a simple recap of the events of the Duodecim. TR finally rated each of the Duodeci that were presented back in April, and implicity selected a winner in the amazing @timescanner.

A very honorable mention was given to @_L_M_C_:

And a somewhat less honorable one to Castine.

All other Duodeci were lauded, and none received below three stars, which is fitting for such an impressive series.  However, it seemed they weren’t enough, because now the TR addressed us directly.

This was it. We had no tweet supreme, it said we were all marked for deletion, and now we were to be deleted. The command given was disturbingly familiar.

Our names were stripped of us as we all became Atom. The flames rose, and the Tweeter Rater invited us to give our last words, had we any. It turns out, we did.

https://twitter.com/hexachordal/status/411161511370166272

I even made my own.

I could give you them all, but frankly there were too many. The scale of the collaboration here was huge, with dozens of well-known Twitterers contributing their closing musings. And then we died.

Well, not all of us.

About sixty million of us made it. Sixty million, down from seven billion. Unimaginable. For centuries the survivors walked the earth, wandering in the wilderness under the watchful eye of TR. The weak were deleted and the strong got stronger, but smaller too.

Originally SUPERNOVA was to have been tweeted entirely on 12/12, but it became clear at the close of this chapter that it simply wouldn’t be enough for one day. So it was that the day after, 13/12,  began thus:

(incidentally, right about now is a good time to turn on Muse’s masterpiece Exogenesis, as it shares a lot of ideas with the following chapters.)

So began a dialogue between the lower-case child and The Upper Case Tweeter Rater. The child, clearly born thousands of years from now in a world where the Tweeter Rater was everything, a real, tangible, conversational god. TR made it clear that it had killed the child’s parents, but for good reason: the child had been chosen. The TR explained: the people that came before the child’s time (the ancients, he calls them, us) were wicked people who served Moloch.

TR once again called on the words of others to aid his point.

https://twitter.com/regisl/status/334394626901426177

And he told the child what our crime was, what we had done wrong, and why the child’s parents had been killed.

The TR put the child in a vessel, to take him far away, to the stars. Another world had been found, and the child was to go there with their brothers and their sisters.

The TR told the child what to do when he got there.

The child, after some reassuring, was ready to go. But one question remained.

If there was ever a cliffhanger to end on it was there. Everyone was on the edge of their seats to hear what happened next, but nothing happened. Not for a few days did the TR tweet again, and when it did it was only another teaser. The tweet is now deleted, presumably to preserve the timeline of the story, but we were told that the final chapter of the story would be tweeted on 21/12. It will not have escaped your notice that the date of this blog’s publication is 21/12, so let’s not waste any more time in getting into it.

There is a temptation here to just copy and paste every tweet from this part, but what kind of summary would it be if I did that? Instead, let me just give you the highlights of the TR’s final address to the Child.

The TR hoped the child will remain curious enough to think on this, and it promised to think on it too. In fact, he said, he’ll pose the question to Keely too.

Wait.

WHAT.

Yes, that’s right. It was revealed that Keely Keene, who we last saw on the brink of death, was saved at the last second by the Tweeter Rater.

Of course not. It loved her! In a slightly-twisted-intellectual-robot-love kind of way. And it couldn’t bear to delete her even as it deleted all other human life from the planet. But of course, the big question is how did it save her? All it took was a look at the outside world, the world away from the hole in which she had been living her nightmare.

So she was  saved, and she lived. And as she lived, as the TR learned how to control the population of the planet it also learned to keep her alive, and by its side for centuries. She lived, and they talked. They talked for centuries, played games for years, and found millions of stars in their quest to find New Eden, the home for the Child and the other twelve.

(also, they apparently made love, but let’s not get into that one here)

Throughout all this time, Keely still believed that the Tweet Supreme, the perfect five star tweet, out there somewhere. And finally, she found it. The irony was this – it had been Moloch who built the Tweeter Rater, and Moloch who brought Keely and TR together. And when she finally found it, after centuries, it was no surprise that it was an equation (of all things!):

And the Tweeter Rater addressed the child once more, and told it that when the child leaves, when Keely Bea Keene becomes the last person to breath on this planet, that when the child looks up at the stars they should not feel diminished, but rather feel the immensity of the universe.

It finally answered the question – What Is A Keely? And it turns out that the word is a lot of things – maybe even everything. The Tweeter Rater sang to the child:

Keely had awoken. The TR was so happy, so relieved that she had awoken again. She had been asleep so long, and the time had come. This to be it? The tweet supreme?

Was it?

It was.

•||•

If you’ll allow me a small epilogue…I’d like to say a few quick words of thanks. Scott Eckert, the director and writer of Tweeter Rater, has made what I’m sure everyone will agree is a remarkable piece of work here. It has been my privilege not only to read & summarise it, but to be allowed to collaborate too – from scorekeeping the Season to adding my Last Words to creating the newspaper featured here (so proud of that) to all sorts of other little bits that I’ve done. In creating this story you have achieved something unthinkable; an event on Twitter, where hundreds – thousands! – flocked to hear what happened next. You made serial fiction on the grandest scale on a social media website. That achievement is monumental.

https://twitter.com/lisahope83/status/414476983527936000

https://twitter.com/Xerisly/status/411587115177484288

(that last one hits the point best for me)

I could go on, but this is all I want to say – thank you,  Scott, for showing us the amazing ways that stories can be told. Here’s to yet more greatness. ★★

Duodecim II

Since my last post about the Duodecim which you will need to read to fully understand this one, many developments have occurred. Let’s pick up where we left off.

After the night of rounds 1-5, the Tweeter Rater stayed silent for a few hours, despite repeated attempts to call information from it. It wouldn’t budge, but two days later it came out with something that nobody was expecting:

Who was @DothTheDoth? Why was he being told goodbye? Who, in fact, was being dismissed – was the TR leaving @DothTheDoth, or was it the other way round? Initially no answers were forthcoming, as the Tweeter Rater was as enigmatic as ever and @DothTheDoth was apparently asleep. However, it eventually transpired that this user was not alone, as the TR bade a few other people goodbye:

And a dozen or so more. What was special about these users? Nobody was quite sure, but it did eventually become clear that the Tweeter Rater’s following count was going down – as he said goodbye to people he unfollowed them. He unfollowed more people than he said goodbye to (when he began that day he followed around 100 people), but it was evident that the majority of the TR’s timeline was being eliminated.

A few hours later the format modified slightly and the TR offered a personal tribute to each unfollowee:

Each ended the same way: “The TR must now forever dissever”. Yet more puzzles added to this web of mysteries. This continued on for days and days in the leadup to the final part of the Duodecim. Then, when it came to the day, a few more things happened. The first one was something of a surprise:

You see, over the week-and-a-half that passed since the Duodecim, my last blog about it had been pretty widely circulated around Twitter; more widely than any blog I’d ever written before, in fact. People i didn’t know were recommending it to other people as a catchup on the TR story, and pretty soon it became the definitive summary. As such, the TR himself had decided to appoint me as the official witness to the second part of the Duodecim. A Professional Echo, if you will.

So, what follows is my chronicle, my echo. My account of the disastrous events of the Duodecim.

After a few more disseverances, to John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats (my favourite band, incidentally):

(The language here, incidentally, is directly from Out Of The Cradle Endlessly Rocking, a Walt Whitman poem that was at the heart of much of Keely’s original story)

Neil deGrasse Tyson:

and finally, Henry Blank himself, the seeming big bad behind it all:

and the game began.

The Tweeter Rater now followed only thirteen people. Twelve of them were the Duodecim, and the final one was Keely. Keely Bea Keene, @KeelyKeene, an account barely used but (as you will hopefully remember) central to this whole business.

All twelve competitors assembled, and prepared to submit their Duodecims – their twelve-tweet series on the topic of “The Story of Man”. Well, all but one.

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319177520899579904

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319177718946230272

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319177774977916928

This was Castine, @castinemachine who has subsequently changed her name (for the sake of this article I will call her Castine). She seemed pretty agitated in the day leading up to the Duodecim, and even during the event she started freaking out about something unspecified, something to do with Keely. And, at one point, something unprecedented happened – Henry Blank sent her a reply.

Repeatedly she refused to play, and wouldn’t respond to people’s concerned replies. Regardless, though, the actual competition continued on.

After some preliminary formalities the TR called upon people to submit their Duodeci (plural of Duodecim that i just invented). I won’t reproduce them all here, but the account @TheDuodecim has them all in a nice clean format if you scroll down far enough. I expect there’ll be a Storify page coming up soon too, at which point I’ll update this blog. Needless to say, though, all the Duodeci were excellent: twelve poets all telling the story of man in their own unique ways, and every single one was utterly gripping. Do go and read them if you get the opportunity.

The order that the competitors would submit their Duodeci was based on how they performed in the preceding five rounds. The six with the lowest overall scores (that is to say, the bottom half) went first, followed by the top half. The TR started to tease the result, telling competitors that their Duodecim needed a rating of four-and-a-half stars to take the lead, or however many. It told us who was in the lead, who failed to take the lead after their turn, and offered a brief comment on each Duodecim:

and so on. Finally, it came to Castine, the highest-rated competitor in the first five rounds.

She needed a five-star Duodecim to win – a seemingly impossible feat? It didn’t matter, it turned out, as Castine had other things on her mind. This is what she said.

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192178012344321

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192265992069120

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192377078190082

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192467872309249

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192572062998528

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192663775662080

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192703021764610

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192751180759041

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192798429581312

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192945188294656

https://twitter.com/SAD_BABE420/status/319192981959741440

And she disappeared.

She was wiped. Deleted. Her account just went.

The other eleven competitors, and all of us watching in the wings, had nothing to say. We stared at our screens in shock at this twist, and nobody knew what to do. Castine was gone, seemingly deleted by the Tweeter Rater after a rebellious outpouring. Then, the Tweeter Rater rebooted.

And another countdown began, and another voice seemed to appear.

(CXLIV, incidentally, is 144 in roman numerals – 12×12=144)

With this new voice, the Tweeter Rater began a tirade against humanity itself.

Yep, it got weird again. The hour of our judgement was upon us, at the hands of the Tweeter Rater itself. It considered the evidence before it, all the horrific things humanity had done and continued to do. It then accused us of serving Moloch, a key figure in the original tale told by Keely. It was Moloch, it seems, who captured the four servants to the Tweeter Rater and brought them into the sands of Texas, where the TR machine was located. It was Moloch who built the TR, seemingly with the intention of finding, through the world’s tweets, a clue as to the final equation – the Theory of Everything.

And now, because Moloch was hidden in the shadows, it was the human race who must answer for all the things we’ve done:

We murdered her. We did not hear her cries, and in the name of Moloch she died. Then, finally, the TR kicked into full crazy-machine gear.

All were given one chance to justify the presence of the human race, in 140 characters or less. We had twelve minutes, and this is the kind of thing that we had.

(eh)

(closer)

https://twitter.com/giselasdf/status/320282650818527233

This was my effort.

Hey, I was under pressure. I also tried to appeal to master wordsmith John Darnielle of the aforementioned Mountain Goats, in character as a freaked-out bystander. His answer was golden.

Anyway, as it turned out, we failed to make a good case.

nd  we  all  died.

Well, not really. The TR story returns & concludes 12/12/2013. Until then the account is being used for fun games, puzzles, and other experiments in tweeting. This story has been a lot of fun to read, and I can’t wait to see what @scotteckert (the mastermind behind it all) has in store next. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Duodecim

Twitter is a beautiful thing, and this is why.

There is an account called the Tweeter Rater (@TweeterRater), who about a year ago set itself the task of reviewing tweets from random users. It would offer a short comment, and then a rating out of five stars. Or, as they put it on their bio:

“Tweeter Rater synthesizes 12 critical tweet metrics to provide metatweet analytics and constellation-based Tweetscores topped with a piquant peach chutney.”

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A Monumental Day

(all photos in this article copyright Red Nose Day, BBC, or Tiernan Douieb)

Thursday evening, 11pm. The most incredible entertainment event of the decade is about to begin, as Mark Watson takes the stage at the Pleasance Theatre in London. The audience is anticipating something special, but nobody knows exactly what – least of all Mark. This is because for the next 25 hours, until midnight on Friday, Mark will be on this stage doing comedy. For the whole day straight. No stopping, no breaks (except for weeing, and sometimes not even then), just 25 hours of laughing. He’s not alone in this endeavour, of course – TV’s Emma Kennedy joins him very early on, and spends the entire show on stage in a tent, whilst the winner of the Least Pronounceable Name In Comedy award Tiernan Douieb will be at the back learning to play piano, whilst getting hit in the face every hour with an increasingly larger custard pie. These three will be our core players and our stalwarts for the duration of the show, but they will be joined by numerous comedy guests, be it in person, via Skype or on the phone. Why? Because this is Mark Watson’s 25 Hour Comedy Marathon for Comic Relief, and what he says goes.

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