A study on confirmation bias – The Bradley Scout

Graphic of Kyle St. John

Ever since The New York Times took over Wordle, a word-guessing website that took the world by storm, many longtime participants have rebelled against the difficulty.

Brooklyn-based software engineer John Wardle designed the website for his wife, who loves crossword puzzles and spelling games.

The website was launched in October 2021 and became popular in the Wardle family’s WhatsApp group chat.

Eventually, the hype spread, with 300,000 people playing daily just two months after its launch.

In January, The New York Times purchased the website for “seven-figures,” according to a story published the week of the purchase. Since then, many fans of the app have expressed their displeasure, accusing the publication of making it more difficult.

As unlikely as it may seem, The Times didn’t change the source code much. In fact, they actually removed a few difficult words, including “agora” and “pupal.”

It’s likely that this new anger is actually a vicious form of confirmation bias.

Many of Wordle’s millions of players have fallen in love with the story of Wardle creating the simple website for his wife with no ads or paywalls.

With a big company like The Times taking over the website to increase its audience, fans would understandably be unhappy.

Negatively preconceived notions would obviously cloud the player’s judgment, especially when supposedly harsh words like “sharp” and “ultra” were used so closely together.

Technically, the use of delicate double letters has increased from one-third of the original words to 45%, the sequence of words used is guaranteed to even out eventually.

That being said, I will personally continue to blame The New York Times for all of my failed attempts.


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