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I'm confident that some of the members here will find this one easy. If that applies to you, please use spoiler hiding. If you didn't understand that last sentence, then my guess is you are not one of those members!

Puzzle

By running backwards it helps you to move forwards.

Question

What and who am I talking about?

Notes

If you get the correct answer (as judged by me), please include an explanation for those who are still puzzled. The best and fullest explanation (as judged by up-voting) of everything in the puzzle and the build-up gets the green tick.

Answers will consist of a single word, followed by an explanation of the title and my comments. (No more than 200 words please! :-)

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closed as too broad by f'', Rand al'Thor, Aggie Kidd, Mark N, Len Aug 14 '15 at 16:28

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And this time it seems the subset who'll find it easy aren't WoT fans! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '15 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - Logically speaking you can't prove that without a counterexample although it is very likely! $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ The title was rather meta, don't you think? $\endgroup$ – warspyking Aug 17 '15 at 20:41

12 Answers 12

16
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The word is

!< which is two characters, which in the original character sets of ASCII or EBCDIC is two bytes, and while "words" are sized to fit the hardware, the two byte word was the earliest definition, thus this is a "word" in the 1970's memory sense. Everything else was straight up stated: Please use spoiler hiding. Run backwards to run forwards. The "who" are, as stated, "some of the members" of this forum. The title, "A reality for some members a puzzle for others" is a snarky complaint about people who don't sufficiently mask their guesses.

Additional comment

@JiK !< is the spoiler escape markup ">!" in mirror image. I suppose it's an arguable point whether it should be !>, !< or <! (... neat, the last of these is active!) In any case, this word, run backwards, is how some members should move forwards when answering certain riddles. Today, it's a reality for some members but a true puzzle for others.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If this indeed is the answer, it's quite a fantastic puzzle! $\endgroup$ – CodeNewbie Aug 14 '15 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ Wow! In many ways that is better than my own answer. I'll seriously consider giving this the green tick unless I can find any flaws in it. (Believe me I'm going to try! ;-). Of course I could still beat you by providing my own answer and hoping that others up-vote me more than they do you! $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand "Run backwards to run forwards." $\endgroup$ – JiK Aug 14 '15 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ @JiK I added a comment for you. Chasly, I'd like to see the target :D $\endgroup$ – user662852 Aug 14 '15 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @user662852 Ah, I didn't realize 'run' has two meanings (well, kind of) there! $\endgroup$ – JiK Aug 14 '15 at 16:53
6
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You Are

You are a clown.

How

By Running Backwards on the ball, The ball will Move Forwards

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Haha! (+1) Not correct though. Well there may be some clowns in this community but I don't think thy would like to be called that! . $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK This one might $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '15 at 14:29
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Is it:

One way to run is to TROT. If you turn this word backwards you get TORT. If you pursue a civil case against someone, the establishment of a civil wrong (known as a TORT) will allow your case to move forwards quickly to a conclusion.

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  • $\begingroup$ I answered just as you added the "and who" bit, so I'm guessing this might not be correct. $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Aug 14 '15 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ It is not my answer but +1. Please note, I just added a couple of words to the question for clarity. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 11:21
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What and who are you talking about ?

A catapult (not sure about the "who" part)

By running backwards ...

You "reload" your catapult

 it helps you to move forwards.

the more you reloaded it, the far the projectile will go.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How does this fit the paragraph about "some of the members"? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '15 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm confident that some of the members here will find this one easy <- I thought he was talking about puzzle members, who solve easily riddles .-. $\endgroup$ – The random guy Aug 14 '15 at 12:33
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First thing on my mind would be:

Bounty: Obviously you need to be a member to be a bounty giver. When you do it your reputation runs backwards but afterwards you likely get a nice answer allowing you to move forward.

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3
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Because you are "from the UK" I realised that this question may be aimed at others from the UK, in which case:

The "members" are Members of Parliament, commonly initialised to MPs. If you run MP backwards you get PM, the common initialisation of the Prime Minister, the head of the MPs. Being an MP and then becoming PM is definitely "moving forwards" in your career!

This doesn't really cover any of the "spoiler" clues though...

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2
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Is it a

stopwatch ?

Explanation:

With the time running backwards to zero (like an egg-timer) you will get faster (running forward) to reach the finish line.

Title:

Only some members are doing sports, so there is the link to their reality ;-)

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice try but please see the notes I provided on how to answer. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 11:54
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Is it...

Research

Because

As the more you move backwards into the past, the more you learn to help you move forward! As @user662852 mentions it hints how new users do not research previous questions and answers, or look at the help sections, to be able to craft a well structured answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, I'm getting some ingenious answers for the word but not such good explanations for the members. I think I need to do a little rewrite of the question to be more specific. Nice try though. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ edited with a bit more information! $\endgroup$ – JostySpoons Aug 14 '15 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ Care to explain downvote? $\endgroup$ – JostySpoons Aug 14 '15 at 14:59
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It's obviously

A (comically-oversized) slingshot (and after the most recent edit, I add: A "slingshot-enthusiast" wink wink)

Because when you run backwards, you can only run so far before

You get flung forwards at ridiculous speed and presumably hit something.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This must be wrong, because the answer is a single word. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '15 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, perhaps. although it could be Slingshot, if the original poster is in fact very very small. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Aug 14 '15 at 11:39
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    $\begingroup$ Also, how does it fit the paragraph about "some of the members"? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '15 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, perhaps a subset of the community have formed some kind of comically oversized slingshot Illuminati. That seems unlikely, but that's probably just what they want you to think! $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Aug 14 '15 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - Quite so. I've made that more explicit in the notes now. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 14 '15 at 11:44
0
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Is it

Merlyn

In at least one mythology, T.H. White's The Once and Future King he was living backwards through time, getting younger as time, and all his machinations, moved forward.

In another mythology, a movie, he describes himself, not dissimilar to this question's title, as "A dream to some, a nightmare to others!"

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  • $\begingroup$ I had always seen that spelled with an i. Today I learned there was an alternate spelling! $\endgroup$ – Brian J Aug 14 '15 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Title also made me think of that quote. It was from Excalibur, a movie I loved in my youth. It's made even more awesome by how many big stars play smaller roles: Ciarán Hinds (Mance Rayder), Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, and Patrick Stewart. $\endgroup$ – Digital Chris Aug 14 '15 at 15:54
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This is similar to one already mentioned:

Someone running on a cylinder, or sphere. They must run backwards to roll what they are running on forwards

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Having set this puzzle, I have decided to answer it as well using my original target answer. This is because user662852 has provided an answer that is probably better than the one I intended.

Single word answer

recursion

A reality for some members. A puzzle for others

Some of the members are programmers/software developers. For them, recursion is a tool of the trade. It is a reality in their lives. For others it is a rather abstract concept.

I'm confident that some of the members here will find this one easy. If that applies to you, please use spoiler hiding. If you didn't understand that last sentence, then my guess is you are not one of those members!

My explanation here was rather mundane. Any computer whizz worthy of their salt would have spoiler hiding using >! sussed in very short order. If you are not a computer whizz, then my sentence and other such things may remain a mystery for some time.

By running backwards it helps you to move forwards.

The word recursion literally means to run backwards. In computer terms you run backwards and forwards in the stack. Using recursion helps programmers to move forwards in their work.

What and who am I talking about?

I am talking about recursion and about the members here who are computer programmers.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ IMHO (although I didn't downvote), this answer is pretty bad and you were right to accept the other one. I won't reverse my upvote on the question, since in tandem with the accepted answer it's not too bad. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '15 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ The word's etymology is from the Latin recurrere 'run back', but that doesn't make 'run back' the word's literal meaning. $\endgroup$ – A E Aug 14 '15 at 21:04

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