You enjoy eating the last bite of your donut as you realize something...

You just took a month off from work to get ONE free donut...

One month ago

You come into work and notice there's a ton of papers in your cubicle. Some boxes of T-shirts and decals were piled up outside your cubicle. Then, you log in to Stack Exchange and see your reputation:


You shuffle through your papers and read a cryptic note:


- � Moderator

You realize the reputation change and cryptic note was the work of � Moderator, one of your coworkers, who moderates Code Golf and Programming Puzzles.

After that, you come home and check your email. Jeff Atwood has invited you to a party celebrating your success in ♦ Series - Getting a free donut.


animuson♦︎ is the first mod to be invited to the party. They are asked for the passcode, and they reply with $251.125$. They come in to the party as it is correct.

Doorknob♦︎ is the next mod to be invited to the party. Once again, the passcode is asked for, and they reply with $251.375$. This password is correct.

You, being a Puzzling moderator, wanted to know the password's pattern so you could get in to the party (which is being thrown for you).

What is your password to get in the party, and why?


  • Hint 1:

I spy, with my little eye, a tag.

  • Hint 2:

"You can have a hint: $0.2008"

This puzzle follows the events of ♦ Series - Getting a free donut. Although it's not essential to solving the puzzle, the storyline of this puzzle makes more sense after viewing that other puzzle.

You can visit discussion on any of the series' puzzles including this one at ♦ Series Discussion, on Stack Exchange Chat.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Having fun with 'Inspect', are we? i.sstatic.net/Qcfnm.png $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir The reputation system is exploited! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:12
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ So... what's the question? $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Deusovi It is to find how to get the password. The user is moderator of Puzzling Stack Exchange and all moderators in this alternate reality work in cubicles at a nearby Stack Exchange office. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If I just give you $0.80 so you can buy yourself a donut, can I have the rep associated with this puzzle? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


The answer is:

It is 11111011.110 in binary -> 11111011110 is 2014 which is the year when puzzling was founded.
11111011001 is 2009 - SE founded - animuson is mod on meta.
11111011011 is 2011 - PPCG founded - Doorknob is mod there.

So the password is the year when the site, where the user is mod, was founded.

I am not sure if I should delete the previous try, or I should leave it here...

The first moderator has password 251.125
The second moderator has password 251.375
So it looks like the third moderator should have:

First password in binary: 11111011.001
Second password in binary: 11111011.011
Third password in binary: 11111011.111


251 is ASCII code for square root
Your reputation was changed by 1831 which is nice number in binary 11100100111

I am lost now

It looks like there is something switched, since the diamond (different then the real one on purpose?) is before the Moderator, not after. The correct name for the PPCG is Programming Puzzles & Code Golf and here it is Code Golf and Programming Puzzles.

The second hint

refers to year 2008 - Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky founded Stack Overflow in that year.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You turn to Jeff Atwood and nervously say... "251.875?" He glances back at you with a slight frown on his face. "Turns out this will go the same way of your donut..." You think about how the last time you did a puzzle. You spent a month getting that single donut! But you were determined. You asked him for the tags again and he says: "story, steganography, and history. Let's see if any of those can help you." $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Peanut Then it is time to try "228.875" - since it is the reputation change in binary "converted" to the format as other passwords are. I can only hope that Jeff has great patience :-). $\endgroup$
    – Artholl
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a tip: there's no conversion. Just the facts. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Peanut can you please look at my edited answer? I have new version and explanation on top. $\endgroup$
    – Artholl
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 11:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You hurry over to Jeff Atwood, but it's already too late. The party was over. But you can see a bit of a smile forming on his face. "You're partially right. You can enter now anyways to clean up." $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 1:29

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