I posed a similar challenge to someone and it appeared to be sufficiently hard that I'll post it here. Sooo... Find the hidden message! It's right here!

  • $\begingroup$ Hm, sadly the page broke my little extra message in the title. Doesn't matter, the main puzzle is in the text body and still works. $\endgroup$ – Fabian Röling Aug 22 '18 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ So then, Is my answer going in the right direction? $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Aug 23 '18 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe-You-Know Yes. $\endgroup$ – Fabian Röling Aug 23 '18 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ TO EVERYONE WANTING TO EDIT THIS PUZZLE: The site has a bug which means that it cannot be edited without removing the essential part of the puzzle. Please do not edit it! I know that the tag isn't ideal, but I can't do anything about it. $\endgroup$ – Fabian Röling Jan 26 '19 at 20:29
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    $\begingroup$ @FabianRöling Would using an appropriate HTML entity ( or ‌ for a similar character) instead of the literal character be an acceptable compromise? I understand it may essentially reveal a secret to anybody editing, but the secret is shared knowledge at this point anyhow. $\endgroup$ – Will Jan 27 '19 at 6:34

Yay, you found it!

So, I started with @Joe-You-Know's answer, and figured there would be more.

I took the text, reduced it to a pattern of "a" for not zero-width-non-joiner, and "X" for is zero-width-non-joiner.

a XaaXaXaa Xa XaXaaaaaXa XaXaXaXaaaXaaaX aXaX aaaaXaaa aaaX XaXaX aaXaaXaXaaXaX XaXa XaXaX aXaaXaaaXaaaaaa XaXaaaX XaaaXaX aX'XaXaX aXaXaXa XaaX aXaXaaX.X XaaaXaX...X aaaaX aaa aaXaXaaXa aXaaXaXaXaaX! aa'Xa aaaXaa aaaa!

It didn't look quite right, and after looking further, I decided that spaces and punctuation count as "a"s.


This then gave me that an "X" always had an "a" before it. So: "aX" became 1 and "a" became "0". At this point, it broke up nicely in groups of 8.

01011001 01100001 01111001 00101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110101 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100001 00000000

Became hex

59 61 79 2c 20 79 6f 75 20 66 6f 75 6e 64 20 69 74 21 00

and then ASCII

Yay, you found it!^@

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, finally someone found it! My thinking was: Every character of the visible text either has a "non-breaking space" behind it or it doesn't. That's 0 or 1. A binary translator like paulschou.com/tools/xlate gives you the hidden text. I'm not sure if I also tried to hide something in the title (for example "Hi!" would fit), but I think it didn't save. After 17 months it's hard to remember. :D I'm happy that someone finally guessed it! $\endgroup$ – Fabian Röling Feb 2 '20 at 1:08

So I noticed

After some letters (it seems to be random) is the character &#65279 which is Unicode Character 'ZERO WIDTH NO-BREAK SPACE' (U+FEFF)

Here is what it actually is

I 😊 po😊s😊ed 😊a 😊s😊imila😊r 😊c😊h😊a😊lle😊nge😊 t😊o😊 some😊one and😊 😊i😊t😊 ap😊pe😊a😊re😊d😊 😊t😊o 😊b😊e😊 s😊uf😊fic😊iently 😊h😊ard😊 😊tha😊t😊 I😊'😊l😊l😊 p😊o😊s😊t 😊it😊 h😊e😊re😊.😊 😊Soo😊o😊...😊 Find😊 the hi😊d😊de😊n m😊es😊s😊s😊a😊ge😊! It's😊s rig😊ht here!

This is where,

😊 = &#65279

  • $\begingroup$ Hello! so is this the right answer? $\endgroup$ – jwi Aug 23 '18 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @jwi, I'd like to know as well... $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Aug 23 '18 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ How did you notice the unicode character? I just see plain text except for the second spoiler tag you put $\endgroup$ – R.D Aug 24 '18 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ @R.D I'm I web designer currently. Using the inspect element is second nature to me now. Especially if I suspect that their could be hidden code. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Aug 24 '18 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ @R.D It can also be found by copying the whole thing into Notepad++. Not only does it show little dots above the characters where I put the special character behind, but when you go through it with the cursor, it also does an extra zero width step there. And as an extra advantage, you can search for it to find all easily. $\endgroup$ – Fabian Röling Aug 24 '18 at 8:17

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