People are commandeering the comments sections of The Guardian’s daily crossword puzzles to discuss their families, lunch plans, and even their love lives — but they have never met each other in real life.
Each day, these committed crossword enthusiasts complete The Guardian’s online puzzles. While some people use the website’s comment section to weigh in on tricky words and possible puzzle answers, a subset are using the section as their own personal hangout.
Their conversations look more like what you’d expect to hear between two friends, rather than strangers on the internet.
Here’s one of the interactions. The pair discuss a range of topics, including sports, home improvement, and the weather. They even talk about one commenter’s great-granddaughter, Ruby, who is just getting over a nasty case of the chicken pox.
This crossword community started gaining attention after a Twitter user, James Crobag, shared a screenshot on Wednesday. It’s since been retweeted over 3,000 times.
Many of the comment threads begin as conversations about the actual puzzles and then devolve into personal discussions. It’s become its own social network.
While online comment sections are often home to spam posts, hateful trolls, or just conversations about the subject at hand, these crossword commenters are using the platform to get to know each other. They seem to actually care about their online friends.
Here one commenter checks in on another, who apparently suffered a recent head injury. The user responds, saying she’s doing much better. She even let’s the original commenter know that she’s thinking about attending a nearby music festival this weekend, if she’s feeling up to it.
The community also notices when one of its members is absent. Here’s a group of commenters welcoming their friend, “Johnny,” back into the online puzzle fold.
At least one commenter has already caught wind of Crobag’s tweet about the crossword community. She posted this comment on Thursday letting two of the top commenters, “Melbourne and Motyllek,” know about their new popularity online. Hopefully all the attention won’t spoil their fun.
We’ve asked the Guardian what they think about the unexpectedly burgeoning community and are currently waiting to hear back.
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