TikTok Logo

Trick or Truth Competition

October 25, 2021 1:49 pm Scott Stedman

A big congratulations to the winner, Paige Edwards. Paige cleverly utilized numerous Open Source Intelligence tricks to get the right answers.

You can see Paige’s entire research process captured with the Stone research transparency software below:

Our runner-up is Lupine Valjean who came in a close second and will receive Forensic News merch for his great research.

Competition closed.

1. Where is this building? (coordinates within 50 meters)

2. When is this photo? (within a 24 hour time period)

3. Who is this person? (first and last name)


Trick or Truth Competition Details

Forensic News is celebrating the spookiest time of the year with a very special research challenge. We’re inviting you to show off your investigative skills, with $1000 USD up for grabs, sponsored by our favorite Transparency platform WriteInStone

If you’re not familiar with WriteInStone – it’s a rapidly growing platform that records your research process – a video bibliography.  As you get closer to the answers – you will narrate your research using ‘highlights’ – creating an embeddable video for your audience to follow your research process.  The tool is in beta, and we’re keen to help the team improve – please report any bugs via the Stone application, or raise them with Stone staff via the Telegram Channel.

What is it?

The Trick or Truth Competition is a digital research challenge administered by Forensic News and sponsored by WriteInStone.


The competition comprises three research questions. One relating to each of three photos.

These questions are:

Where is this? (Answer must be a precise geolocation, stated and demonstrated on screen)

Who is this? (Answer must be a first and last name, stated and demonstrated on screen)

When is this? (Answer must be accurate to the day, stated and demonstrated on screen)

This competition is about showing your research skills – each question must be answered through recorded research sessions, with answers stated in plain English as a webcam highlight.


The contest winner will receive a 1,000 USD prize and some Forensic News merch!

Participation Requirements

Participants must use the Stone research transparency tool to record their research process. This will require downloading and installing the Stone software from WriteInStone and registering an account. To have the best chance of winning, you will want to get your account ready to go for the start of the competition – so get downloading!

All competition participants need a PC with a Windows 10 operating system to use Stone. At this time, Stone does not support Mac or other operating systems.

All competition participants must follow Forensic News and WriteInStone on Twitter in order to be considered valid entries.

To have the best chance of winning our prize money, you will also want to follow WriteInStone and Forensic News on LinkedIn – and join the WriteInStone Telegram channel, as they may drop the odd hint or two across their channels.

Submission Requirements

To be declared the winning entry you must

1. Complete and publish a research project using the Stone software

-Comprehensively capture the process of your research

-Use highlights to explain your methodology well enough that others could replicate it

-Use redactions if necessary to prevent the disclosure of personal or sensitive information.

2. Submit your entry by sharing the link (obtained via the share menu on the Stone software) to your public project page as a tweet tagging @Writeinstone and @Forensicnewsnet with the hashtag #TrickOrTruth

3. Record each answer as a separate highlight.

4. Write your answers in the project description, which can be edited by clicking the edit button adjacent to the project title in the Stone app.

5. Be the first to submit your correct answers in the above format.

Entries should NOT include the answers in text format in the tweet.

If a contestant updates their entry, the most recent submission time will be the one judged.

If the correct answers have not been uncovered after 36 hours, WriteInStone will offer further hints and clues exclusively on the Stone Public Telegram Channel.

If after 48 hours there is still not a complete and correct submission, the competition will be extended for an additional 24 hours.

Minimum System Requirements

Minimum Recommended
Processor Intel® 6th Generation or newer processor or AMD equivalent with SSE4 support
Operating system Windows 10 (64-bit) version 2004 or later
RAM 4 GB 8 GB or more
Graphics card Microsoft DirectX 9 compatible display driver GPU with DirectX 12 support; 4 GB of GPU memory for 4k displays and greater
Monitor resolution 1280 x 720 1920 x 1080
Hard disk space 10 GB of available hard-disk space for installation and temporary files during operation Additional hard drive space recommended
Internet Internet connection is required Broadband connection (25Mbps+) recommended
Camera Webcam is required 1080p Webcam recommended for maximum quality

Support and Engagement

Join the Stone Telegram Channel for announcements, and the Stone Public Chat on Telegram for help using the Stone platform. These channels are for asking questions, receiving updates about the competition, and chatting with the Stone team and other online sleuths.

Technical Issues

Because Stone is in Beta, there may be compatibility or technical issues that arise and prevent individual participants from completing or submitting valid entries. We ask for your patience, and that you report any bugs to our team via the app or telegram so we can improve the platform.

We will do our best to respond to and address these issues in a timely fashion, but cannot promise they will be resolved before the conclusion of the competition.

If the software fails in the course of capturing research for a contest submission, within the context of the contest, WriteInStone is not liable or responsible for a corrupted Stone project.


The competition will begin at midday GMT on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

The competition will end at midday GMT on Friday, October 29, 2021.

The winner will be announced on October 31, 2021.


The winner will be determined after the conclusion of the competition on October 31.

The winner will be the first valid entry submitted according to the criteria listed above.

In the event of a conflict or unclear outcome, Scott Stedman, Founder of Forensic News, will be responsible for assessing the submitted entries and judging the contest.

Scott will assess entries according to the thoroughness of the submitted research record.  He will also determine whether a disputed answer (which differs from a preselected “correct” answer) should be accepted.

Claiming the Prize

The contest winner will receive a tweet announcing their win as well as instructions for contacting Write In Stone staff. They must then provide details of their bank account, to which a transfer can be made via Transferwise.

Disqualifying Conditions

Entries that are racist, sexist, or contain other offensive content will be ruled automatically ineligible for the prize. Play nice, people.

Forensic News

Forensic News is entirely reader-funded. Consider supporting paywall-free news.

Choose an amount