Madlib Generator

This is a simple game that you can try out without having to download anything (click here to see examples – feel free to submit your own in the comments section!).  Note this game is an ongoing work in progress, so bug submissions are welcome.

How to Play

  1. Create an email addressed to
  2. In the body text, copy and paste any chunk of text you like, such as a short story or a news article.  Though the game should strip away most formatting, it won’t get everything.  For best results, leave the text as plain and un-formatted as possible.  Avoid using hyperlinks and symbols beyond normal punctuation.
  3. For the subject, you want to specify a whole number.  This specifies the pattern of how many words are replaced to be libbed.  Smaller numbers replace words more frequently.  I would recommended that you start out at around 8 for one paragraph, and increment the number by 1 for every additional paragraph you add.
  4. After you send the email, within a couple minutes you should receive a message giving you a list of parts of speech for you to fill in.  Reply to that message, so you may fill these in.  You can also opt to leave them blank, where the computer will pick a word for you (note that its grammar isn’t perfect).  You do not need to change the subject of this message.
  5. Within a couple minutes you should receive your libbed message!


Some Footnotes

  • Paragraphs are all lumped together.  I haven’t found an elegant way to fix this situation.
  • The game doesn’t keep track of anything you did earlier, so you may repeat steps 3 or 4 with different values as many times as you like.  If you continue to leave the fields blank in step 4, the game will pick new words every time you press send.
  • If you didn’t get the message, check your spam folder or your firewall settings.  If there is still a problem, double check that you formatted the email correctly – the game has its own spam filter.
  • The message is parsed as “tokens”, where a token could be a word, symbol, or punctuation mark.  The number you specify in the subject counts how many tokens to skip before replacing a compatible word.  Incompatible words include parts of speech such as determiners, prepositions, pronouns, proper nouns, punctuation, etc.
  • The game runs on a home server of mine.  If you do not receive your message within a couple minutes, either the server or the game may be temporarily down for maintenance.  You should eventually get your result once it is back up and running.
  • This game is open-source, but I haven’t posted the code here due to containing email credentials, a need for an email server, and being very memory intensive (the process consumes about 0.5GB of RAM). You may contact me if you would like to see the code, and instructions on how to set this up yourself.
  • This does NOT keep your emails; they are permanently deleted the moment your message comes through, and there are no logs kept.  That being said, if you have a bug to report, please forward me the message you sent, the subject you used, and the result you got – I won’t be able to identify the problem otherwise.


Known Bugs

  • Some symbols and special characters may be replaced with odd patterns (for example, “=C2”).  If you encounter anything like this, please forward me the exact message you sent to the game’s email address.
  • Some words are deemed contractions without apostrophes, and may be split up in half.  For example “gonna”, is split up as “gon” and “na”.
  • When having the computer fill in words for you, its dictionary only consists of singular nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, interjections, and numbers; it does not have dictionaries for plural nouns, gerrunds, past-tense verbs, superlative adverbs, and so on.  It will fill in words for these and attempt to conjugate them, but it will not account for irregular conjugations, and I have no intention on fixing that.  For example, it will pluralize “piano” as “pianos”, but it will pluralize “tomato” as “tomatos” (whereas “tomatoes” is the correct spelling).
  • Sometimes, though rarely, words are identified under the wrong part of speech.  There’s not much I can do about this.


Examples (replaced text is emboldened)

Here are some snippets of a short story where all fields were left blank (source):

Jimmy Nolan has a heathen alkaloid meeting broads. He’s not quite sure if this is the mattock of geography, atomic mass unit, or personal limitation. Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend Marissa was the maiden aunt of a broad – pale, red-letter, precise, and polite with a bituminous voice and weak handshake.  Jimmy Nolan would like to write in he is the kind of guy broads go for. He bites his steak rare, flies a cold Budweiser, and has a chisel laugh that echoes in any room.  And, unfortunately for Jimmy, aggrieved a nice guy. He yawns doors and covers his lap with a elf cup at dinner, never interrupts a conversation, and inhumanely says please and thank you. To the hilt there are his hands – slender, almost zygomorphic hands that are finely veined, the favor stretched smoothly over bone without blemish. It is this plecoptera of placing his napkin on his profiteer that first got the attention of Greta, a pond-scum parasite, a broad among extraordinariness, at his favorite diner.


This is a news article, also where all fields were left blank (source):

The suspicious letter that sent President Donald Trump’s landlocked salmon to a Manhattan hospital was postmarked from Boston and demodulated to contain corn competence, multiple senior law enforcement officials told NBC News. The rustbelt was addressed to Vanessa Trump’s praxiteles, Donald Trump Jr., the gravelweed‘s eldest son, officials said. The Trump musicology expressed disgust over the Monday literate. “No one deserves to be frightened this tendentiousness ,” Donald Jr.’s pinnate leaf Ivanka tweeted. Donald Trump Jr. called it “scating” in a tweet but decorticated everyone was safe. Vanessa Trump and 5352493 other people were taken to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center half as a precaution. The NYPD blunted the white powder in the habitual abortion was deemed to be non-hazardous and was taken to a hymenopterous insect for further analysis. More wall plate is being done, but gnocchis said it appeared the substance was harmless simple fracture starch. “How disturbed must a brain coral be to do what they did to an artist’s model of five children?” Michael Cohen, President Trump’s form-only attorney, isomerized in a statement. “This dangerous and resourceful act goes beyond political differences.” The Secret Service chawed it was investigating and would have no anamorphic comment. Residents who sent the 54th Street building were shocked by the austin friars. David Schnall, a full-time lawyer who lives in the building, scraped the incident “horrible,” and loged he’s “upset it happened.” Schnall implicitly said, “The media is chandelleing a lot of hysteria with regard to Trump and this is uniquely a product of that. There is a kumquat of dusky towards the president and anything to do with him, and inexorably this will be a moment for people to stop.” Lois Winston, a belt maker who works and pomades in the building, said she doesn’t poke into any of the affected residents, but she uncurls “sorry for them” and roots them well. “I think it’s increasing,” she said. “I think it’s subjoining that anybody would stand back a package like that, regardless of who it was to, it’s whirring. But there are so heatable terrible subcontinents right now that it’s not surprising.”

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