VG151 — Funny Shit

Being a TA is mostly pain, but occasionally you get comedy as a side effect: newbie questions that make no sense, hilarious program behavior, creative approaches to a problem, you name it. Every time I see one, I'll post it here.

All screenshots and conversations are anonymized. If you see yourself in this blogpost, please don't take it personally. These funny stories are TAs' primary source of amusement. Please let us have them. Oh, and the "shit" in this post's title is by no means derogatory.

If you feel extremely uncomfortable with any entry below, please send email to <fkfd at fkfd dot me>.

2022-09-13, Lab 0

They are adding an SSH key but the key they entered is "ssh-keygen -t
ed25519 -C"

This is a reenactment of a screenshot they sent me to troubleshoot.

2022-09-15, group chat

Someone asked if the compiler they need to install was VSCode. One TA corrected them that VSCode is an IDE. Another TA corrected that TA because VSCode is technically a text editor, and Visual Studio is an example of an IDE.

slow down we'll be getting there

2022-09-22, TA group chat

One of our TAs decided to get a Moss account. The website says:


To obtain a Moss account, send a mail message to The body of the message should appear exactly as follows:

mail username@domain

where the last bit in italics is your email address.

Well, here my colleague goes (reenactment):

Transcript To: ""
Subject: Moss Register

Minutes passed and no reply. Another TA told them they should compose in plaintext and that italics were unnecessary. Stanford lied; turns out the message doesn't "appear exactly as follows" after all.

2022-09-24, Gitea

User with Jiang Zemin avatar closed a PR

AH, nothing like seeing a user on gitea with a pfp of a distinguished alumnus of ours.

2022-09-25, DM


Will you teach us how to finish the project step by step?

My reply was:

of course

and 10 seconds later:


2022-09-27, Lab 2

Zoom chatbox. Message reads "TA I needed to go for a nuclear acid

P… pretty sure it's called a nucleic acid test? *Ground rumbles* *Hears the word "Chernobyl" in the distance*

2022-09-27, teaching team channel

One student reached out to ask this question (paraphrased):

Can I use other languages than MATLAB for project 1?

Their rationale is, they thought the project description document we handed them didn't specify which language (spoiler: it did), so they assumed they could use any.

Well in theory you could write the project in Python with matplotlib. Or in C/C++ with OpenGL. But… better not talk about it.

(See followup below)

2022-09-30, Gitea

On 16:54 it came to my attention while git pulling all the students' homework repos that one branch was 108.26MiB in size. When uncompressed, it grew to 831.3MiB. It should not be larger than 1MiB.

I smell fuckup fumes from a distance away. Upon close examination, they pushed their project code, which should have been strictly kept personal. Worse, there are two versions. Worse, neither is in Matlab, but in C++. Worse, one of them is built on Qt. Worse, they were written with Visual Studio. Worse, they pushed all the vsidx, vcxproj, ipch and all kinds of crap.

Manuel predicted that students will do all sorts of stupid things, going as far as considering git lfs. Real conversation:

TA: will lfs be used in this course?

Manuel: it should not but we never know what they will push by mistake…

Murphy's law worked. Apart from this VS atrocity, students were pushing:

  • tarballs / zip files they should be submitting to the OJ
  • batch file automating tar
  • pdf
  • symlinks to the pdf
  • a CC BY 4.0 International license