Is this actually more difficult? Credit: Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The New York Times now owns the wildly popular word game Wordle, and some players say it’s now harder than ever. But, the Times said the only change it’s made since buying the game is removing a few words they thought to be too obscure, thereby actually making the game a bit easier. So the New York Times is officially not to blame for your losing streak lately, so why do many people think it is? Rachel Kowert works for Take This, a non-profit that provides mental health resources to the gaming community, and tells Mashable that it’s human nature to want to blame someone else other than ourselves when something goes wrong. She explains the mentality, saying, “It’s not that I am unable to figure out this puzzle today, it’s that they made the puzzle too difficult to figure out.” She also says it could just be that you have the opinion that the New York Times is a sophisticated paper with notoriously difficult puzzles to solve, so since they now own Wordle, you might reason the same difficulty now applies to the game. In addition, Kowert says social contagion—the process of ideas spreading through a network—plays a huge role in this as well. Once enough people believe in something, it’s easy to believe it along with them. The take-home message here: the New York Times hasn’t made Wordle harder, it’s just that you’ve (maybe) been struggling with the game lately.