[arch-general] Forum registration requires INSANE captcha.

David C. Rankin drankinatty at suddenlinkmail.com
Mon Feb 10 12:30:09 EST 2014

On 02/10/2014 10:48 AM, Feliz Xett wrote:
> Hi Pierre and others,
> thank you for your replies.
> Thomas Bächler:
>> By reading manpages (readily available on the internet), an online
>> sha256 calculator and some brain function, you can easily solve this
>> without a Linux computer.
> I know I could have solved it, as could have every other Arch user. All
> I'm saying is that while I understand the necessity of a good captcha, I
> found this one to be over the top. It's that kind of humor that I can't
> appreciate after hours of fiddling around with a broken system. I wanted
> to register for a forum, not find out where to best calculate SHA sums.
> Pierre Schmitz:
>> I implemented this "captcha" some years ago as we had massive spam and
>> troll problems. We are not just fighting spam bots but actual humans
>> here. [...]
> Ok, I didn't imagine you actually had severe troll problems, and I
> understand that not many trolls would go ahead and try to solve *this*
> captcha. In that respect I totally understand why it has to be so
> "difficult".
> I don't have a suggestion right now but I thank you for being open about
> it and I hope you all can understand my frustration.

This is a classic example of the balance that must be struck to keep a list,
forum, whatever usable in today's perverted world of commercial and nefarious
bots and spiders that work to crack and exploit every process available on the

I can sympathize with, and understand, Feliz's frustration when faced with a
non-working arch install, turning to the forum for help only to be whipsawed
with a non-standard captcha. (I know I wouldn't automatically think about
on-line web-based shasum calculators)

I have also learned that Pierre and the rest of the Arch developers usually do
things for good reasons and in a very thought out way (once you understand what
or why they did what they did)

I do not have the answer, but would simply suggest when things like this are
implemented, normal human nature and reaction should be considered and something
as simple as a note dropped underneath the widget (or whatever) giving succinct
information needed to navigate further. In the case of this captcha, something
simple like the following would suffice:

** this captcha can be solved from the command line or with on-line tools.

I think the Arch captcha is a very clever, solution, but as this issue has
exposed, it is not without its downside.

As always - great job and thanks Archdevs, and for the rest of us, just remember
that with Arch, there is probably a really good reason behind whatever challenge
you are facing. (mostly)

David C. Rankin, J.D.,P.E.

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