[arch-general] Forum registration requires INSANE captcha.

Jeremy Nicoll - ml archlinux jn.ml.alx.581 at wingsandbeaks.org.uk
Mon Feb 10 19:00:14 EST 2014

Feliz Xett <fezett at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've been using arch for a couple of months now and I'm very happy with
> it. Today, I somewhat broke my box so I was excited to post my first
> question to the forums at bbs.archlinux.org. On the bottom of the
> registration page there was a very clever "captcha". The question was:
> What is the output of "date -u +%V$(uname)|sha256sum|sed 's/\W//g'"?

I've been lurking on this maillist for maybe a year, after reading somewhere
that Arch might be a good solution for me as a linux newbie.  I have some
experience of Win XP, much more of RISC OS (the ARM/Archimedes OS) and about
20 years of experience of IBM's VM/SP and MVS (now z/OS) OSes, as both a
systems programmer and a programmer.

Before I read this thread I could only guess what this command was going to
do, and was puzzled at how a command whose output I assumed would vary
(because dates do, and 'uname' looks user-specific) on different people's
systems was going to produce a useful value; I'd assumed that the sed part
probably throws away most/all of the results of the sha '256 passed in to
it.  But, without a working linux to evaluate it, I would have been stuck.  
For example, I did not know that web-accessible linux systems exist...   

I dare say I would have found out what it does, somehow, because I'm
old-fashioned enough to use usenet and mail-lists for seeking help, but for
many younger people, forums are the only thing they know.  But it would have
annoyed me that I'd need to waste time solving this side-issue when all I'd
have wanted was to solve whatever my own problem was.  Unlike the view that
some of the people posting here seem to have - that anyone could solve this
quickly with a bit of poking around on the internet - I'm not so sure.  I
could see myself wasting a day or two quite easily.  And maybe I'd not try,
but go somewhere else instead.

It seems to me that this captcha stops potential linux users, as opposed to
those who do have a working system, from joining your forum.    

Jeremy C B Nicoll - my opinions are my own.

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