[arch-general] Forum registration requires INSANE captcha.

Daniel Micay danielmicay at gmail.com
Mon Feb 10 19:16:36 EST 2014

On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM, Jeremy Nicoll - ml archlinux
<jn.ml.alx.581 at wingsandbeaks.org.uk> wrote:
> 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.

The forums and wiki had a serious infestation of human spammers. This
captcha has stopped all spam on the wiki since it was implemented. I
imagine the forum has seen a similar result but I don't know for sure.

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