[arch-general] Forum registration requires INSANE captcha.

Karol Blazewicz karol.blazewicz at gmail.com
Mon Feb 10 19:17:43 EST 2014

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 1:00 AM, 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...

Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups. Grab a liveCD / liveUSB and
give it a go.

> 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.

The captcha tells users that just because they want to ask a question
doesn't mean all they have to do is snap fingers or stomp their feet.
If they give up when faced with our captcha, they are free to go
someplace else or use another Linux distribution. Arch Linux is for a
bit more experience / advanced / persistent users.
Even following the instructions from the wiki doesn't always result in
solving a problem, because the wiki gets outdated, so users who can't
figure stuff out on their own may be happier using another distro.

> I could see myself wasting a day or two quite easily.

Errr, what?

> 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.

Arch Linux is not aimed at 'potential Linux users'.

> --
> Jeremy C B Nicoll - my opinions are my own.

This issue has been raised many times over the years, please read the
forum threads if you want, there's no need to go over this again.

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