[arch-general] Forum registration requires INSANE captcha.

Bigby James anoknusa at gmail.com
Tue Feb 11 11:11:31 EST 2014

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 01:16:15AM +0000, Jeremy Nicoll - ml archlinux wrote:
> WorMzy Tykashi <wormzy.tykashi at gmail.com> wrote:
> >On 11 February 2014 00:00, Jeremy Nicoll - ml archlinux
> ><jn.ml.alx.581 at wingsandbeaks.org.uk> wrote:
> >>
> > > 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 disagree with your source. If anything, Arch Linux is aimed at
> > experienced Linux users...
> I don't think that that is the impression that one gets from the Archlinux
> website, where it starts with:
>   "You've reached the website for Arch Linux, a lightweight and 
>    flexible Linux distribution that tries to Keep It Simple."
> but I see that the last paragraph of the 'About' page ends by saying:
>   "designed to fit the needs of the competent Linux user."
> which seems to echo what you (and others) have said.
It's all too common for many folks unfamiliar with Arch to confuse "Keeping it
simple" with "making it easy." Read the wiki page entitled *The Arch Way*.
"Simplicity" with respect to Arch refers to system design, not to ease of use or
entry to the community.

> >
> > Arch has no aims to be popular.
> Hmm.

No, that's correct. Spend enough time on the forums or in the mailing list or
wiki, and you'll get the impression that a "race to the bottom" is one of the
things the Arch devs and community actively seek to prevent. For an OS to be
popular, it logically needs to play to the lowest common denominator. Arch
exists precisely to  for users who *no not want that*; it exists precisely to be
a niche distro.

There seems to be an aura surrounding Arch within the Linux community at large
that Arch is somehow "elite" or "hardcore," and that by using Arch you've
somehow gained serious nerd cred. It's that sort of perspective that attracts
help vampires, and it's that sort of attitude that the puzzle on the forum
registration page seeks to weed out. People who bump into that wall and then
complain that Arch doesn't make things as "simple" as the 5000 other
distributions out there have missed the point entirely.

On Mon Feb 10 12:20:45 EST 2014 Kyle wrote:
> I'll take a little frustration of non-linux using normal
> human beings over a captcha that completely excludes visually impaired
> normal human beings any day.

I can understand your concern and applaud your consideration, but which of those
two groups do you suppose would flood the forums if the barrier to entry were
lowered? Let's be frank: The number of visually impaired users is, always has
been and always will be outstripped by the number of help vampires. If a
visually impaired Arch user needs help with a complex setup, that user can still
consult the wiki and mailing list without the same barrier present on the
forums, as anyone who's used all three can attest. I don't know what solutions
(if any) exist for IRC users who are visually impaired, but that's a third

Really, what you're talking about here is letting in an unwanted majority to
avoid upsetting an otherwise acceptable, but extremely miniscule minority.
There's no simple solution to such a conundrum, but there are multiple avenues
of communication in the Arch community. There just seems to be something about
online BBS that attracts the intellectually lazy in a manner that other online
communication media do not.

More information about the arch-general mailing list