Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Signing up to this forum is a pain in the a-hole

CrimpJiggler - 30-3-2014 at 04:14

Its been a long time since I been on this forum so I couldn't remember my username/password right away so I went to make a new account but couldn't get past the captcha on the registration form. I don't mind retrying captchas 10 times, but the SM form doesn't save the previously entered details so I had to re-enter the username, password and email every time. I then tried refreshing the page repeatedly until I found a captcha that you can't go wrong on, but it still told me I failed to enter the right string.

Firstly, why not just store the username and email in a session, so the user doesn't have to re-enter them every time. A bot has no problem filling forms, but it slows the regular user down. The password could be hashed and saved too (just put a random string as the password fields value to let the user know they don't need to re-enter it.

As for the captcha, a compromise needs to be struck between keeping out bots and making it possible for humans to register. Spammers are working round the clock on OCR software to crack these letter based captchas, I'd switch to something different, like those newer "put the pieces of the puzzle together" ones. Maybe couple it with a question that only chemistry buffs know how to answer. Bot programmers generally aren't chemists, so they'd have to spend a lot of time learning bits and pieces to make their bots be able to answer whatever question gets thrown at it, and since chemistry forums aren't big on their priority list, I doubt they'd bother. They use algorithms designed to target as many sites as possible. So rather than questions like "whats the molecular mass of butanol", as questions like "what phenomenon is responsible for water having a higher density than ice". Humans who don't know the answer can just google it and learn something new, bots aren't that advanced yet. Just add a database table with questions and their answers (stored as hashes of course), then the mods can enter new, creative questions any time, and can arbitrarily deactivate and activate questions whenever they like. To really throw the bots off, some of the letters in the question can be randomly replaced by a generated image of that letter, so if the bot compiles a list of questions it gets asked, in this case it will have a list of incomprensible, broken sentences containing links to images that no longer exist.

SM will be both both free and human friendly.

[Edited on 30-3-2014 by CrimpJiggler]

Zyklon-A - 30-3-2014 at 05:44

I had none of these problems, remembering you passcode is the best option!

Chemosynthesis - 30-3-2014 at 06:47

I remember having trouble with the capcha system when I registered. I was thinking why not have multicolor letters in the capcha system, but then ask users to only type letters of a certain color? Seems a little complicated, but I think I have seen it done.

BromicAcid - 30-3-2014 at 06:57

Glad to see there's a little challenge to the spam countermeasures.

Pyro - 30-3-2014 at 13:44

why not 92 different questions:
''what is the name of the 1st element, search wikipedia if you dont know''
all the way to:
''what is the name of the 92nd element, search wikipedia if you dont know''
and one of the 92 pops up and you need to answer correctly?

Texium - 30-3-2014 at 14:04

I like the idea of having random chemistry questions. Heck, we could even have a thread where people can suggest questions so the mods don't have to do all that themselves and the database of questions grows faster.

Also, I believe that similar ideas were discussed a little bit in this thread, along with many other spam related issues.

therblig - 1-4-2014 at 11:50

I'll second that. Three out of four captchas had letters which partially overlapped. There were no color cues as to which ones were real and which ones were supposed to be shadows of the real ones.

Every time you get something wrong, the entire signup form is wiped and you have to start all over.

There must be a better way. Most forums have one.

jock88 - 1-4-2014 at 14:57

I think we have just discovered the kitchen and Nike spammers!
CrimpJiggler and (evil) therblig?

Brain&Force - 4-4-2014 at 14:42

Second the chem questions idea.

I also think there should be an introduction thread/subforum that you must post in first. If you post in any other forum first your account is immediately deleted.

Pyro: I think a bot could counter those questions if it was only element questions. However we could shamelessly rip off questions from places like QuizUp.

One good thing would be to have a multiple choice question like this:

An acid and a base, when mixed, make a(n)

A. salt
B. alcohol
C. ketone
D. ester
(these would be radio buttons)

and then a response box saying, "Copy the correct answer here; do not click the options."

[Edited on 4.4.2014 by Brain&Force]

essbee - 5-4-2014 at 06:38

Not really on topic, but my workmate was given a most unpleasant reply to a question by 'everyone's friend' ...bfesser and after a very witty reply to his disrespectful comment, bfesser immediately tossed his account on the grounds that one should not make wise-assed comments to a moderator.

So why are the kitchen and Nike guys still here?? Not suggesting that bfesser should return ( I for one was ecstatic when he 'resigned') but can their accounts not be closed....or do they simply make up new ones??
Simple answer...if nobody even reads them they will soon get tired of bothering perhaps??????????????

woelen - 5-4-2014 at 07:45

The kitchen and Nike guys are no real guys. They are computer systems, which randomly spew out their garbage over zillions of forums. They simply make new accounts and the smarter pieces of software even have some time between creating an account and posting their first spam message. So, the only useful thing to do is delete these accounts and all their posts. If we would not bother and just leave the spam messages, then I am quite sure that we would have more spam messages than messages from normal users.

essbee - 5-4-2014 at 10:39

Now that is a pain in the a-hole!

hanabi - 6-4-2014 at 14:20

New guy here,

I was cursing the CAPTCHA part of the registration process until I
discovered a wonderful tool. The caps lock key. Now I don't feel all
THAT ignorant.

Eddygp - 24-4-2014 at 00:24

I have seen in some other forums questions such as:

"Does the dog bark?"