CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

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stevemaury
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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by stevemaury » Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:59 pm

Like bots are going to do that - not. Low-hanging fruit is aplenty.
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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by ToonArmy » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:38 pm

stevemaury wrote:Like bots are going to do that - not. Low-hanging fruit is aplenty.
Thing is the fruit which is low is relative, so in time. ;)
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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Noxwizard » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:58 pm

If they know it's a tactic that's being used, then sure they would.
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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by drathbun » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:23 pm

thedeamonsays wrote:The best way is to ask users for their location, then cross check against their ip address.
That's simply not practical for a wide variety of reasons. First, I get over 700 new members a month. I don't have time (or interest) in checking them at that level. Even if the check were done automatically rather than manually, the IP address used to register is quite likely to be a "zombie" and could even be using a proxy.
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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Dog Cow » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:19 am

SyntaxError90 wrote:The problem with 'skill based' questions is that, unfortunately, some people don't have the skills necessary to answer them.
It used to be that in order to post on Usenet, one needed access to a Unix machine, and the skill needed to operate such a system. Now anyone can have a go at posting whatever garbage they want. Look at what has happened to Usenet now.

There's something to be said for keeping the general masses (who are asses) out.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Darth Wong » Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:49 pm

I love the phrase "the masses are asses". That's hilarious!

I do happen to agree with it in principle too. Think about how many people don't even know how to safely and responsibly operate an automobile; you see them every day on the road. Think about the kind of person who's an adult and thinks he's pretty smart, but would flunk a grade 9 math test: they're more common than you think.

We're always bombarded with populist mantras about how "common sense" beats learned knowledge, but a mantra does not magically become true by virtue of repetition.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Roberdin » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:33 pm

Darth Wong wrote:I have to be honest here: the phrase "not particularly numerically orientated" is a pretty generous way of describing someone who's basically too stupid to pass grade 9 math.
No it isn't. It's a way of describing someone whose daily life does not involve manipulation of physical quantities. There are loads of very highly educated people who have no interest in solving arithmetic problems, irrespective of whether they can or not. I know a man with dyscalculia, an illness similar to dyslexia, but which leaves him unable to perform little more than simple arithmetic. However, he has top grades in everything else and is currently learning Chinese as a second language while he finishes a degree in Asian history. I expect he'd run a mile before he'd even finished reading the question.

If your forum is based around science, fair enough. Otherwise, you may be putting off a lot of intelligent and articulate people.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Darth Wong » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:32 pm

Roberdin wrote:No it isn't. It's a way of describing someone whose daily life does not involve manipulation of physical quantities.
Oh come on, there are people who never need to understand the relationship between distance, time, and speed in their daily lives? How do they figure out how long a car trip will take? Or do they just get in the car and pray?
There are loads of very highly educated people who have no interest in solving arithmetic problems, irrespective of whether they can or not.
No, there are loads of poorly educated people who think they're highly educated because they have a degree of some sort, but who are extremely annoying because when you go to a group lunch, they can't figure out their share of the bill or the tip. There is no one who goes through life never needing basic math; there are only people who go through life doing basic math badly when they need to.
I know a man with dyscalculia, an illness similar to dyslexia, but which leaves him unable to perform little more than simple arithmetic. However, he has top grades in everything else and is currently learning Chinese as a second language while he finishes a degree in Asian history. I expect he'd run a mile before he'd even finished reading the question.
OK, so he has a learning disability and he's wisely chosen light educational subjects which don't require any math. Good for him; I wish him well.

However, it doesn't change the fact that he's got a learning disability. And I've got to be honest: history is a light subject. When I was in university I took a third-year History course just for fun, and I got an A. That bears repeating: I had never taken a university-level history course before, I jumped into a third year course, and I got an A. Why don't you try taking a third-year History major with no prior university-level math courses, putting him in a third-year Engineering Calculus course, and seeing how long he survives? He wouldn't make it past the first week, never mind getting an A.
If your forum is based around science, fair enough. Otherwise, you may be putting off a lot of intelligent and articulate people.
I'm sure there are very articulate people out there who can't do math. I've known quite a few. But it is obviously a learning disability to be incapable of learning math, and since that is a particular type of intelligence, it's not unreasonable to generalize that people who can't do math have lesser intelligence as a group. Life isn't fair. If you lose in one area, you don't necessarily gain in another. And math is a particularly rigorous form of learning because it is so incredibly logical; it is, in fact, pretty much pure logic.

People are so reluctant to denigrate anyone's intelligence for any reason. It's a form of political correctness.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Roberdin » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:28 pm

I don't wish to dispute your entire post as it seems clear we aren't going to come to a common agreement on this. I will acknowledge your point that complete ignorance of the relationship between speed, distance and time must be rare, but I propose that the quantitative, or symbolic expression of that relationship may not come immediately to many people, and further that CAPTCHA questions which appear even more "scientific" might be off-putting to some people.
Darth Wong wrote:[H]istory is a light subject. When I was in university I took a third-year History course just for fun, and I got an A. That bears repeating: I had never taken a university-level history course before, I jumped into a third year course, and I got an A.
Perhaps you are right; the historians at my university seem to have a lot of free time. However, in the interests of fairness, this may speak more of the standards of your university's history department than anything else (or perhaps your own previously undiscovered aptitude for historical discussion). In the UK, we have a different undergraduate structure to the US/Canada, with a lot more specialisation (no major/minor subjects). To receive a first (top marks) at a well-respected humanities department generally requires
very high quality work demonstrating excellent knowledge and understanding, analysis, organisation, accuracy, relevance, presentation and appropriate skills. Work which may extend existing debates or interpretations. [...] At final-year level: work may achieve or be close to publishable standard.
(Warwick University)
This doesn't sound particularly light to me; and indeed, firsts in humanities subjects are fairly uncommon.

I don't think that the tightly linear nature of some subjects is a reason to consider them inherently more difficult than non-linear subjects.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Darth Wong » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:23 am

It's not a matter of being "linear"; it's a matter of being deep instead of shallow. History is a very broad but shallow subject. You can learn an enormous wealth of information but there are no complex concepts to understand. A History major need only learn his material and be able to make convincing arguments about it. You will not find a History major awake at 3 in the morning, blearily complaining "I just can't figure this out!"

I know you seem rather hostile to the notion that some subjects simply require greater intelligence than others, but there's a reason why I could have easily switched to a History major, while the average History major would have been hopelessly lost if he tried to do Engineering.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Dogs and things » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:34 am

Darth Wong wrote:What do you think is more effective? Everyone uses CAPTCHAs nowadays, and the skill-testing math question is not as popular, in part because it really doesn't work: you can take a simple math question like "4 * 7 - 18 = " and just plug it into Google for an answer, so a bot can do the same.
Is that so?

What correct answer to that very simple math question will find a bot here?

That said, it is my believe that there is no need to use math questions to fool bots.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by stickerboy » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:29 am

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Dogs and things » Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:26 am

I see. :geek:

I guess placing the correct answer in a dropdown select with several possible answers would be enough to stop bots using dirty tricks.

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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by drathbun » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:15 pm

Dogs and things wrote:I see. :geek:

I guess placing the correct answer in a dropdown select with several possible answers would be enough to stop bots using dirty tricks.
Then you just give them a finite number of choices, eventually they'll get it right if you allow enough retries...
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Re: CAPTCHA vs skill-testing question

Post by Dogs and things » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:05 pm

Limited retries after failure, a fresh question on every retry, 10 options in the dropdown, very few bots will get through.

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