Ask DN: Captchas

almost 7 years ago from

I just tried to create a Hacker News account. But I couldn't confirm I'm human.

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Seriously, I'm a quite tech savy users, why do I have difficulties signing up for a service? Why do I as a user have to suffer because of problems that aren't my own (spam bots in this case)? I have come across quite a few captchas in my time, and so far I managed to get past every single on of them after 1 or 2 tries. This time I tried 6 different captchas and didn't manage to solve one of them...


  • Sindri AvaruusSindri Avaruus, almost 7 years ago

    I honestly don't what to say.

    Captchas are one of the most retarded things I've ever encountered on the internet. This post just makes me sad. If you need me, I'll be crying over here in my corner.

    6 points
  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    There are quite a few alternatives. Captchas are archaic and like you said put undue burden on users.

    P.s. Added the links :)

    Games - there is a service that asks users to perform small game like tasks that are fun and easy. http://areyouahuman.com/

    Honeypots - theses are fields hidden to users but bots fill them put. If the honey pot field is filled out, its a bot. http://haacked.com/archive/2007/09/11/honeypot-captcha.aspx/

    Speed - measuring speed of the form being filled out. If its filled out on humanly fast. Itssp.

    Human tasks - Drawing or reading a sentence and answer it. Like what is a common pet? Cat dragon, spider http://www.josscrowcroft.com/demos/motioncaptcha/http://identipic.com/

    3 points
    • Raphael Loder, almost 7 years ago

      Thanks for the post, really informative.

      The only ones I have encountered so far of this list is the Human tasks. The honey pot one is pretty good, I have to say. I wonder what the success rate is with this one. This would influence the user the least. But would screen reader detect the hidden fields as well?

      1 point
      • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, almost 7 years ago

        I added the links if you want to check them out.

        Honeypot + timed catches most if not all broad, methodical attacks. But if someone is targeting you specifically, then it breaks down because they can just add those specifics into their program.

        Yes, screen readers would. Its one of the biggest negetives but you could label it something understandable such as "Leave blank" or "Please do not check if you are human" etc.

        Overall, I think the games and drawing are nice alternatives to captcha but are still undue burden, even though that burden is lighter.

        We need something smarter, with a quick acting black list shared across sites, defending in the background. That would be the proper solution in my opinion.

        1 point
  • Raphael Loder, almost 7 years ago

    And what's with these sound Captchas anyway? Does anybody ever solve one of these? I was forced to try them now for the first time but that was even worse than the images. I know people with visual impairments usually have better hearing, but boy, I was way off.

    3 points
  • Raphael Loder, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    I'm so tech savy I can't even link properly, it seems.

    1. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11383433/captcha_screenshots/Screenshot%202014-05-26%2016.06.57.png
    2. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11383433/captcha_screenshots/Screenshot%202014-05-26%2016.10.12.png
    3. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11383433/captcha_screenshots/Screenshot%202014-05-26%2016.08.11.png
    4. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11383433/captcha_screenshots/Screenshot%202014-05-26%2016.08.28.png

    EDIT: I just discovered my mistake in Screenshot 1. Argh, I could have prevented it all!

    2 points
  • Tommy SadlerTommy Sadler, almost 7 years ago

    Captcha's have never been a problem for me, but I can see why some people have serious issues with them. Dyslexic people come to mind right away. There has to be an easier solution.

    0 points
  • Account deleted almost 7 years ago

    This is what I think of when I think of captchas

    0 points
  • Erik BeesonErik Beeson, almost 7 years ago

    I feel you. The whole premise of captchas is broken.

    Spammers/scammers leverage cheap human labor, so "verify that you're human" is absolutely meaningless for preventing abuse.

    Verify email address by requiring a link be followed out of an email you send (double opt-in). Rate limit submissions to prevent abuse. Anything less than that is cutting corners in ways that's asking for abuse.

    Every project that I've worked on where management rejects requiring email (or phone) verification has always ended up being abused in one way or another.

    Cross posted from: Good Captcha Alternatives?

    0 points
  • Darth BaneDarth Bane, almost 7 years ago

    "Why do I as a user have to suffer because of problems that aren't my own"

    Although I agree at a certain level, this is just life. We all suffer because of problems that aren't our own. There are evil and malicious people on this planet, and as long as there are, most things in life will be a hassle.

    Only way to change it is to live a good life and hope the world follows. In 100 years we might be able to do online banking without jumping through a billion hoops. ;)

    0 points
    • Raphael Loder, almost 7 years ago

      Hold on there a moment:

      this is just first world problems. I don't really "suffer" because I have troubles signing up for an online service ;) It was just a hyperbole. But I really think this kind of thing can be avoided.

      This isn't that kind of "OMG, I can't live without teh interwebz" sort of post, rather an angry rant against HN registration and Captchas in general ;)

      2 points