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  Registration Activation Quiz  (Read 14856 times)
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Offline Yogr

Junior Newbie





« Posted 2012-11-19 18:54:03 »

It was a little unnecessary.

The captcha with registration was fine, even an activation e-mail to verify that I did indeed submit a real e-mail address and then went and read it to activate my account.

But the activation quiz? Really? I had to google the year Albert Einstein died, and then create a java program, paste the code in and print out the result, and then do some greatest common divisor math?

I made it through your series of hoops, Java-Gaming.org, but the next 1000 people probably won't bother to.
Offline Gjallar

JGO Coder


Medals: 13
Projects: 1


Follower of Nurgle


« Reply #1 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:07:27 »

And those people also wont bother to stick to programming, if they already give up on a simple registration. Their loss.
Offline RobinB

JGO Ninja


Medals: 44
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Spacegame in progress


« Reply #2 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:07:50 »

Thats excactly what they are trying to archive i guess.
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Offline matheus23

JGO Kernel


Medals: 106
Projects: 3


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« Reply #3 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:10:16 »

I think it's ment to not only filter out those bots,
it's ment to filter out those guys coming from minecraft, guys think they love gaming and therefore registrate, etc.

It's ment to only let the programmers of the registrators enter.

Also, the result for all questions is the same, isn't it?

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Offline Yogr

Junior Newbie





« Reply #4 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:20:05 »

And those people also wont bother to stick to programming, if they already give up on a simple registration. Their loss.

Simple registration? That registration is FAR from simple.

You shouldn't screen out people who might be coming here to ask questions or need help. A noob wouldn't know how to get past the registration.
Offline Xemdo

Senior Newbie


Medals: 1
Exp: 2 years



« Reply #5 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:23:08 »

And those people also wont bother to stick to programming, if they already give up on a simple registration. Their loss.

Simple registration? That registration is FAR from simple.

You shouldn't screen out people who might be coming here to ask questions or need help. A noob wouldn't know how to get past the registration.
When I signed up I looked up everything on Google.
If you really want to join, then you are going to answer the questions.
Offline Yogr

Junior Newbie





« Reply #6 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:23:27 »

I think it's ment to not only filter out those bots,
it's ment to filter out those guys coming from minecraft, guys think they love gaming and therefore registrate, etc.

It's ment to only let the programmers of the registrators enter.

Also, the result for all questions is the same, isn't it?

What about musicians, artists, and designers?

Yes, the answers were all the same on my registration quiz. But I didn't know that til I ran the code.
Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #7 - Posted 2012-11-19 19:24:51 »

It's a pretty active board despite all the hoops, with experience at all levels and ages.  If SMF weren't otherwise so wretched at anti-spam measures, they could perhaps be a bit more lenient.

Anyway, if you don't have a java scratchpad project for running code like that, you can always use another language.  I used scala (to verify my guess)

And people giving away the answers are probably just ensuring the next iteration will be harder
Offline Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 783
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #8 - Posted 2012-11-19 21:24:46 »

It was a little unnecessary.

The captcha with registration was fine, even an activation e-mail to verify that I did indeed submit a real e-mail address and then went and read it to activate my account.

But the activation quiz? Really? I had to google the year Albert Einstein died, and then create a java program, paste the code in and print out the result, and then do some greatest common divisor math?

I made it through your series of hoops, Java-Gaming.org, but the next 1000 people probably won't bother to.

You seem to assume that the activation quiz was put in place purely to annoy new members to no end. For our own amusement. To see them fail. You might want to take a step back, and wonder why we would possibly put so much effort into raising the bar for new registrations. If it wasn't obvious yet, it's because we were dealing with spambots, and SMF (forum software) fails to stop them.

  • So we added a 1-question-quiz about Einstein, problem solved right? No, human spammers blasted right through and littered the forum with filth.
  • So we made a 2-question-quiz, with a code-sample, problem solved right? No, the code sample ended up in google, with the answer included. Human spammers got in and dumped their crap on the forum. That was rather unexpected... Why are these spammers so determined? Or in other words: WTF!
  • The solution was to generate the code sample, by bruteforcing all possible combinations, and picking pairs that yielded the right answer. Finally the human spammers gave up, until they started to get through... seriously, they actually adjusted the code a bit and compiled java to litter our forum with their spam.
  • As a last resort I decided to add some psychological warfare, by asking a seemingly hard question, so that they wouldn't even bother.
  • Success. Finally.

Last month we had 9500 registrations, 2700 posts and about 90 actual new members. I hope this shows what a torrent of spam we are blocking. And still we have a huge influx of newbies, on a perfectly clean forum, mind you. That it filters out clueless newbies is a bonus. This is Java Gaming, not Java for Dummies, so I don't mind people failing to join the community if they cannot compile code, or do trivial math (or notice the pattern).

TL;DR: it works out great, and many newbies actually say they liked the trivia quiz. You're the first to complain to this extend.

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Offline StumpyStrust
« Reply #9 - Posted 2012-11-20 03:20:24 »

Hehe when I first joined I was like, "Woh kinds extreme to join a forum" but it only took me 5 minutes to do it and then was like w/e. Really google can do almost the entire thing for you so I don't see what the big deal is.

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline Agro
« Reply #10 - Posted 2012-11-20 03:30:24 »

The title DOES suggest its a java gaming forum. <.< Programmers pls

Offline ReBirth
« Reply #11 - Posted 2012-11-20 03:32:42 »

I like it and have no prob. Just open up your IDE and paste the code. Let it run and show you the answer Cool

Offline Jimmt
« League of Dukes »

JGO Kernel


Medals: 128
Projects: 4
Exp: 3 years



« Reply #12 - Posted 2012-11-20 22:07:15 »

Took no time at all, if you don't know even that much java you shouldn't be making games.
Offline Yogr

Junior Newbie





« Reply #13 - Posted 2012-11-20 23:58:59 »

It was a little unnecessary.

The captcha with registration was fine, even an activation e-mail to verify that I did indeed submit a real e-mail address and then went and read it to activate my account.

But the activation quiz? Really? I had to google the year Albert Einstein died, and then create a java program, paste the code in and print out the result, and then do some greatest common divisor math?

I made it through your series of hoops, Java-Gaming.org, but the next 1000 people probably won't bother to.

You seem to assume that the activation quiz was put in place purely to annoy new members to no end. For our own amusement. To see them fail. You might want to take a step back, and wonder why we would possibly put so much effort into raising the bar for new registrations. If it wasn't obvious yet, it's because we were dealing with spambots, and SMF (forum software) fails to stop them.

  • So we added a 1-question-quiz about Einstein, problem solved right? No, human spammers blasted right through and littered the forum with filth.
  • So we made a 2-question-quiz, with a code-sample, problem solved right? No, the code sample ended up in google, with the answer included. Human spammers got in and dumped their crap on the forum. That was rather unexpected... Why are these spammers so determined? Or in other words: WTF!
  • The solution was to generate the code sample, by bruteforcing all possible combinations, and picking pairs that yielded the right answer. Finally the human spammers gave up, until they started to get through... seriously, they actually adjusted the code a bit and compiled java to litter our forum with their spam.
  • As a last resort I decided to add some psychological warfare, by asking a seemingly hard question, so that they wouldn't even bother.
  • Success. Finally.

Last month we had 9500 registrations, 2700 posts and about 90 actual new members. I hope this shows what a torrent of spam we are blocking. And still we have a huge influx of newbies, on a perfectly clean forum, mind you. That it filters out clueless newbies is a bonus. This is Java Gaming, not Java for Dummies, so I don't mind people failing to join the community if they cannot compile code, or do trivial math (or notice the pattern).

TL;DR: it works out great, and many newbies actually say they liked the trivia quiz. You're the first to complain to this extend.

Hm. Interesting story. The spam bot protection is obvious. I had no idea that it would take that much to give you the proper screening you're looking for. I just thought y'all were being elitist d*cks.

I came across this site and thought it was pretty cool, and I'm not really a Java guy either. I lean towards C++ or ActionScript when I can.

I browse tons of coding/gaming sites and never register, but I actually wanted to join this one. That's why I was so ticked when I realized what I had to go through to sign up cause I don't have a Java IDE at work and I didn't know if the same hashCode function could be found in other APIs. Luckily I found a live Java compiler on the internet that doesn't require any downloading or anything and it worked like a charm.
Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #14 - Posted 2012-11-21 02:34:52 »

If SMF could use Akismet, then the spam problem would probably be controllable to the point where our excuse wouldn't be good anymore and we'd be revealed for the elitist dicks we really are Wink

Seriously, for all WordPress's other failings as another monstrous PHP turd, the Akismet and Bad Behavior plugins are really really really good.
Offline concerto49

Junior Member





« Reply #15 - Posted 2012-11-21 07:34:07 »

I found it quite challenging for once than random forum registrations. Gives a feeling that this community is truly committed.

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Offline ReBirth
« Reply #16 - Posted 2012-11-21 07:37:10 »

If SMF could use Akismet, then the spam problem would probably be controllable to the point where our excuse wouldn't be good anymore and we'd be revealed for the elitist dicks we really are Wink
AFAIK akimset is not free outside wordpress free host service.

I once did my personal site with pixie and overwhelmed by spam. Changed it to disqus but it's slow. Now I just accept no comment and even no post. Grin

Offline thePerfectMan

Senior Newbie





« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-01-04 09:57:56 »

Hi folks,

I am new here and just absolved the "trivia". First I though that the registration is to complicated, too. I read the activation email on my android phone and tried to do the trivia from there. This is just a pain. You need to run the code and I had no developer tools on the phone, so I had to do it on my desktop system, ok.

I don't read this thread completely, but this is my opinion:

I accept that you prefer programmers and similar people on this site, but maybe the need to execute code is unnecessary. For an experienced programmer there would be the chance to read the code and conclude the result just in the brain without executing the code. At least there is a chance to success. This would be in the stile of SCJP (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Certified_Professional#Oracle_Certified_Professional_Java_SE_Programmer_.28formerly_the_Sun_Certified_Java_Programmer.29)

Maybe that would be a trade-off that makes registration a little more comfortable for experienced programmers and still reaching the goal to filter users. Just a proposal.
Offline Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 783
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #18 - Posted 2013-01-04 10:06:51 »

I kindly suggest to read this post then, and you'll see that we at the very least need (randomly) generated code snippets. It also must not be easily portable to javascript.

Any suggestions on how to combine that with executing the code in your head?

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Offline thePerfectMan

Senior Newbie





« Reply #19 - Posted 2013-01-04 12:09:32 »

OK, now I see, I underestimated the effort that spammers perform to get into this site. ^^ Sry, not to read the whole thread right away, but don't worry, most of the time I do. Wink

I did not try to become an SCJP but in some of the test questions there is a Java code snippet and you have to analyse it and answer what's happening when trying to compile and execute the code. I think it's multiple choice where multiple answers might be correct. The offered answers on one and the same question might look like this:

[_] results in value A
[_] results in value B
[_] throws MyException at ...
[_] doesn't compile because of reason x
[_] doesn't compile because of reason y

Sometimes the task gets really hard, e.g. there are multiple nested for loops in the snippet with unexpressive variable names.
Anyway this is just an idea. I don't know all the details and can't do a final judgement. Additionally IMHO if the spammer puts enough effort into it, he will succeed in solving the CAPTCHA or whatever. For example he might use a program to copy the snippet compile and run it and use the result as the answer input.

People are crazy.
Offline Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 783
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #20 - Posted 2013-01-04 12:14:54 »

You can brute force a multiple choice question in a few attempts...

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Offline Mac70
« Reply #21 - Posted 2013-01-04 12:18:26 »

I have an idea - generate working code, make purposeful mistakes (that don't make code less understandable - errors like using variable created inside loop outside this loop) and let user fix code to make it working.

Check out my Devblog! Smiley
Offline Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 783
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #22 - Posted 2013-01-04 12:19:32 »

there are many ways to fix broken code, and the verifier code isn't exactly smart, nor going to compile code snippets, and executing them.

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Offline ReBirth
« Reply #23 - Posted 2013-01-04 12:21:56 »

[badjoke]
Face recognition.
[/badjoke]

Well IMHO if it's too hard for human, spambot too. The current way is pretty balanced.

Offline Best Username Ever

Junior Member





« Reply #24 - Posted 2013-01-04 21:05:54 »

The code snippet you're all talking about is a String hashCode right? That doesn't require a Java compiler to solve. The math is really simple. The only hard part is converting characters to their numerical value using an ASCII table.

Edit: You should never use multiple choice questions to attempt to address automated spam. The idea behind an image CAPTCHA (in absence of OCR) is that an attacker has a 1 in 26^n chance. Even a four character string results in a huge number of possibilities. The problem with multiple choice is that instead of a .0002 percent chance of succeeding, an unintelligent bot (with no informed guesses or web searching) could get in 25% of the time and there's a relatively high chance that a human could get it wrong, too.
Offline matheus23

JGO Kernel


Medals: 106
Projects: 3


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« Reply #25 - Posted 2013-01-04 21:10:10 »

The code snippet you're all talking about is a String hashCode right? That doesn't require a Java compiler to solve. The math is really simple. The only hard part is converting characters to their numerical value using an ASCII table.
Wt.? You don't even need to? (At least in java, but its exactly the same in most other languages:)
String str = "ABC";
System.out.println("ASCII from \"" + str + "\":");
for (int i = 0; i < str.length(); i++) {
    System.out.println(( (int) str.charAt(i) ));
}


<edit>
I agree to your point: The snipped is no protection from spammers. Not at all.
</edit>

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Offline Best Username Ever

Junior Member





« Reply #26 - Posted 2013-01-04 21:17:33 »

The point was that you did not have a Java compiler you could use. You could go to Wikipedia, solve the first question in 5 seconds, solve the second in 60 by using Wikipedia again and a calculator program, and probably take a short time on the last part, too.
Offline Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 783
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #27 - Posted 2013-01-04 21:29:05 »

I agree to your point: The snipped is no protection from spammers. Not at all.
You must be kidding, trolling or just horribly misinformed.

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Offline HeroesGraveDev

JGO Kernel


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« Reply #28 - Posted 2013-01-04 21:31:12 »

Once spammers solve it once, they can spam and spam until they get IP banned. Then they could go and tell their spammer friends the answer and to go do the same.

Good thing spammers don't have friends. Grin

Offline matheus23

JGO Kernel


Medals: 106
Projects: 3


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« Reply #29 - Posted 2013-01-04 21:33:52 »

I agree to your point: The snipped is no protection from spammers. Not at all.
You must be kidding, trolling or just horribly misinformed.
Sorry, misspelled, bots. (Bots creating lots of accounts)

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