CAPTCHA-like task that requires a couple of minutes to complete
August 11, 2013 1:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a CAPTCHA-like service (e.g. ReCAPTCHA). However, it needs to be one that requires more time & effort to complete, since my goal is actually to create a barrier to entry for my site (i.e. have users prove that they are competent and willing to invest effort). Like transcribing entire paragraphs of text, rather than just a couple of words, or solving some sort of puzzle. Does anyone know of such a service, ideally one I could easily plug into my site?
posted by lunchbox to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most sites I've seen like that require you to email an actual person and ask for access, and that person sends you a password. It puts off people with casual interest who aren't willing to have their email stored by someone or wait a day or two for a response to the email, but it doesn't pose such an annoying barrier as transcribing a paragraph of text would. You presumably don't want to make potential users hate you, which such a task might do, even if they slog through it anyway.
posted by lollusc at 2:56 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

> "You presumably don't want to make potential users hate you"

Actually I do.

Just kidding. In the context of my website, something like paragraph transcription is actually an OK and reasonable thing to do. My users will not get annoyed.

Unfortunately the email solution wouldn't work since the users should stay anonymous.
posted by lunchbox at 3:08 AM on August 11, 2013

I just went looking to see if 810 was on Wikipedia's list of hypothetical things from XKCD strips that people have subsequently invented, but apparently not.

Do you remember those Geek Codes people used to have in their sig files back in the 90s? You'd complete a lengthy quiz about what kind of Hacker or TNG fan or Cartoonist you were and at the end it would spit out a code so you could identify yourself to people with similar interests.

Maybe you could use a Geek Code? The quizzes were usually fun to complete if you had a serious interest in computers/Trek/cartoons/whatever and deathly dull if you didn't.
posted by the latin mouse at 3:11 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would say that completing a yes/no or simple arithmetic quiz that was lengthy enough to prove a barrier to the casual user but not discriminatory against anyone with a grade school education would be...well, less discriminatory than a lengthy transcription test that is definitely discriminatory against people with certain disabilities, people with dyslexia, etc. I've seen a 2-question math quiz used as a captcha on at least one site or forum (I can't remember which right now), so there may even be a plug-in that you could use for that.

However, ask yourself if you are trying to keep out spammers or people who want to stir up shit? Because spammers might not put in the effort but shit-stirrers can be remarkably careful that you're not putting up a barrier that is more of an obstacle to your intended audience than it is to the people you want to keep out.
posted by drlith at 4:46 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Who are you trying to keep out? Bots? Human spammers? Trolls?

Anything OCR-bot proof besides a well established CAPTCHA service is going to be prohibitively hard for real people who need OCR software to browse the internet.

The non-sucky parts of the internet seem to have established that human moderation + a flagging system + IP bans do a good enough job keeping out the spammers that get through CAPTCHA.

For trolls, keep in mind that they probably are willing to invest as much or more effort into joining your site than legitimate users. Could you use a model like StackExchange, where users need to establish themselves as legitimate participants before they are allowed to use all the site features?
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 5:32 AM on August 11, 2013 uses PlayThru from The standard one on is simple but they can develop more complex custom captchas for you.
posted by headnsouth at 5:49 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe they should have to send you $5 via paypal.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:28 AM on August 11, 2013 [18 favorites]

Or $5 to EFF or some other worthy charity...
posted by COD at 6:41 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think the simplest thing would be to require the completion of multiple captchas. Just link a sequence of pages, each with a new captcha. Repeat as many as you like with the last captcha granting access.
posted by cosmac at 7:14 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've used QuestyCaptcha before, with questions that were only answerable by people knowledgable in the subject of the site.

I also know of a a very technical industry forum where gaining entry requires evidence of having purchased the author's (very well regarded) book!
posted by emilyw at 9:07 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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