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Anyone who from time to time posts messages here whose creation costs more than a few minutes will know it: the reCaptcha quiz that the nForum software requires you to solve in order to prove that you are not a robot.
Every now and then, there is a letter in the Quiz that I just simply cannot decipher. Is that little hook an “r” or a “c”? So far I always was always lucky and guessed right and was never accused of being a robot. But I find it slightly annoying.
But now, a minute ago I was rather baffled: the symbols that I was asked to recognize started wite “$a \in \Sigma$”.
How am I to know what the right answer is supposed to be?
Maybe
a e S
or
$ a \in \Sigma $
or
[latex a \in \Sigma]
or
a \in \Sigma
??
I went for the latter – and was lucky once again. I hope my luck will not fail me in the future.
Oh.
Only now have I looked at their website.
Okay, now I am all in favor of this. And now I also understand why genuinely unreadable characters and why mathematical symbols can show up. And why in the cases that I thought I was lucky, on the contrary I wasn’t being tested but was asked for an opinion. ;-)
I’d seen these (that is, the mathematical ones) on MathOverflow but hadn’t thought about their impact here. I should make the “reload” button work properly so that if someone gets a recaptcha that they really can’t solve, they can click on the “reload” to get a new one.
And, no, I have no idea what you are supposed to type for mathematics.
I have no idea what you are supposed to type for mathematics.
Well, that’s what I meant with my second message: over on their webpage they explain that every now and then they will send a sequence of symbols of which the serving computer in fact does not know what the correct corresponding key-sequence is and in these cases it is not actually the user whose non-robotness is being tested, but the user is secretly asked to do a favor to globalized automatic text recognition.
So that explains why whenever the text is genuinely unreadable or even contains mathematical symbols, then every input from my side is accepted: the software does not test me, but learns from me in these cases.
I like that idea. I like Google scanning and text-recognizing books, and I like the idea that solving Captchas, annoying as it is, means contributing a tiny little bit to that effort.
Ah, I see. You hadn’t realised that there was anything other going on than the non-robot verification. Yes, that’s why I picked this particular Captcha-variant.
Ah, okay. No, it wasn’t clear to me at all. They should say this more prominently:
Please fill out the following. Apart from this being a small annoyance to you, your effort will in fact contribute to the great plan of wikifying all of mankind’s knowledge.
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