Smokes your problems, coughs fresh air.


MediaWiki ConfirmEdit/QuestyCaptcha extension

Since I moved my LDAP wiki over from DokuWiki to MediaWiki, I’ve been burried by a daily torrent of spam. Just like with my tropical timber investments wiki, the ReCaptcha extension (with pretty intrusive settings) doesn’t seem to do much to stop this shitstream.

How do the spammers do this? Do they primarily trick visitors of other websites into solving this captchas for them or do they employ spam-sweatshops in third-world countries? Fuck them! I’m trying something new.

I’ve upgraded to the ConfirmEdit extension. (ReCaptcha has also moved into this extension.) This allows me to try different Captcha types. The one I was most interested in is QuestyChaptcha, which allows me to define a set of questions which the user needs to answer. I’m now trying it out with the following question:

$wgCaptchaQuestions[] = array( 'question' => "LDAP stands for ...", 'answer' => "Lightweight Directory Access Protocol" );

I don’t think it’s a particularly good question, since it’s incredibly easy to Google. But, we’ll see, and in the mean time I’ll try to come up with one or two questions that are context-sensitive, yet easy enough to answer for anyone with some knowledge of LDAP. If you have an idea, please leave a comment.


If you’ve never heard of reCAPTCHA before, reCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to digitize books, newspapers and old time radio shows. I’m using reCAPTCHA on this and other blog to protect myself from automated spam comments. I’m also using it on some of my MediaWiki sites to protect myself from wiki spam.

The great thing about reCAPTCHA is that it solves two problems at once. First, the OCR problem: it uses user time that would otherwise have been wasted solving meaningless capchas to aid the digitization process of public texts, to fill in the gaps where OCR fails. By doing so it solves the automated spam problem by challenging website visitors to proof that they’re human. We can be pretty confident that someone is human if they’re able to recognize characters that the best OCR software cannot.

Anyway, enough about the serious stuff. I’m blogging about this now because Wiebe sent me a few links to funny reCAPTCHA combinations. Here’s a nice example (from the I Am Not A Robot weblog):

Johnson Chorus

Johnson Chorus

© 2024 BigSmoke

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑