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posted by janrinok on Monday January 02 2023, @12:48PM   Printer-friendly

Some of you may have seen the claims in certain journals that SoylentNews is blocking new accounts. I have been looking at the actual figures for accounts created during December 2022.

A total of 2198 accounts have been successfully created during December. Unfortunately the vast majority of these were created by a bot and they will never become active because the bot does not have access to the email addresses being quoted. The email address is required so that the initial password can be issued. The site is designed to handle a much larger number of accounts and at a far greater rate than the bot is using. This causes us no problems whatsoever. It must be keeping somebody amused though. I think it would be nice to have some form of 'captcha' (NOT Google's fire hydrant, bicycle, bus and pedestrian crossing counter!!!) to prevent bots such as these.

It is possible, indeed likely, that there will be a small number of genuine accounts buried in there somewhere but it is difficult to identify them until they become active.

In those accounts we have successfully identified 28 attempts at creating sock-puppets which have been disabled automatically. This gives 1.27% of all attempts to create an new account are blocked, which is significantly less that the the claim that 'all new accounts' are being blocked.

The latest UID to be created is 22820.

 
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by pTamok on Monday January 02 2023, @03:06PM (5 children)

    by pTamok (3042) on Monday January 02 2023, @03:06PM (#1284778)

    Something like this might help

    http://textcaptcha.com/ [textcaptcha.com]

    The concept is simple: ask a question, and compare a hash of the submitted answer with hashes of the correct answers.

    If coded up locally, you can administer your own database of questions and answers, which can be rotated frequently. With a bit of luck, you could programmatically generate test questions and answers faster than a bot could be modified to cope with them, ultimately requiring a bot to use a mechanical turk or an AI to answer them, which gets either (cash) expensive or (computationally) expensive.

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  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by crafoo on Monday January 02 2023, @03:17PM (1 child)

    by crafoo (6639) on Monday January 02 2023, @03:17PM (#1284784)

    is this the beginnings of a void comp test? maybe if you ask questions that trigger basic human instincts and emotions? no that wouldn't work. you'd filter out the communists and progressive psychopaths too.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday January 02 2023, @03:43PM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday January 02 2023, @03:43PM (#1284791) Journal

      The projection is incredible. Based on your post history, you are far more likely than any given new user candidate to be a sociopath or psychopath. If you don't like it so much here, *go away.* No one will miss you.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday January 02 2023, @03:24PM (2 children)

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 02 2023, @03:24PM (#1284787) Journal

    I have got plenty of solutions, but thanks for adding another one. The problem is re-writing the code to take the captcha into account. Only NCommander can do that at present and he has plenty of higher priority tasks on his plate already.

    --
    I am not interested in who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by pTamok on Monday January 02 2023, @04:40PM (1 child)

      by pTamok (3042) on Monday January 02 2023, @04:40PM (#1284800)

      Fine. No problem.

      I was trying to find something that didn't require Javascript, or connections to external websites (if coded locally), with all the tracking/privacy implications of using an external service. Using text can also be highly accessible for people with sight and hearing impairments.

      I hope the cloning experiments with NCommander are coming along nicely.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Monday January 02 2023, @04:56PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 02 2023, @04:56PM (#1284804) Journal
        So far he has managed to halve our running costs or, more correctly, halve the number of servers that we are using - that is quite a useful achievement.
        --
        I am not interested in who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.