Author Topic: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?  (Read 2220 times)

elaine amj

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Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« on: August 23, 2018, 09:02:50 AM »
I finally convinced my husband to sign up. But those verification questions are HARD!

The first one wasn't so horrible:
Something about outrageous __________
(Since I have read the blog for years, it was no big deal. But he hasn't read the blog and would have never be able to answer it).

The second one stumped me for too long. He gave up after the first attempt and said without me, he would never have figured it out.
The first word of the title of the first blog post is _______
This not on the homepage of the website nor is it easy to find - I tried several other words before clicking extensively to find his very first post from 2011 or something, "Meet Mr Money Mustache" . Very unusual as I expected to find the answer easily on the main homepage.

I imagine this is to prevent spammers -  but it seems a little excessively onerous. Or do we only want people here who really, really want to be here and are willing to jump through multiple hoops? From the questions, I imagine we only want people who have read the blog for a little while too?

I'd suggest that if the difficult questions were chosen on purpose, that this is brought up in the instructions when asking the verification questions as this will reduce frustration and irritation. Something like: Please answer the following verification questions. Please note that these questions were created to reduce spammers and to encourage forum members to read the blog before joining. The answers may not be immediately obvious and might require some searching.

I'm really quite curious. Plus it will help me explain policies to friends I have been coaxing to check out the forums.


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Frankies Girl

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 09:20:31 AM »
I'm not a mod for this site, but I do mod for another site, so my 2...


Mods are not paid. They do the policing on forums purely because they strongly support the overall community and want this to be as great an environment as possible. There are things the forum software can catch spam-wise on its own, but an actual human spammer (you'd be shocked at the numbers that are paid to do that shit) and sophisticated bot spammers are legion. Insanity levels really.

Moderators deserve lots of thanks and pretty much any help they can get from the software/login procedure to cut the crap before it hits the pages.

So setting up a place where you have to register to comment is first priority. Making the registration process a bit difficult - so it easily defeats most bot spammers and also forces the human spammer to consider how much time they are willing to devote to researching the answers and likely move on to more easily accessed sites - is second line of defense.

It isn't to discourage genuine folks that are interested in FIRE or to make this some kind of elite club of insiders. It's just supposed to be a bit difficult so the folks that are interested, do a bit of research to prove they care enough about the place to do so. Spammers won't usually bother unless they are specifically targeting folks that consider this stuff interesting.

It sucks that it may make it harder for casual folks just now getting interested if they don't feel like the registration process is worth the annoying research part, but it is a much needed feature.

Still Being

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2018, 09:28:26 AM »

This not on the homepage of the website nor is it easy to find - I tried several other words before clicking extensively to find his very first post from 2011 or something, "Meet Mr Money Mustache" . Very unusual as I expected to find the answer easily on the main homepage.


From the Homepage:

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.



elaine amj

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2018, 09:30:12 AM »
I'm not a mod for this site, but I do mod for another site, so my 2¢...


Mods are not paid. They do the policing on forums purely because they strongly support the overall community and want this to be as great an environment as possible. There are things the forum software can catch spam-wise on its own, but an actual human spammer (you'd be shocked at the numbers that are paid to do that shit) and sophisticated bot spammers are legion. Insanity levels really.

Moderators deserve lots of thanks and pretty much any help they can get from the software/login procedure to cut the crap before it hits the pages.

So setting up a place where you have to register to comment is first priority. Making the registration process a bit difficult - so it easily defeats most bot spammers and also forces the human spammer to consider how much time they are willing to devote to researching the answers and likely move on to more easily accessed sites - is second line of defense.

It isn't to discourage genuine folks that are interested in FIRE or to make this some kind of elite club of insiders. It's just supposed to be a bit difficult so the folks that are interested, do a bit of research to prove they care enough about the place to do so. Spammers won't usually bother unless they are specifically targeting folks that consider this stuff interesting.

It sucks that it may make it harder for casual folks just now getting interested if they don't feel like the registration process is worth the annoying research part, but it is a much needed feature.
Fair enough - I do understand that dealing with spammers takes a lot of mod time. I used to run a forum and know how much times it takes to mod/admin.  And I obviously love this forum enough that I want to recommend it to those around me.

However, the difficulty of the questions are quite unusual compared to most other forums. Therefore, I'd suggest that if this is the intent, simply add a comment in the instructions so that the person trying to register understands the purpose behind it. Like I said, this will reduce frustration and irritation. Also reduces confusion. It took me a little while to even understand that I would need to jump through more hoops than is normal for a forum. I was very confused for a little while.

Just knowing and understanding that this is a different process from normal forums would make it a more welcoming experience.



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Camp Mustache Toronto (Sep 21-23) is where all the cool Mustachians will be gathering for meatball parties,  karaoke in the bell tower and VolleyHockeyBall!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 09:40:17 AM by elaine amj »

elaine amj

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2018, 09:38:57 AM »

This not on the homepage of the website nor is it easy to find - I tried several other words before clicking extensively to find his very first post from 2011 or something, "Meet Mr Money Mustache" . Very unusual as I expected to find the answer easily on the main homepage.


From the Homepage:

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.
Yep - I did eventually find that :) Just took a bit more research. Normally when there are verification questions, it is something very easy to answer after just a quick look. So I tried a few other words first. Good thing I understand blogs. My husband doesn't (he spends his time mostly in forums) and would have been lost trying out words from titles all over the homepage.

My point is this is a little unusual and a heads up that a prospective forum member may have to work a little harder will adjust expectations and make it a challenge to solve instead of something to get irritated with and grumble about. 

I love this place and was sad my husband had a negative experience when trying to join. Admittedly, he wasn't hugely personally motivated. He's been content to just listen to my secondhand interpretations of stuff I read and learn here. So in his case, he probably wouldn't put in the additional effort. And it's fair enough if the community only wants those wiling to put in the additional effort.

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Camp Mustache Toronto (Sep 21-23) is where all the cool Mustachians will be gathering for meatball parties,  karaoke in the bell tower and VolleyHockeyBall!


Schwifty

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 02:38:37 PM »
I must agree.  First time poster, long time lurker.  Finally registered a few days ago, and yeah it seems like it was harder than it needed to be.

letired

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2018, 04:10:07 PM »
Given the startlingly low levels of spam we get on this forum, I'd say that the questions are working as intended!!! I also think we only want people here who really want to be here, not just every set of eyeballs who might be casually interested. In contrast to the forum, the quality of the comments on the actual blog posts is pretty bad. If people are having that much trouble signing up, tell them that the questions are tricky and to ask you. Alternately, everyone can get better at google. I typed in "mmm outrageous" and it autocompleted for me.

Another Dreamer

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2018, 08:11:27 PM »
The questions may be "working as intended" in blocking the spammers but there's no way to estimate how many normal users are also being blocked or just give up in frustration.

I've been an MMM reader from the very beginning. I used to have another account here, but I lost my password and couldn't recover it. Answering all these verification questions was ridiculously difficult  (even with Google), and if it wasn't for my desire to discuss a certain topic, I would've just left. (And I'm a 30-something working for a tech company! My less tech-literate relatives would not have been able to join.)

Here's my proposed solution: replace those specific answer words with a list of synonyms - financial freedom through frugality / savings / patience etc, etc.

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 11:35:05 AM »
I'm not a mod for this site, but I do mod for another site, so my 2...


Mods are not paid. They do the policing on forums purely because they strongly support the overall community and want this to be as great an environment as possible. There are things the forum software can catch spam-wise on its own, but an actual human spammer (you'd be shocked at the numbers that are paid to do that shit) and sophisticated bot spammers are legion. Insanity levels really.

Moderators deserve lots of thanks and pretty much any help they can get from the software/login procedure to cut the crap before it hits the pages.

So setting up a place where you have to register to comment is first priority. Making the registration process a bit difficult - so it easily defeats most bot spammers and also forces the human spammer to consider how much time they are willing to devote to researching the answers and likely move on to more easily accessed sites - is second line of defense.

It isn't to discourage genuine folks that are interested in FIRE or to make this some kind of elite club of insiders. It's just supposed to be a bit difficult so the folks that are interested, do a bit of research to prove they care enough about the place to do so. Spammers won't usually bother unless they are specifically targeting folks that consider this stuff interesting.

It sucks that it may make it harder for casual folks just now getting interested if they don't feel like the registration process is worth the annoying research part, but it is a much needed feature.

I didn't mind the hoops. Especially now that I'm in and realize that it does keep the spammers and trolls out. I feel comfortable posting here because it doesn't become the comments section of YouTube.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 11:40:15 AM »
An aside re: mods are not paid. Given how much revenue this blog/forum brings, I propose that moderating this one should be a paid gig. It seems strange its a volunteer job given its level of profitability, and how many people here could use a (paying) side gig.

dragoncar

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2018, 11:42:57 PM »
Another great example of a club that wouldn't let me in were I to apply now

gardevoir

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2018, 04:05:40 AM »
Just registered for the forum, and as a new reader of the blog, I didn't know the "answer" to the questions. But after a quick look at the homepage and using the SEARCH feature of the site, got the information I needed.

I think the "difficulty" of the questions is fantastic. I'm sure it will prevent a huge percentage of spam registrations. Prevention is better than cure.

bayareasaver

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2018, 02:17:51 PM »
Just wanted to say I find the questions frustrating as well. I'd like to engage more but when I log in on my phone it asks me the questions on every post/reply and I don't have the answers memorized and so it make me a lot less likely to engage. But I do thank the moderators; that said I also know that Mr. Money makes a lot of $$$ from his site so it seems like it'd be nice if he could pay someone a living wage to battle spam if needed. And more comments and posts would mean more click throughs on ads which would mean... more $$$ for him, so...

Also wanted to say thank you for having a site that doesn't require facebook, that's the main reason I'm here. I'm a FI/FIRE person in general, not a huge MMM person since I'm a woman and find the lingo offputting and have for a long time (sorry, I hope that doesn't get me kicked out).

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2018, 03:02:30 PM »
I'd like to engage more but when I log in on my phone it asks me the questions on every post/reply and I don't have the answers memorized and so it make me a lot less likely to engage.

Hmmmm... That's not normal (the words I bolded). I think worth batsignalling a mod on. @arebelspy ?

bayareasaver

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2018, 05:48:17 PM »
Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, like reading while on my iphone and then I find something interesting I want to reply to but I wasn't logged in so it asks me to. Is there a way to stay logged in while on a phone? Thanks.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2018, 06:22:19 PM »
I've never tried it on a phone, bayareasaver. When I log in on a PC or tablet, it does give me the option to checkmark "stay logged in for" a time. I think forever was an option? (Until I intentionally log out.)

dragoncar

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2018, 12:02:23 AM »
Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, like reading while on my iphone and then I find something interesting I want to reply to but I wasn't logged in so it asks me to. Is there a way to stay logged in while on a phone? Thanks.

When you log in, look for a "stay logged in" button where you enter your username.  I've never been asked verification questions when logging in so something is definitely wrong.


Dicey

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2018, 12:41:05 AM »
Another great example of a club that wouldn't let me in were I to apply now
^^This^^, plus I don't remember ever having to do any verification. Maybe it's changed since I joined? I recommend the site all the time - should I start providing more details? If so, what?

arebelspy

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2018, 06:54:18 AM »
MOD NOTE:
When you have less than two posts, it asks you the verification questions each time you post.

When you have less than five posts, it asks you them if you try to PM.

Once you've posted a few times, these requirements go away.

As mentioned above, it is to reduce spam.

They're questions Pete set up years ago. If anyone has suggestions for better ones, please post them and @ me, or PM me.

Cheers!
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You can also read my forum "Journal."

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2018, 09:43:18 AM »
@bayareasaver , is your matter resolved yet? Was it a matter of selecting stay logged in? i.e. Too many minutes between new activity?

bayareasaver

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2018, 10:58:25 PM »
Hi, Im on my phone now and I think it might be stuck in incognito browsing mode. If anyone has an iPhone and uses the built in browser and stays logged in on the site (yes I checked the box) Id love to hear from you!

Also because the verification?s were required for my first few posts I assumed theyd always be required which was a HUGE deterrent to sticking around.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2018, 11:16:27 PM »
...because the verification?s were required for my first few posts I assumed theyd always be required which was a HUGE deterrent to sticking around.

Ah, understood :)

Dicey

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2018, 01:48:01 AM »
Hi, Im on my phone now and I think it might be stuck in incognito browsing mode. If anyone has an iPhone and uses the built in browser and stays logged in on the site (yes I checked the box) Id love to hear from you!

Also because the verification?s were required for my first few posts I assumed theyd always be required which was a HUGE deterrent to sticking around.
I hope this resolves itself and you do stick around. The Bay Area needs more mustachians. Welcome!

Thanks for the deets, @arebelspy. You guys really hold this place together. It's by far the best FIRE forum in the universe, IMHO.

elaine amj

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2018, 08:06:34 PM »
Hi, Im on my phone now and I think it might be stuck in incognito browsing mode. If anyone has an iPhone and uses the built in browser and stays logged in on the site (yes I checked the box) Id love to hear from you!

Also because the verification?s were required for my first few posts I assumed theyd always be required which was a HUGE deterrent to sticking around.

What about installing the tapatalk app? Its a vastly superior way to browse the forums on your phone and might circumvent your incognito issue.

As for verification questions, I'll see if I can dream up some. I think it depends on whether the goal is to make it relatively easy for a real human (i.e. something obvious from reading the homepage) or something challenging to keep out the riffraff (i.e. actually have to hunt and research the answers). I am in the lower the barriers to entry camp but certainly understand wanting to be more protective against trolls.

dragoncar

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2018, 09:42:24 PM »


What about installing the tapatalk app? Its a vastly superior way to browse the forums on your phone

Is it though?  I tried it several years ago? And found it to be (frankly) shit.  If its gotten way better, maybe Ill give it another shot

ysette9

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2018, 10:11:13 PM »
Tapatalk is mostly shit but it is slightly better than trying to read a forum page designed for a computer that doesn’t have a mobile version. All of that zooming gets old, and makes posting a reply a right pain in the butt.

I have an iPhone and have no problem staying logged in. I must have signed up long enough ago that I’ve forgotten about the questions in the process.

elaine amj

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2018, 11:13:29 PM »
Tapatalk is annoying when it loads slow but otherwise, its easy to subscribe to posts and I like that the forums is reasonably well formatted. I like being able to go through my timeline, all unread posts, threads I have subscribed to, or threads I have participated in.

Using the website on a computer is superior but for smartphone use, I prefer Tapatalk.

I occasionally read the forums on my mobile browser and it's a pain in the neck to zoom in and out. Replying to posts is annoying because the reply box just isn't formatted well.

That said, I generally enjoy using Tapatalk and am pleased with it. So obviously whatever annoys others who dislike it doesn't bother me much.

Sent from my LG-K373 using Tapatalk


dragoncar

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2018, 11:40:39 PM »
Ah, yes well I don't zoom much on mobile because I have a retina screen and really good retinas (I'm also incredibly handsome and strong).

But I do hate replying on mobile so maybe I'll try tapatalk again.


joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2018, 11:41:05 PM »
^ LOL!!!!