Author Topic: Is there a reason for such difficult verification questions?  (Read 1038 times)

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2586
  • Location: Ontario
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.


---------------------

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!


Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2748
  • Age: 80
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
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.

DS

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
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

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2586
  • Location: Ontario
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.



---------------------

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

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2586
  • Location: Ontario
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.

---------------------

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

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Phoenix
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

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
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

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Location: Seattle
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

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 110
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

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5642
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

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8104
  • Registered member
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