What colour is a Turing test?

So, I’m the new admin of an established web forum (2300 or so members). The first order of business is stopping the spam bots.

Of course, there’s a captcha, but, unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work.

Some would say to use a stronger captcha, but I hate captcha, so we’re going to do riddles, which might seem familiar to people who comment on this blog: “What colour is an orange?” (They’re not particularly hard riddles).

This blog uses a plug-in for WordPress called WP-Gatekeeper, developed by CSS virtuoso, Eric Meyer.

We’re going to take this idea, and merge it with our forum software so that all would-be members have to get a stupid riddle or other question correct, or they don’t get a membership.

I’m thinking topical trivia would be good as well, stuff that’s easily found via Google or Wikipedia.

If anyone has any question suggestions, toss them up here. They shouldn’t be formulaic (ie, no math, unless it’s a trick question: “I have one apple and Jane gives me three apples. How many legs do I have?”), or too esoteric.

3 Responses to “What colour is a Turing test?”

  1. Andy Says:

    How about a little bit of entry level Blues trivia?
    e.g.

    Little Red xxxxxxx?
    a) Hedgehog
    b) Rooster
    c) Axolotl

    You could maybe make it a little bit tougher, to help prevent spammers and scammers from registering.

    Thanks mate, you’ve saved the forum. Email me if you need cash or anything.

  2. Ian Says:

    The problem is, you aren’t actually setting up a Turing test.

    The reason captchas don’t work these days is that spammers often “outsource” them to actual people. I watched a video of a talk at Google where they discussed this, among other things. Apparently what happens is the spammer will have a “free” porn site somewhere, but in order to view the images, visitors have to solve captchas… and every time they do, the spammer gets another email address or forum account.

    Sadly, the WP-gatekeeper riddle approach is just as vulnerable to this tactic, but it will probably work fine until it becomes popular enough to make it worth it to the spammers to “outsource” the riddle solving too. Welcome to the arms race =)

  3. Chiya Says:

    Actually, when I first posted a comment here I started to quote the Hitch Hiker’s guide to the galaxy…until I realized it actually had a purpose. But I like it, and captchas annoy me too.

    What colour is the Universe? It’s beige. (Something to do with the average wavelengths)

    There was one forum where they asked “What it the capital of Canada” and I started to type Ottowa then realized it didn’t look right with an o.