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New "Are you a robot?" check.

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1timspalding
Edited: Sep 16, 3:08pm Top

Lovely watercolor by conceptdawg in honor of our new robot detector:


Example:


LibraryThing has replaced its Google reCaptcha with a LibraryThing-created "Are you a robot?" page. If you sign out and sign in again, you should get it.

The page asks you to identify cooking and other food books amongst other books.

If you dislike it, or find it too difficult, you can click "Traditional Captcha" to get the standard Google reCaptcha one. We figured clicking on cookbooks was more fun than clicking on cars and streetlights.

* We've tested the page on every browser and OS we have access to. If you have problems, we want to hear them.
* Because some members disliked Google being involved, the alternative, Google one does NOT load unless you click to see it.
* The new page will give you a number of tries. If you fail too many times, it will require you to answer the Google one.
* You should only have to deal with the new robot-check page once per month, if you use the same browser and account. If you switch browsers and users a lot, you may need to deal with it more often. Clarification: If you stay logged in, you won't get it at all.
* We developed the system with various "levels" of security. If we see an increase in attacks, for example, we will get harder on missed answers, obfuscate the data more, etc. We are watching.

I hope you find the new one fun. If you find it annoying, my apologies. But we NEED this to cut down on automated attacks. All-day, every-day LibraryThing is being attacked by bots, seeking to create new accounts, or compromise existing ones. (The attacks come from huge "botnets," and can't be stopped by IP restrictions.) We MUST do something about this, for your security and for the health of the site overall.

Thanks! Tim

2norabelle414
Sep 16, 2:49pm Top

Thank you! And Chris' art is gorgeous.

3DanieXJ
Sep 16, 3:02pm Top

Oh, that's perfect.

4lorax
Sep 16, 3:07pm Top

You should only have to deal with the new robot-check page once per month, if you use the same browser and account.

So you're going to start expiring login cookies once a month, then?

5timspalding
Sep 16, 3:09pm Top

>4 lorax:

Added "Clarification: If you stay logged in, you won't get it at all."

We won't absolutely promise we won't expire cookies in the future; if we have to to fight bots, we will. But I don't foresee it.

6Helenliz
Sep 16, 4:13pm Top

Will this apply to editing the wiki as well? That has a Captcha on it.

7bnielsen
Sep 16, 4:23pm Top

People sharing my sense of humour will like this vision of the future of captcha technology:

https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/captcha

Anyway, thanks for putting a stop to these spammers.

8timspalding
Sep 16, 4:34pm Top

>6 Helenliz:

Only insofar as logging into the site requires it. The other Wiki captcha is separate, and part of the wiki software.

9conceptDawg
Sep 16, 5:48pm Top

>4 lorax: No you won't have to sign in on a monthly basis. As long as you stay signed in you won't see the captcha.
Tim was saying that you can sign out and in as many times as you want and you will only see the captcha once per month once you've captcha'd successfully.

10Lyndatrue
Sep 17, 1:28am Top

I hate the new system. Then again, I hated the other one too. My eyes are failing, and it's hard for me to discern the items being requested (whether it's cookbooks or Google nonsense). I'll get over it.

11timspalding
Sep 17, 1:35am Top

>11 timspalding:

Sorry. The Google one has an audio option, if you want to try it. We really need it—the bots just keep at it.

12krolik
Sep 17, 1:53am Top

Maybe this isn't the forum for such a question, Tim, but how would bots profit from LT? And who do you think is likely behind their efforts?

13Lyndatrue
Sep 17, 2:13am Top

>11 timspalding: Interesting. Maybe I'll try the audio next time. As I said, though, I'll deal with it. It was just a very long day. No worries, and thanks for pointing the audio out.

14defaults
Sep 17, 2:33am Top

Terrific!

15bnielsen
Sep 17, 3:42am Top

>12 krolik: Apparently they want to spam us all with friends requests and make a few of us click on some links. Since the attack is automated it is very cheap for them to pester us like this.

16konallis
Sep 17, 4:51am Top

The new CAPTCHA doesn't work in my mobile browser (Opera Mini for BlackBerry). The cover images load, but aren't selectable. (As I mentioned in another thread, the Google CAPTCHA doesn't load at all. I haven't been able to log in to LT on my phone since the cookies were wiped.)

17lorax
Sep 17, 8:37am Top

conceptdawg (#9):

When I wrote #4, Tim had not yet edited #1 to make that obvious.

(As an aside, I really, really hate it when people do that, rather than clarifying in a response. It makes the responder who asked what was at the time an entirely reasonable question look like a total idiot, and then later responders treat them as such, like here.)

18lorax
Sep 17, 8:38am Top

bnielsen (#15):

Googlejuice is another possibility. (LT has nofollow turned on, but the spammers don't necessarily know that.)

19timspalding
Sep 17, 1:22pm Top

>17 lorax:

Lorax, I added the clarificaiton with the words "Clarification:" and then the clarification in bold. And then I posted a message with "Added "Clarification: If you stay logged in, you won't get it at all." What on earth could be more clear and explicit than that?!

>16 konallis:

Yipes. It's going to be really hard to support systems with as few users as Opera Mini for BlackBerry. Sending you a message by direct message.

>18 lorax:

It's mostly Googlejuice, I think.

20bnielsen
Sep 17, 2:46pm Top

>18 lorax: and 19> Ah, yes, I forgot that spammers are stupid. (Or rather their bots are).

21aspirit
Sep 17, 2:53pm Top

Thank you for bringing back the the LT robot detector. That's more fun for me than Google's frustrating CAPTCHA. The new robot illustration is a lovely addition, too.

22lorax
Sep 17, 3:41pm Top

Tim (#19)

The clarification is perfectly clear.

It was not clear prior to your edit, which was WHEN I POSTED #4.

Then conceptDawg came along in #9, AFTER YOUR EDIT, and responded to my #4 as though it had been written in the context of #1, in which case I would have been very stupid indeed to not have understood your very clear EDITED post.

23jjwilson61
Sep 17, 3:56pm Top

>19 timspalding: It isn't clear that Clarification: means that you had edited your post after it had already gotten several responses. ETA: is commonly used on this site to mean Edited To Add, but not everyone knows what that means.

24melannen
Sep 17, 5:17pm Top

Thank you for designing for people who have to log in and out a lot! This is much improved.

25the_red_shoes
Sep 18, 1:03am Top

I love the art!

I also really prefer the covers to the horrible horrible picture captcha, and I'm also happy not to be training google AI.

26rretzler
Sep 18, 2:26am Top

Love conceptdawg's art. Great choice of books! 😉

>7 bnielsen: HA-HA-HA.

>1 timspalding: Today when I logged in, the Google captcha was the default and it didn't work. Trying to remember all the way back to this morning, I think nothing actually came up for me to click on. I then clicked on the LT captcha, selected the cookbooks and it worked just fine. I'm on a Windows 10 PC with updated Chrome browser.

27timspalding
Sep 18, 4:22am Top

>26 rretzler:

Some of the non-English LibraryThing's default to the Google Captcha. It has to do with how many local covers we have. Could that be what you're talking about?

28conceptDawg
Sep 18, 4:43pm Top

>16 konallis:
>19 timspalding:
re: Opera Mini
The problem with Opera Mini is that it's not really a browser in the real sense of the word. It adheres to very few web standards and nearly anything and everything breaks it. It's basically just taking screenshots of sites and serving those up to you. Yes, that's hyperbole, but it really is a tough browser to support effectively for any interactive content.

29timspalding
Sep 18, 5:23pm Top

>28 conceptDawg:

I came up with a solution for that user, CH. Talk to me about it if you don't know what I mean.

30konallis
Sep 19, 8:10am Top

>28 conceptDawg: Yes, Opera Mini isn't good at handling anything interactive (including standard web forms). Unfortunately, it's the best thing available for the platform.

31Wordwizardw
Sep 19, 8:58am Top

Why cookbooks of all things? There's lots of scamming done with cookbooks. Why not SF with robots? Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep? / Blade Runner / I, Robot etc. Require the robot to ID robots to prove its humanity.

32paradoxosalpha
Sep 19, 10:29am Top

>31 Wordwizardw:

Having learned the lessons of PKD's parables, I have existential angst every time I check the re-Captcha box. It increases when I fail.

33timspalding
Edited: Sep 19, 11:52am Top

Why cookbooks of all things? There's lots of scamming done with cookbooks. Why not SF with robots? Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep? / Blade Runner / I, Robot etc. Require the robot to ID robots to prove its humanity.

Well, I needed strongly non-overlapping genres. There are some other options, but you can understand why it's not science fiction vs. fantasy, memoir vs. history, science vs. nature, etc.

Also, who doesn't like food?

34ThirdCoaster
Sep 19, 1:21pm Top

That was neat! Certainly more fun than Google stuff.

35bnielsen
Sep 20, 5:09am Top

>33 timspalding: "I needed strongly non-overlapping genres"

I think traffic lights and cookbooks is a good choice :-)

36MrAndrew
Sep 20, 8:37am Top

37EMS_24
Edited: Sep 20, 9:23am Top

>35 bnielsen: you challenged me ;)

_ and not a cover, but cooking related: by:Vicky Barone. exemplary: stop light
Rick Gallop, Joanna Dolgoff

38aspirit
Sep 20, 8:56am Top

>37 EMS_24: Hahaha.... Every two topics intersect eventually.

39bnielsen
Edited: Sep 20, 9:53am Top

and the Glycemic Index by Rick Gallop.
(the covers didn't display here).

I did think of diet books and thought there might be a single book with traffic lights on. So now I challenge you to find books about how to cook and serve real traffic lights :-)

40sgrayme
Sep 20, 10:11pm Top

Tried to use the plain reCaptcha, so I wouldn't have to squint at covers to decide which was actually food related and which might just have a metaphorical title, but I was told I had incorrectly submitted form. "Not quite right. Be sure to check the reCaptcha and answer all questions." I don't have my browser blocking scripts on this site (even checked with second browser), so it seems the form is still expecting a picture selection with the "traditional" option.

41timspalding
Sep 21, 12:50am Top

>40 sgrayme:

The reCaptcha system often requires you to identify some image--usually pick out the cars, traffic lights or whatever in a street scene.

covers to decide which was actually food related and which might just have a metaphorical title

FWIW, we're currently allowing one error per page. The success rate is very very high.

42sgrayme
Sep 21, 2:02am Top

The regular (non-custom) recaptcha only presented me with the "I'm not a robot" checkbox, not the image grid.

Regarding the covers, I was only stating my reason for preferring a simpler captcha (the one-click checkbox) to log in, not implying anything is wrong with doing something more thematic to the site. It is human nature to choose the easier path when the alternative doesn't make a difference on the end result. :)

43timspalding
Sep 21, 2:14am Top

The regular (non-custom) recaptcha only presented me with the "I'm not a robot" checkbox, not the image grid.

Right. Sometimes, if it's not so sure, it'll give you an image grid. That's the problem with the one-click checkbox—if Google doesn't like the smell of you, your browser or your IP, you're labelling crosswalks in Hell :)

44libraian
Edited: Sep 21, 2:34am Top

>1 timspalding: I love him! And it's even better that he belongs to LT.

ETA: the book-reading robot

>41 timspalding: Ah! I did miss one when I was signing in to my son's account but I had already messed up the password. However, the captcha let me through but I just had to re-enter the password (without having to redo the captcha after that).

Liking the cookbooks; they're nice and big and easy to see. As well as being book-related. My only problem is that my track pad seems to be sticking - but that's a personal issue.

45dudes22
Sep 21, 12:47pm Top

>1 timspalding: - Back in post #1 it said that the recaptcha should only show up about once a month. But I'm getting it every time I sign in. Is that in the future?

46jjwilson61
Sep 21, 12:52pm Top

>45 dudes22: Do you have your browser set to discard cookies when you close a session?

47timspalding
Sep 21, 1:22pm Top

>45 dudes22:

Chances are you have your browser set to clear all cookies whenever you close the browser or session. If so, you will get it every time. We rely on a persistent session cookie to remember which users you have used to log into in the last 30 days.

48dudes22
Sep 21, 4:08pm Top

ok - that explains it. DUH!

49WeeTurtle
Sep 24, 12:02am Top

I like this guy over the regular google one, which must think I'm 25% robot by now. My main gripe was having to do it every time I logged in when it first appeared, and me constantly forgetting to hit the box as part of the login routine. I'd have to log in two or three times because I would forget about it.

I usually log out of sites as a security habit. I haven't had to redo the robot thing since a few days prior to the treasure hunt.

50Kanst
Sep 24, 9:18pm Top

I like the little guy! Definitely more entertaining than checking endless boxes with a piece of a fire hydrant in it. I'll probably get to see him plenty, as I often log in from work and our cookies get wiped regularly. It's a shame that LT, of all places, is getting hit so hard by bots these days.

Also, now I really want to bake traffic light brownies!

51CtrSacredSciences
Sep 26, 11:31am Top

Love. Thanks!

52VicRML
Sep 27, 12:07am Top

This is such a good idea, Tim. Attractive, booky and tempting with the promise of good food - plus bot-proof. Thanks!

53njcur
Sep 30, 4:38pm Top

I totally love this!!! It makes me smile each time I logon. (which is daily!!) Keep up the great work. Thank you very much!!

54birder4106
Oct 1, 3:58am Top

>timspalding
>conceptDawg

I would like to translate the whole "robot-thing" into german. But in the translate page, can not find the yellow marked phrases in my librarything.de pages.
BTW: This occurs also on many other occasions.

Who can I find ALL not in german (or other languages) translated phrases?

Thank you

56birder4106
Oct 1, 5:34am Top

57Moloch
Oct 3, 4:05am Top

Hello, how often will we see this page? Every time we log in?

If I log out and log back in the next day, do I get the check?

59DeanieG
Oct 5, 10:27am Top

Thanks for looking out for LT'ers!!

60KatyBee
Oct 5, 11:11am Top

Having experienced this for a couple weeks (and being a big science fiction fan to boot), I really like your new 'Are you a robot?' system. Kudos and thank you! It's a lot easier and occasionally makes me smile at the random selections :)

61paradoxosalpha
Oct 5, 12:06pm Top

I haven't yet been confronted with this task, but I love that we're now training LT's AI rather than Alphabet's.

62JuliaFrench
Oct 5, 4:14pm Top

I like it!

63khedron
Oct 9, 11:16am Top

Best CAPTCHA ever, I love it.

64timspalding
Oct 9, 12:37pm Top

I haven't yet been confronted with this task, but I love that we're now training LT's AI rather than Alphabet's.

Ha. No AI involved. Just books and genres.

Then again, now that everything is AI, indeed, it's AI. Big-data AI. Machine learning AI. Strong AI!

65AndreasJ
Oct 10, 6:40am Top

>65 AndreasJ:

World domination through superior recognition of cookbooks?

66Ann_Louise
Oct 10, 7:03am Top

I'm not bothered by that as much as whatever setting I changed on my PC that doesn't save our password for LT.

67AntonioGallo
Oct 10, 7:23am Top

I like the idea of a robot reading books. There's a risk for him to become a ... Human!

68davidgn
Edited: Oct 10, 7:29am Top

>65 AndreasJ: Perhaps world domination through meal preparation?

69aspirit
Oct 10, 2:04pm Top

We already have robots preparing our meals and AI reading (as well as writing) books. Just as a fun reminder.

A note that's not as much fun, perhaps: Parts of book covers were cut off in the LT robot check for me today. On the worst if the batch, I could see the center of the cover but not all the edges, which mean the cover art, title, and author name were only partially visible.

70timspalding
Oct 11, 10:56am Top

>69 aspirit:

Yeah, sorry. On the plus side, you can get it wrong multiple times and indeed you don't need to get them all correct at any time.

71aspirit
Oct 11, 2:44pm Top

>70 timspalding: true. I didn't have any trouble entering the site despite maybe missing a cookbook. Your robot check is much, much nicer than Google's.

72the_red_shoes
Oct 11, 7:50pm Top

Yeah, Google regularly zings me with "haha you didn't see the CORNER of the crosswalk in THIS square," or makes me do two or three in a row. I'm pretty happy with knowing that if I see "Beans of the World" on a book cover with a photo of food or a kitchen or plants or whatever, I can probably click in confidence.

73Albertos
Oct 12, 3:40pm Top

Love it! Thanks

74GuyMontag
Oct 18, 12:19am Top

Idea: Combine two new features...

"Which of these covers contain Explicit Images?"

75timspalding
Oct 18, 1:11am Top

>74 GuyMontag:

Cookbook or Japanese Porn?

76bnielsen
Oct 18, 7:57am Top

Reminds me of the old joke about cookbooks being sold in Poland as science-fiction :-)

77uoshah
Yesterday, 8:39am Top

timspalding I like the new capthca. Could you give some context to the decision to make lifetime members fill it out? Are some lifetime members also engaging in undesirable attacks on the LT infrastructure?

78PawsforThought
Yesterday, 11:36am Top

>77 uoshah: Anyone's account can be hacked; it doesn't matter if you're a lifetime member or not. This isn't just a matter of bots making new accounts, they're hacking into real members' accounts.

79timspalding
Yesterday, 12:39pm Top

>77 uoshah:

Right. We had hackers going through a giant database of old stolen credentials, trying their username/password combinations on LibraryThing. Something like a percent worked. We had been defending against such attacks by penalizing too many hits by IP address, or region, but the attackers in this case were willing to slow down their attack over weeks, and had many thousands of machines all around the world, presumably from a zombie bot-net. The Captcha cut this off completely.

80ulmannc
Yesterday, 1:33pm Top

>79 timspalding: and the rest of the LT staff. You have the patience of Job to attempt to stay on top of our "friends" who force you spend time and effort on stopping this. My thanks.

81LadyoftheLodge
Yesterday, 4:12pm Top

>79 timspalding: Thanks for doing this. I much prefer the cookbooks to the stupid Captcha. As others stated, I often had to do it multiple times because I missed something or the photo was grainy. I never knew if the traffic signals they wanted me to select also included the poles they were on, or just the lights. Maybe I was overthinking it.

82timspalding
Yesterday, 4:17pm Top

>81 LadyoftheLodge:

Yeah, overthinking is the killer.

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