Forum registration the safe way



  • An attentive reader may spot a WTF on this german gothic board: http://www.anderswelt-forum-kassel.de/

    On the right-hand side you can find the registrations-rules (Anmelderegeln!).

    Um sich in diesem Forum als User anmelden zu können, ist es von nöten,
    sich durch ein Foto an die E-mail Adresse der Administration zu
    zertifizieren.(zu sehen muss sein: Dein Gesicht mit handgeschriebenen
    Mitgliedsnamen auf Papier)
    Dieses Foto wird NICHT veröffentlicht und dient lediglich dazu
    Fakeaccounts zu unterbinden.

    roughly translated:

    In order to be able to sign up for the forum it is necessary to email a photograph to the administration. (Following has to be visible: Your face and your handwritten username on a paper) This photograph will NOT be published and is merely used to prevent fake-accounts.
     

    Not only is it written in bad german, it also reminds me of a picture showing a wooden table for some strange reason... hm, I wonder why.



  • If the forum's for goths, they probably think members need to prove their gothness.  That or it's just a poor man's captcha.



  • Or the admin likes to have lots of pictures of all the goth girls.



  • well could you really blame them?



  • Well, this requirement really makes it a bit harder to create dozens of fake accounts. Without the paper, you could just send random photos of someone else found on flickr.



  • @ammoQ said:

    Well, this requirement really makes it a bit harder to create dozens of fake accounts.
    Yes, it's probably quite an effective anti-trolling mechanism.

    Unfortunately, like all effective anti-trolling mechanisms, it's also a very effective anti-participation mechanism. They may not get many trolls, but they will also be missing out on a significant number of genuine would-be participants who would have real contributions to make to the community, but refuse to jump through hoops like that just to join one web forum.

    So the only vaguely WTF-like thing about this is that they seem to have taken CAPTCHA measures well beyond what most people would think reasonable.



  • It's also as problematic as verifying your identity by sending somebody a fax of your drivers license.  If more sites start employing this model, the admins will have stockpiles of fake identities to use at other sites.

    So to curb that, each site will have to have its own unique thing for you to do in the picture, like put a potato on your head or something.
     



  • Am I the only one who figured out that photoshop can add a piece of paper to a photo?

    If you are good, you can probably even attach an arm to the paper 



  • I know, it would be fun to write a bot for just this forum which takes one out of maybe 20 different pictures of people and changes the lighting/contrast randomly then edits in a piece of paper with the username written in some handwriting font.



  • @henke37 said:

    Am I the only one who figured out that photoshop can add a piece of paper to a photo?

    If you are good, you can probably even attach an arm to the paper 

    The number of people who are good enough to produce a convincing photo is quite small - it's not easy. Computer vision techniques are not yet developed to the point where this process can be effectively automated (unlike most so-called captchas, which are well within our current ability to solve in software).



  • What about taking one of those myriad photos with a sheet of paper being held up, erasing the paper with Photoshop and programmatically adding names? That could be pretty convincing.

    I've seen ads for dating sites that do something like that: they IP geolocate you and insert the name of your town onto the paper. It's convincing.



  • @henke37 said:

    Am I the only one who figured out that photoshop can add a piece of paper to a photo?

    If you are good, you can probably even attach an arm to the paper 

    Quite a lot of work if you want many accounts. 



  • Also, I think 15 arms would reduce the credibility of your photo.



  • It's also quite possible they're doing it as a form of age verification.  A lot of goth community boards deal with adult subject matter and it's not difficult for kids and teens to just say "I'm over X years old" when they sign up.  I've seen at least two harassment cases where it started off with a teen signing up to a message board that contained mainly adults and as a result, the messge boards (which were open age anyway) wound up being very stringent on age of majority after that.

     That being said, it's still a lot of stupid hoops to jump through.  A message board that required that kind of verification would have to be really spanking if I was going to sign up to it and go through all that kafuffle.

     -- Seejay



  • @Iago said:

    Unfortunately, like all effective anti-trolling mechanisms, it's also a very effective anti-participation mechanism. They may not get many trolls, but they will also be missing out on a significant number of genuine would-be participants who would have real contributions to make to the community, but refuse to jump through hoops like that just to join one web forum.

    You don't know many goths, do you? That's probably the whole point of the thing in the first place 😉



  • @asuffield said:

    @henke37 said:

    Am I the only one who figured out that photoshop can add a piece of paper to a photo?

    If you are good, you can probably even attach an arm to the paper 

    The number of people who are good enough to produce a convincing photo is quite small - it's not easy. Computer vision techniques are not yet developed to the point where this process can be effectively automated (unlike most so-called captchas, which are well within our current ability to solve in software).

    For certain definitions of "quite small."  There are entire websites devoted to just this sort of photomanipulation.  Fark has photoshop contests regularly, and one of the more common types of entry is the good ol' head swap. Convincing?  Sometimes very, sometimes not at all.  But, no, I don't think you can completely automate it, either.  it does take a fair amount of skill to pull off.  The pool of people who have both the skill and the inclination is certainly "quite small."


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