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I open a few questions in multiple browser tabs from SO and start typing answers or comments and I understandably get hit with the first eCaptcha. OK so SO thinks I might be bot because I am submitting a few entries in a short period of time. I prove I am human. From that point every time I answer or comment, the annoying recaptcha pops up again. I just proved I am human. Stackoverflow needs to remember I am not a bot and not a bot which cracked reCaptcha. I am just a fast typing human! Probably intentionally producing friction to slow me down.

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Go away, robot. –  user27414 Dec 29 '09 at 17:39
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True story: The CAPTCHA system is afraid of Jon Skeet. This is how he answers 5,000 questions simultaneously. –  Scott Anderson Dec 29 '09 at 17:43
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Jon Skeet wrote a CAPTCHA parser. –  user27414 Dec 29 '09 at 17:43
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A CAPTCHA caught Jon Skeet once... ONCE! –  gnostradamus Dec 29 '09 at 18:54
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Not so fast wise guy. We need to make sure. Have you ever injured a human being or, through inaction, allowed a human being to come to harm? –  Randell Dec 30 '09 at 15:45
    
@Randell: "I Robot" proved that your question isn't as definitive as you may think. ;) –  gnostradamus Dec 30 '09 at 16:51

1 Answer 1

The problem with your I-proved-I'm-human suggestion is that when a human solves one reCAPTCHA, they have free run of the system.

CHAPTCHAs are designed to verify and throttle suspicious activity. If you're getting reCAPTCHA'd that often, you can understand why that might be considered outside the normal use-case for the system.

If a single, human-solved CAPTCHA proves that someone is human from then on, it would open the system to a torrent of automated spam posts from that user. ReCAPTCHA simply slows down that process, making it not worth the effort for the spammer. It's a minor inconvenience under "normal use."

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So how does that work? You bring up a browser and solve your first captcha as a human and then fire off your well configured bot pretending to be the same browser? I see how this works. –  Tony_Henrich Dec 29 '09 at 19:54
    
Sure. Even with a simple macro recorder using a browser, I could post a few hundred "buy my Viagra" ads an hour... if it wasn't for the Captchas. But that's low tech compared to -- as you call it -- a well configured bot. –  Robert Cartaino Dec 29 '09 at 20:07
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... and Captcha throttling isn't just for well configured bots. It also keeps the random neanderthal from going into a thread and filling the screen with "asdf"... "asdf"... "asdf"... comments and answers all over the place just because they can. –  Robert Cartaino Dec 29 '09 at 20:10
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And don't forget we've actually seen someone spamming in exactly that way: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/02/new-question-answer-rate-limits –  me_and Dec 30 '09 at 13:07

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