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Is there a Captcha FAQ which explains why it's used when you're logged in? I understand, in general, they are used to stop comment spam bots but when you're logged in, it seems there are other considerations? Like slowing down users?

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The exact implementation details of the spam counter-measures are not public. For very obvious reasons. Asking for details is not appropriate. – Uphill Luge Aug 29 '10 at 19:33

The only purpose is to stop bots; there's normal rate limiting used to stop you from manually doing things too fast. For example, if you vote on comments too fast you'll get:

You may only submit a comment vote every 5 seconds.

You won't get a captcha for that; it just tracks when you last submitted a vote and stops you completely from submitting another one too fast

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I edited a question twice in a short time and got a captcha. If the site thinks I am a bot, I, as a bot developer, would be smarter than that and delay the actions and randomize the delays. – Tony_Henrich Aug 29 '10 at 21:36
@Tony Thus slowing down the bot -- sounds like a win for everyone. The goal is to prevent bots from causing mass destruction before a mod notices and stops them – Michael Mrozek Aug 29 '10 at 22:26
@Tony: We have complained before about the captcha, no interest in improving the edit timer. – Brian Aug 29 '10 at 23:27
@Changeling Whether or not the catpcha timer is right is a totally separate issue, and I agree that it's too short, I used to hit it all the time – Michael Mrozek Aug 30 '10 at 1:17
It's a related issue. – Brian Aug 30 '10 at 12:59

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