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Once in a while if I make several consequent edits to a post on SE sites I encounter captcha. This never happens to me on Stack Overflow, although I use the same Open ID on each SE site and behave mostly the same way except that most of my activity is concentrated on SO.

To me it looks like captcha tracks my activity on SO and thinks that "it's allright, that user does such thing once in a while, no need to confirm he's not a robot", but captcha on other sites doesn't know about my usage patterns.

Guess what? All SE universe sites are equal to me - I will answer a question on SO and then go ask a question on DIY SE. To me separate sites are like separate directories on the same hard drive each storing certain kind of content.

It would be very good to have captcha that would identify valid user patterns universe-wise, not per each site.

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Whether you get a Captcha or not depends on your reputation on that specific site. I take your point about it being annoying when you're on a lower rep site, but you aren't as trusted on that site as you are on SO (say). – ChrisF Nov 19 '10 at 12:02
@ChrisF, given that the primary purpose of Captcha (AFAIK) is to prevent people setting up spam accounts, would it make sense to say that trust earned on one site should (in this one regard) carry over to others? – aaronasterling Nov 19 '10 at 12:14
@arronasterling - probably. I'm just reiterating how the Captcha works. – ChrisF Nov 19 '10 at 12:16
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This seems like a good idea in general with one provision: There needs to be a way to prevent somebody with high rep on one sight taking advantage of it to have a bot spam another site. I think that the solution is simple. If a user gets caught running a bot (or more to the point1 ,repeated posts get deleted as spam) on any site, the user gets auto-banned on all other sites. The amount of posts that would need to be deleted and the length of the ban would have to be determined but I don't think that the punishment is too harsh.

Another alternative would be that the -100 associated with having a post deleted as spam also applies to the account from which the right too skip Captcha originated.

1 Honestly, I don't really care if someone runs a bot. If they can write a bot that can either ask intelligent questions or provide intelligent answers, then they deserve all the rep that it can accrue so far as I'm concerned and probably a Turing prize as well. See xkcd on the issue. If it doesn't do either of those two things, then that's the problem. Being a bot has nothing to do with it (other than correlation. I'm not in the mood to find the xkcd on that but it's a good one too).

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Honestly I can't imagine a reason a person would participate in one site actively and have a spam bot on another. Maybe I just miss some obvious motivation explanation. – sharptooth Nov 19 '10 at 12:46
@sharptooth, I pretty much agree. I'm just sort of playing devils advocate. I just got 10K on SO and it wasn't that hard spread out over a few months. If I was evil, and your plan went through, I could now proceed to make some minor spending cash spamming super user. I'm pretty much in favor of the idea. – aaronasterling Nov 19 '10 at 13:19

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