Back in 2012 when China first blocked all Google services, thereby preventing non-VPN users from proving their non-roboticness, someone quickly opened this thread on Meta:

Human verification page not loading in China

The consensus at the time was "we can't think of a better way of doing things".

Well, 3 years have passed and China is showing no signs of unbanning Google. Meanwhile, CAPTCHA technology has evolved. Can the SE admins please revisit this situation? People in China without a VPN are completely unable to prove they are not bots. I couldn't even search for the phrase "pgp" on Security.SE without hitting the human verification barrier. Blocking questions is one thing, but searches also? I think that's too strict.

(yes, I wrote this with my VPN)

  • Are there any possible suggestions as what can be done ? Coz this is purely political than technical issue. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 11:21

2 Answers 2


China breaking the internet is their problem, not Stack Exchange's. Of course this is unfair to the people in China that don't have anything to say about this, but SE shouldn't have to work around whatever censorship some country, company or any other institution decides to implement.

That said, the Captcha is just a really annoying and mostly useless feature and SE should just eliminate it completely for established users. Users that have a reasonable amount of activity on SE shouldn't ever see the Captcha. Requiring captchas even for high reputation users doesn't solve any real problem, it just annoys users. A high-rep user abusing the system in any way risks far more than a completely new user. And there are still many rate limits that will limit the harm any user can do, captchas don't add any value here.

The captchas are probably necessary for completely new users, there is just too much potential for abuse. Hard rate limits without the option of solving a captcha would probably be even worse than the captchas.

  • 1
    Even in the situation where this high rep user leaves a computer with the SE account left open, and a subsequent user abuses this, the captcha is unnecessary - other SE spam measures will probably punish the high rep user, and he will think twice about leaving his account open.
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 12:01
  • 2
    China is to blame for blocking Google, yes, but SE decides whether or not to implement Captcha (versus an alternative approach) and the extent to which it is deployed. Currently approximately 25% of the world's population of internet users cannot even search on SE.
    – Drew
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 8:00

With CAPTCHAs circumstanced, PRC people still won't be able to post or to vote on Stack Exchanges because ajax.googleapis.com is also blocked.

  • 1
    They could at least search the material. That shouldn't require ajax support. It's tedious because you must wait for the http request to time-out, but that's certainly better than nothing.
    – Drew
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 7:54
  • 1
    ajax.googleapis.com issue could be circumvented by providing a fallback URL to load jQuery. But Jeff Atwood said no because he did not acknowledge it as a prevalent problem.
    – Cœur
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 12:14

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