I wonder how it is possible that Stack Overflow is still asking me to solve an unreadable CAPTCHA before I can post a question when I have more than five accounts on Stack Exchange, and I have more than 500 reputation on Stack Overflow.

  • 1
    I wonder what triggers captcha in your case. In mine it's when it takes me more than 10-15 minutes in pressing submit
    – OscarRyz
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 16:53
  • 4
    Probably for +100k :)
    – OscarRyz
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 16:53
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    Does the reputation matter if your account is compromised?
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 17:08
  • 2
    I feel bad for you -- thus proving that I am a human -- but +1 to Arjan.
    – Pops
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 18:01
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    There's gonna be a captcha for as long as the true nature of Jon Skeet is undetermined. It could be a while.
    – MPelletier
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 19:14
  • 1
    Please don't smash your monitor, it is costly and may be a sign of some sort of illness. My new monitor now has 2 stuck pixels. Stuck pixels make me sad.
    – going
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 0:51
  • 11
    Actually, Jeff keeps the captcha around because he's afraid he's going to miss the singularity event, and he hopes that once programmers start transferring their minds to machines he'll be able to detect it and get in on it early. Unfortunately most people agree the top 0.01% of stackoverflow have already reached that point, and the captcha isn't working. Jeff is worried.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 21:20
  • A likely argument for a robot to make.
    – user149432
    Commented Mar 6, 2011 at 9:49

5 Answers 5


You shouldn't be seeing so many captchas, and if you are, something is wrong.

  • Are you disabling or interfering with JavaScript? Any add-ins that would be interfering with JavaScript? Can you try your browser in safe mode (all defaults)?

  • Can you try in another web browser?

  • Does the user's question/answer ratio matter? (This user has 73 questions, 29 answers, just 4 net-upvotes for the answers.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 10:16
  • @arjan no that does not matter Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 18:36
  • 1
    For what its worth, I get CAPTCHA often. I just assumed it was because sometimes after insane amounts of caffeine I go on a SO binge and rapidly vote/reply/edit. No complaints here though. I understand that our nearly spam-free community comes at a slight inconvenience once in a while.
    – Brad
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 14:30

I'll take my downvotes stoically, but couldn't resist:

enter image description here

  • 41
    It's pretty hard to get downvotes on Meta for posting a cartoon; even harder if it's Dilbert :)
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 18:49

To quote Pollyanna:

Nice try, robot.

  • 1
    Thanks for the attribution, but according to google I wasn't the first to come up with that joke.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 21:15
  • @Polly ah, good work! I, too, thought the original was made in response to Evan.
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 21:23
  • Poor robotic Evan. He never did fit in, though it almost appears as though he attempted to appear as though he was almost trying to fit in. But, you know. Robots leave oil spots on the carpet, and I'm afraid that I'm a robotophobe.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 21:29
  • 1
    There, I've linked mine to the original. Now people can click from here to there, then to the original. The next time a captcha question comes up, we'll add to the chain. Eventually it will be long enough to go around the world!
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 21:39

Okay, since you want a real answer and Arjan's comment wasn't good enough for you:

I see why you feel the way you do, but capping CAPTCHAs based on rep — or any other permanent solution — isn't the way to go. In theory, your account could be compromised and hooked up to a bot at any time. There are some limits, though. According to Jeff:

Some reductions in CAPTCHA throttle thresholds, if you have > 10k rep:

  • for edits — reduced by two-thirds
  • for post submission times — minimum seconds halved, maximum minutes doubled

CAPTCHAs are good for five minutes for logged-in users with ≥ 200 rep.

  • @Yes While it might not happen to you, it might happen to others. Just 5 compromised accounts is enough to spam the site for a while, which just because of probability is bound to happen
    – TheLQ
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 2:41
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    @yes123 The chances that it happens to you are almost nonexistant. However, according to the birthday problem (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem), there is a wild, wild possibility that it will happen to someone.
    – zneak
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 4:20
  • 1
    @zneak: you do not understand the birthday paradox AT ALL! Commented Mar 6, 2011 at 4:09
  • @Mariano Suárez-Alvarez As I understand it, the birthday paradox says that the chances of collisions between properties of any two entries of a set are stupid high, even though the chances of collisions of one precise element with any other one are fairly low.
    – zneak
    Commented Mar 6, 2011 at 6:18

I'll play devil's advocate here:

The idea that you should be seeing fewer captchas because you have higher rep is backwards. All that means is that there was a human behind the account at some point in the past. However, it proves nothing about the present. Your higher-rep account has more privilege, and therefore has a higher value to spammers. Even if you don't have more privileges (say, accounts past 20K), you have more credibility. If it's compromised, a spammer can do more with your account, and so it's precisely because of this rep that if anything we need to be more protective of these accounts.

  • 1
    Has a high reputation account ever been compromised?
    – user50049
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 4:21
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    Unless you count RichB, I don't know ;) - I'm just playing devil's advocate Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 4:59
  • @Tim, even Jeff's account once got compromised. (Now wondering if Jeff gets to see the captchas too!)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 10:11
  • It's not just about spamming, but about scripted vandalism too.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 10:24
  • @Arjan And Vandals Scripting Spam, and Spammers Vandalizing Scripts Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 21:45
  • When RichB touches a keyboard, the machine to which that keyboard is attached, has to be regarded as compromised.
    – markus
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 14:37

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