IQcaptcha enters beta

by ballerburg90051 min read6th Apr 202113 comments


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IQcaptcha tests against IQ with Raven's progressive matrices and high school calculus. Protect your community from stupid people.

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This is occupying a weird place half-way between satire, and a real thing that could be useful. As a piece of mildly offensive satire, it works as-is; as a thing that could go on a real website, it doesn't.

On one hand: enforcing high standards can make for much better spaces, and impartial standards are great. There are some kinds of forums where requiring new users to solve a tricky math problem would be really good. There's a real, major problem with people entering and dragging down conversations that require knowledge they don't have, and flooding what could otherwise have been intellectual spaces with petty drama.

On the other hand, the way this is framed and presented seems unnecessarily alienating. It sets a high bar, while seeming to pretend that it's a low bar. It starts with a checkbox labelled "I'm not stupid", then asks a question which the majority of people won't be able to solve. If the label was more straightforward about where it was setting the bar, in a way that was respectful to the people it turned away (while still turning them away), I think this could be used on real sites.

The tweet example indicated as “blocked” also points way past “offensive satire” to me; the description of “I can't use this shampoo” is charitably read as pointing toward a real difference in hair-care needs which isn't being covered by a business, plus some vent-driven/antagonistic emotional content. That's not “unintelligent”, that's more like “exhibiting conflict or cultural markers in a way that makes you uncomfortable”, and it aligns with culture war in an alarming way. (Of course, there can exist sites where posting such things is off-topic or otherwise outside the norm, but displaying it as connected to the ostensible purpose reads as trying to sneak in a wild claim, and the choice of example is bizarre to begin with.)

I notice that ‘ballerburg9005’ only joined today and this is their only post. My probability that this is being posted in good faith is quite low given the above. I have strong-downvoted the post.

To be honest, I couldn't find any good post to set as a bad example.

The stupidest things I have ever read were from medical studies and on Researchgate. But I realized that this is only so because the bar was set high. The problem is that you can only really be stupid if you understand a particular thing or situation poorly, while still trying to rank yourself as an equal or above others.

If there is no particular challenge to meet, e.g. how to wash your hair, anything said really can be interpreted to have some kind of value to someone else. Even if it only concerns marginal details in the immediate personal sphere, that only fit into mindless consumerist culture, that could easily be solved by taking a more economic and sensible approach.

I will probably eventually replace this with broscience. But it is not easy to find something that is well understood by everyone. 

just pull something (and quickly) from the Flat Earth Society;

is a prime example

What about the new quote?

Funny, but I think it would be funnier if it were less unsubtly rude. The concept is already inherently edgy enough that adding extra insults is like putting frosting on ice cream.

I very much agree with the premise, if taken literally rather than as satire. Communities that refuse to defend their borders eventually get destroyed.

That said, I can take most of the wording in the linked page as humor, but the blocked example was, at best, in bad taste, if not literally racist without context.

If LW did have an Eternal September-like crisis, I'm not sure what we'd do about it. A simple entry test like this seems like an option. But rather than an IQ-captcha, I'd like to see a rationality-captcha. Intelligence is not the same thing as rationality. Clever people tell themselves clever lies.

What do you think of the new quote?

This one's better. Not in such bad taste like the last one. Are you actually finding these on Twitter, or making them up? I feel like better examples exist. This one still feels like it could be more about culture war than intelligence, but maybe that's most of what's stupid on Twitter. Given the snark in the rest of the page a funnier example would fit better. Maybe something so not-even-wrong you want to facepalm.

I wonder about accessibility. If you don't want to protect your website against "stupid... or e.g. blind... people", it would need an alternative non-visual version. Not sure what would be a good non-visual alternative to Raven's matrices.

I would probably err on the side of making it easier for blind users, because... well, anyone who figures out how to abuse this alternative is probably already smart enough.

Blind people actually are a very small minority if it comes to website accessibility. The most accessibility issues stem from other disabilities, such as cognitive impairment. On top of that, a large portion of legally blind people are not truly 100% blind. They can still use websites normally in some way (and prefer to do so), e.g. by gluing their eyes an inch against the screen with a 10x magnification glass.

I don't think there is any good way, or at this point in time necessity or demand for that matter, to express the picture non-visually. You could of course, but I think it would be overly cryptic and disproportionally difficult.

The concept is amusing to me, but I wonder where exactly this would be useful. I agree with Rana Dexsin's comment that it seems less about "intelligence" and more about culture warring.

Aside: That I had to look up what "Eternal September" made me really confront my youth, hah. I do relate with the sadness that comes with your group's culture being diluted, but I think there are better ways to maintain cultural norms in the face of influxes of newcomers than this.

The fact that the author is advertising here is a little flattering, ignoring the fact that I only passed the test after two wrong tries. Oops. (I did the differentiation by hand and I checked that it was correct -- I got the wrong Matrix answer, apparently.)