This morning, before a nine-hour power cut, I had problems posting an answer.

My gripes are two:

1) I am a human, with a reputation of nearby 500 after about a week. I am highly literate, and cannot for the life of me see how any software can suspect me of being a bot. The post in question, prior to a slight edit, can be seen in the thread about politicians and calumniation.

2) Even worse is that the program refused to GIVE me a captcha to solve. I got a box with the dumb message that somebody can't tell me from a bot, plus a link to the Wikipedia page on what a captcha is, plus a Tenniel illustration from "Alice". That's it, end of story. NO CAPTCHA TO SOLVE "below". Now please explain to me how a human can prove his biological nature by solving a captcha that he cannot see.

If this happens again, I shall go back where I came from and never darken your door again.

1 Answer 1


Captcha is entirely automatic and doesn't have anything to do with your rep or account — I've seen it myself recently, and even had the checkbox method fail and had to enter a number.

The captcha is displayed if something is up with your connection [eg, unexpectedly changed IP address]. The captcha box is provided by an external API, and if that fails for some reason it's possible that it won't display.

There are some issues with HTTPS and captchas, and if you're using something like HTTPS Everywhere then it's quite likely to cause problems.

Your profile shows that you are "currently in Cameroun", and given the problems there appear to be with infrastructure, it's possible that whatever caused the captcha to be triggered also prevented it from being displayed. It really is nothing personal. Sometimes technology Just Doesn't Work™, and there can be so many different potential points of failure that it's not possible to diagnose — even with complete information.

  • True, my connection seemed sluggish just previously. What they call broadband here acts more like Nineties diallup.
    – David Pugh
    Apr 25, 2015 at 20:41
  • It would not let me edit my own comment. Was going to add that I have no idea what HTTPS is, and am not on a mobile, nor have I changed IP. The fact that I finally go through by excising two cultural references indicates to me an algorithm unsuited to this site. We do cultural references here, Algorithm-san, so suck it down.
    – David Pugh
    Apr 25, 2015 at 20:52
  • There is very little to go on. Your internet service provider can change your IP address at any time, usually without ill effect, although it can upset sites like Stack Exchange which track IP addresses. There is very very little content filtering and that is unlikely to be the problem (eg we suppress the "English" tag and now block Korean text after a spam episode).
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Apr 25, 2015 at 20:56
  • if it's not aggressive content filtering, then, I shall let you live.... Next week I hope to be back in Europe, thus with better connections (Swiss hotels).
    – David Pugh
    Apr 26, 2015 at 9:25

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