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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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OK, this is annoying


Basel Gill

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I decided to register for a Westeros forum account and maybe post my take on the first book in SoIaF. Right away, I discovered that whoever designed their registration page seems to be a moron. They ask the standard questions: what username do you want, what password do you want, what's your email, type in this text to prove you are a human, etc. And, like many websites, they have a challenge question which you can use if you ever need to log in and forget your password. Problem is, the challenge question, no matter how many times I reset the form, was always a trivia question asking some bit of info from the SoIaF novels. Now, this is totally idiotic in two different ways:

 

A. It obviously never truly sank in for whoever created this section of the Westeros website that there will be folks interested in joining the community who aren't already intimately familiar with the entire world of George R. R. Martin. This is even more likely now that the HBO series is nearly upon us. Expecting anyone who wants to register to know some piece of info from the novels just creates a bias toward those who know the GRRM world. While Westeros has made an attempt to be welcoming by creating spoiler-free sections specific to each novel for those who are reading for the first time, no one seems to have realized that anyone reading for the first time won't know how to answer SoIaF-based questions.

 

2. Looking past the fact that this is going to keep SoIaF newbs from making an account, this is also just plain sloppy from a security viewpoint. Let's review the purpose behind a challenge question in the first place. When you can't recall your password for a website, the site asks a question with an answer that is specific to you, to prove you are you and not some hacker trying to access another person's account. Typical examples include what street you grew up on, your mothers maiden name, or the name of your first school. How secure should I feel knowing that my challenge question is limited to something that anyone can find out with a couple of minutes on Google? These questions I was presented with were not personal; they were from the series. That means that if a hacker has read the books, or has a search engine handy, it shouldn't be too hard to gain access to anyone's Westeros account.

 

On a side note, from the lurking I've been able to do on Westeros as an unregistered forum guest, the subforums for people still reading the books for the first time look pretty empty. I know the creation date for these areas is less than a week ago, but I wonder if they are empty because the people these sections are meant for can't get on the site! :angry::rolleyes:

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Woooh, a rant just feels good sometimes. I already got a reply back from the site admins, and the challenge question is just for registration, not for accessing a specific account. That's a good sign. Whoever "Elio" is, but did admit the system was likely counter-productive to their attempt to welcome people just finding the series and that I had a fair point. Now that I've cooled down some, I'm going to take my own advice, and google the challenge answer. It sounds like it might be something straightforward and easy to find online.

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Yeah the challenge questions are pretty simple to find. Elio, I believe, is Ran and the owner (Or is that Linda?) of the site.

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