Greetings! I have an idea for the Preventative Action for Bots (and Spammers) in Foldit Forums

Case number:845818-2009464
Topic:Game: Social
Opened by:donuts554
Opened on:Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 20:27
Last modified:Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 19:45

Recently, two bots appear to be advertising their URL at this Foldit forum about an experiment proposal.
The url is .
The name of the first bot is a URL that leads to a Swedish cosmetic website.
The name of the second bot is also a URL that appears to be from a Belgium motor website, but is actually Swedish.
That is the reason why I chose not to say the names of the bots.


Bots and spammers are both discouraged in the Foldit forums and feedbacks.
They are not permitted in the Foldit Community Rules.
I have developed a simple way to resolve this problem once it has been implemented by the developers.

The inspiration for my idea is also a solution to the same problem that has already been developed and tested and implemented by game developers in a well-known game.
In that well-known game, before the solution was developed at the time, the same problem had happened, but it was way worse than what had happened in Foldit. When the solution was implemented, both bots & human spammers were all stopped in the forums. This made many of the players feel a lot better.

I choose not to say the name of the game at first because I do not play it as often, and that I do not want to be associated with it. I also do not want Foldit players to play the game from here. I am not intending to advertise this game. For more details about this game please reply to this message ASAP or send a private message.

But, the game is strikingly a little similar to Foldit, but not related to science at all.

It has:

  • badges
  • points
  • players
  • groups
  • many different games to play in it
  • own FANDOM wiki
  • contests
  • blog
  • game categories
  • submit feedback button where you can submit feedback
  • games that use Lua scripting; you have to know Lua in order to have GUIs in your game
  • catalog where players share avatar clothing, game parts, Lua scripts, GUIs, & IDs for songs to play, just like sharing Recipes in Foldit

Because of these similarities, I believe that this solution can be implemented in Foldit fairly conveniently.

My Solution

The solution for this problem is to have a dialog box that pops-up, sorta like a Google Captcha but without using it. I do not know exactly how it works, but I have encountered the feature in the past and I will explain it to you from a fellow game player's perspective.

In abstract
What the dialog box is supposed to do to a human is that it has you rotate a random black and white image by two button so that it is the right way up, by clicking counterclockwise button and clockwise button, which rotate the image. It appears to check whether the image is the right way up, and then submits your post once you have followed the directions correctly in an amount of time.

In detail

Once I type what I want to type in the forum, and press the "Post" button (like a Save button in Foldit), the background is instantly grayed out a little and a white dialog box pops up, with a "x" button on the top right corner that when clicked, immediately deletes the post.

In order to properly submit your post, you have to follow the directions on the dialog box.
First it shows a turning hexagon icon and it says "Working...." below the icon in gray text.
Then there is a slightly distorted "Verification" image resembling the original CAPTCHA software. Below that icon says "Please solve this challenge so we know you are a real person" in gray bold text. Below the gray text is a green button that has the word "Verify" in white bold text.

The Active Verification Part

Once the "Verify" button has been clicked, in the center of the dialog box, a circle pops up, with a random icon inside, rotated to a random direction. Above the icon, there are directions, saying, "Touch the arrows" then in a new line, "to roll the ball".

(The arrows in this case are referring to the two buttons that rotate the image clockwise and counterclockwise.)
The clockwise button is on the left side of the icon.
The counterclockwise button is one the right side of the icon.
As the player rotates the image, the previous directions fade out and then then a new direction fades in, saying "When the image", new line, "is the correct way up", new line, "touch Done!".
Once the player has rotated the centered icon so that it is the right side up, the player then proceeds to click the green button directly below the icon that says "Done".

Then shortly, a centered icon with two-three checkboxes with a star icon to the right of them pops up, with the first checkbox already checked. With the checkmark fading in. Below that it says the amount of time that it took to rotate the image, for example, "1.7 seconds".

Then The Active Verification Part is repeated again, so that all of the checkboxes become checked, each time the next checkbox is shown to be checked, with the check mark fading in each time.

After the Active Verification Part

After all of the checkmarks have been checked, all two-three icons show up, overlapping each other, with a number of star icons centered in the pop-up. I do not know how the number of the star icons are calculated. The star icons are arranged just like the black squares are arranged in a checkerboard or a chessboard.

Below the group of stars, it shows a bold text, saying either "Good" or "Great", and below that, the total number of seconds taken to complete all two-three rounds or turning the image the right way up, for example, "6.3 seconds".

Then the small pop-up automatically closes and then the forum post is posted.
That is how the verification pop-up works from my point of view. No sounds are played at all during the pop-up. I have not seen this in other languages, but this can be implemented later in Foldit.

I also have the URL for a Reddit post that has a video that shows exactly how the Verification pop-up works in the game. If you want to see this, please request so by replying directly to this feedback or by Private Message ASAP.

I strongly encourage any questions or comments to be asked. I want others to point out any mistakes I have made ASAP, and to point out alternate solutions to the same problem. I am sorry that this is long and inconvenient to read, but I believe that the more detailed, the more helpful it will be to the developers. If someone says this long text is not helpful with good viable reasons, then I will shorten my Feedbacks.

Thank you very much for reading through this! I really hope this gets implemented, because I do not want Foldit players to lose their accounts.

From, donuts554

(Tue, 04/14/2020 - 20:27  |  1 comment)

Joined: 06/20/2019
Groups: Go Science

It appears to me that it is terribly redundant on yours and on my part to describe what is happening in the video when I could just share the video via a link and let it speak for itself. Sorry for any inconvenience I have caused.

Here is my inspiration:

Roblox has had an even worser problem with bots and spammers. So, the company has developed their own preventative measures to stop them. I believe that you can also think of preventative measures like this.

Think of this reply as more of a simplified feedback of the original. In reality, I would have posted this shorter message instead of the longer original one.

Thanks for considering my feedback!


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons