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    I just thought about the following idea: maybe Mathoverflow can get some LaTeX reCAPTCHA for new users.

    For those who don't know, reCAPTCHA does two things at the same time:
    keep bots (and thus spams) away, and digitalizing documents.
    They do it by asking user to recognize and input words from scanned documents.

    I remember being asked by MO "Are you a human" at some point,
    so why not take this chance to digitalize some math books?

    There are tons of Lecture Notes in Mathematics by Springer from the pre-LaTeX era,
    and as many of them are still valuable, it will be a good idea to TeXify them.
    However, TeXify books can be boring and time-consuming.

    How about we choose a short LNM book, and ask a new user to TeXify a line whenever they ask a question.
    (As long as they got 30 reputation -- that's three upvotes, they won't be annoyed again.)

    Of course, this could be fairly technical to implement,
    and the quality of the TeXified is not guaranteed, but I think it is an interesting idea.

    And Hopefully it can keep high school homework questions
    ("How do I prove this trigonometric identity?" with tag "ag.Algebraic Geometry") away.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2013

    I have a vague recollection from a long time ago of a (somewhat playfully) complaint that "we" do not help digtise math but something else. And also, from a long time ago of some (likely several times) suggesting some form of entrance-question (then the idea was rather math).

    For the former the problem is as you say already technical; it is likely even worse than you describe because "we" cannot change the software (by and large). There are some details that can be modified, but this one I doubt it.

    For the latter, beyon technicalities, the worry is that such things might annoy some potentially valuable contributors enough to stay away, while not really keeping away the not so valuable ones. (The real problems, IMO, are mainly not caused by those that do not know TeX.) And (La)TeX could be a problem for legitimate users; true only few but there should be some.

    This is somehow an abstractly interesting idea but in practise it will unfortunately not be possible, IMO.