Edit: Fair warning, there is profanity ahead. Several people have brought it to my attention. Maybe I'm just trashy, but it's just the way that I talk/type. I apologize. If you're not used to profanity and you read my thread, dial down your assumptions regarding how upset I am by about 400%.
First of all, I'm not going to be calling out specific authors or specific boxes in this thread. I'm trying to start a discussion about a real (as I perceive it) issue rather than starting a flame war. So, as much as I'd like to tell some people to go fuck themselves, getting myself banned and/or this thread removed in the process, I'm going to attempt to refrain from doing so, as should you.
Having said that...
Many of the recent boxes suck. Full stop. There are tidbits of knowledge to be gleaned from them here and there, so they're not completely useless, but by and large this platform has turned into a massive, CTF-oriented, first blood wankfest with very little substance and very few learning opportunities.
I can only speak for myself, but I'm here to learn and to improve my real world skills. Boxes that actually put those skills to the test and force me to adapt and learn new things are a dream come true and I absolutely love them. I've only been here for a few months so I can't comment on most of the retired boxes, but as a recent example of what I'm talking about: Reel. Reel was fucking phenomenal.
Sadly, boxes like that are few and far between. Even the "hard" boxes of late aren't hard in the sense that they're locked down and realistic, but because the maker wants to troll for attention, intentionally frustrate people and shitpost memes in the hints thread. It is incredibly frustrating and, honestly, downright fucking obnoxious.
I'm sorry that this is going to offend some people and cause them to feel disrespected, but it's the truth. I don't care how many months you spent putting your CTF shitshow together. At the end of the day people are here trying to learn -- and, in many cases, PAYING MONEY to do so -- and you are actively fucking with that process "for the lulz".
A goofy, trolly, CTF-style box to shake things up is all well and good and, quite frankly, even expected every now and again, but that seems to be all there is anymore. This platform is quickly becoming a race to the bottom of who can come up with the stupidest bullshit imaginable.
So how about I have a go? This is my idea for a box:
The only way to gain a foothold will be by watching a three hour My Little Pony dubstep mashup, translating every animated blink into binary to reconstruct an SSH key that will let you login to a jail that only lets you run "echo". From there you'll have to CTF your way out of 17 Docker instances until root.txt finally tells you to extract the LSB's of the last frame of the original video in order to reconstruct your root flag.
I'm sure it will be rated 10/10 and instantly approved. It will probably even award you a badge for being such an elite cyber ninja! Then when everyone in the hints thread is basically telling me to go fuck myself for being a trolly shithead and doing nothing but shitposting memes, I'm going to get all offended and passive aggressively whine about how nobody appreciates my hard work.
ARE YOU GUYS READY FOR THE LULZ?! FUCK YOUR EDUCATION! MY EGO MUST BE SATED! I'M SO EPIC! DAB FORTNITE DANCE DAB
Seriously, though... Enough is fucking enough.