A curse on captcha and all who indulge in her

kill googleHow can this be put gently,without offending anyone?

People who have WordPress are generally OK in terms of their readers being able to comment. The first time commenter held in the queue works well, it generally means moderation is unnecessary and I’ve not seen too many problems. Typepad was all right but their captcha was a pain. At least Tom Paine‘s captcha was.

No, it’s Blogger bloggers who are the problem. When they use neither captcha nor moderation, it’s OK. Normally. Moderation is a pain but sometimes it’s necessary. Julia uses it and I’ve no idea whatever if my comment eventually went up or didn’t.

I personally use moderation once a week only out of necessity and don’t like to do that because it distances the blogger from his/her readers.

Anyway, the issue is not really with moderation.

It’s with bloody captcha!!!

For a start, it really gets up the nose to have to squint to see most of those numbers and the way they run letters together reduces the commenting activity to purgatory. It’s really not pleasant and I wonder if the bloggers using it on Blogger are even aware how much of a pain in the butt it is to leave a comment?

What is worse is that the smarties at Google Blogger, not content with doing this to readers, then charitably wave you through if you’ve had a jolly good try. That is, you see that photo of some house number on an angle, take a guess, it’s obviously wrong and they just let the comment through.

Now think about that. First it is the utter arrogance of Google lackeys saying, “We’ve put you through hoops, now we’ll lay off you a bit because you’ve been a good boy [or girl] and played our little game.”

Then there is the fact that they’ve just let me through, having failed the captcha test. I could have been a hacker, spammer, whatever.

It doesn’t stop there. It seems there are two kinds of Google captcha. One is bearable to an extent and that is the one which is upfront. That is, when you go to comment, there is the captcha sitting there festering and you groan and know you have to do it.

The other one is evil. It gives no indication that there will be any captcha. So you leave your comment, waxing lyrical, press submit and go to click out. Suddenly up springs this captcha out of nowhere. You know that if you don’t stop and play their game, your comment you’ve taken time over is simply not going to be posted.

The number of times I’ve seen that and simply couldn’t be a***ed going through with it any more, especially after leaving a longer comment …

Seriously, reading and commenting should be fun, not a long-suffering process which drags on and on. A more recent one is the necessity to go through Disqus. It’s bad enough in the MSM but now bloggers are doing it too. Take this one:

comment at QM's

OK, I refuse to have to go through social media to leave a comment, so I take the name and email route. However, at QM’s, Disqus has now taken to saying I can’t use that email as it is registered with them. Yes it is registered with them but it’s none of their damned business – surely that’s between QM and me whether I can comment or not.

Once I went to go into Disqus but it stopped me. So, QM will be relieved to hear I can’t comment there now, due to social media.

I do wonder if bloggers on Blogger are at all aware of what Google is doing to their readers and the mood it puts us in. Most people have a dozen or so on their blogrolls, I have over 150. Using a Reader, that’s fine, I can keep up …

… until hit by the pop-up, “you thought you’d just post a comment but we were lurking here to make the process a misery” captcha.

Bloody captcha!

13 comments for “A curse on captcha and all who indulge in her

  1. March 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    The problem is that if you don’t have the captcha you end up being absolutely inundated with spam, so it’s a necessary evil. You can also ban comments from those without Blogger or OpenID accounts, but the anonymongs can be some of the best.

    I actually asked my blog readers what they would prefer, and they went for the captcha over moderation (which is a PITA anyway) and restricting comments to registered users.

    I encounter these captchas on other blogs and rarely have much of a problem.

    • March 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      It’s the pop-up ones at the very end of the process which are the issue.

  2. March 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Simple answer, turn off captcha and all this pre-approval nonsense.

    Sure you have to delete a couple of spam comments every day, but the two minutes you waste saves your commenters ten minutes of faffing about with captcha and logging on and so on.

    • March 9, 2013 at 7:32 am

      It’s not two minutes! I wish it was… 👿

  3. Stonyground
    March 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I recently tried to leave a comment on Quiet Man’s blog but gave up in despair. I left a message under one of his posts here but it has yet to be acknowledged. I suspect that if your blog has only a small following of like minded folk, then moderating it is easy. Becoming hugely popular means that you have a huge amount of traffic so the temptation to resort to some kind of automatic system must be huge.

    • March 9, 2013 at 7:35 am

      I don’t think you have to be ‘hugely popular’ – I get about 2000 pageviews per day (according to Blogger stats) and that doesn’t seem like a lot, compared to how many the heavy hitters must get, but I’m being drowned in spam. There must be something other than heavy traffic that drives it.

      Perhaps I surf dodgy sites..? 🙂

  4. March 9, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I read somewhere—can’t recall now, no link—that the Blogger captcha is part of the Google Books project. They take a bit of old text which their scanners can’t decipher and put it in a captcha and get YOU to decipher it. Then it feeds back into their database and is applied to the paleographic jumble of old book text. That’s why you’re occasionally let through despite your near total inability to replicate the captcha text: Google is collecting and holding your interpretation to apply to some difficult passage in an ancient edition of More’s Utopia.

  5. Tom
    March 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I am a bit alarmed to be singled out as having a painful captcha system in place. I just checked and it’s turned off in my Typepad settings. If I am mistaken and it’s bothering anyone please email me at tom [at] thelastditch.org.

    My own pet blogging peeve (naming no names) is with people who set their RSS feed to put the whole article into my reader, rather than just an extract. Especially when they cross-post to two blogs I follow so that I spend serious time scrolling past one or the other version (or both, if the subject is not of interest to me). And then these same people complain that readers of their feeds don’t click through to their sites! 😉

  6. March 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

    The problem isn’t the Captcha system itself, but what it’s set up to prevent – spam.

    I’m currently considering implementing it (though my heart sinks every time I go to make a comment & see it in place) because, on Blogger at the moment, I’m drowning in spam! I have 112 come in overnight, and sorting them out has taken so much valuable time I’m now behind on replying to comments & scheduling posts. I haven’t even got time to check my email!

    If we could only stop spam… 😡

  7. QM
    March 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I no longer use disqus as it did nothing for me and have since gone back to removing spam manually.
    I don’t use captcha

  8. Furor Teutonicus
    March 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Find no problem with catpiss…. what? Ahh Capture, or whatever it is called this week.

    The ONLY thing I SERIOUSLY object to, is the “Type the two words”.

    Sorry WHAT? All I see is a word, and a number.

    NUMBERS ARE NOT WORDS. So FUCK you catpurr…. or whatever!

  9. David A. Evans
    March 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    What I don’t like about disqus is that I can’t use the same email as I use for the DT for instance but I can see their problem because I choose to use my name on blogs but an alias on DT.

    DaveE.

  10. Ally
    March 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I disagree when people say that CAPTCHA is a necessary evil. I think that if you remove anonymous comments and have moderation on you rarely get any spam. That and you are not punishing your readers for your own problems! I find it so annoying how on blogger you can only use googles evil CAPTCHAs whereas on wordpress you can use some much more user friendly CAPTCHAs.

    I personally loathe CAPTCHA so much, I am dyslexic so they take me twice as long to solve than everyone else which is very frustrating! I have started using CAPTCHA bypass software called rumola which reads and fills in CAPTCHAs for me so I dont even have to think about them. I have tried a few softwares like this and rumola is definitely the best one in terms of reliability and speed. You can give it a go at skipinput.com if you are interested :mrgreen:

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