Monday, March 12, 2012

1000 A-to-Z'ers! & Word CAPTCHA Changes

First, exciting news! We reached 1000 sign-ups for the A-to-Z Challenge! Wow! If you haven't signed up yet, there's still plenty of time. That's 1000 possible new people for you to meet.

Speaking of the A-to-Z Challenge, you're probably seeing a lot about the new Word CAPTCHA system Blogger has begun using. By CAPTCHA, I mean the word verification you have to do in order to make a post on some blogs. The problem is that the new CAPTCHA can be very hard to read, especially for those of us with eye issues (for instance, macular degeneration, which I have...don't go check my avatar again, I'm only in my 30's--it was a freak incident with a really bad bout of the flu). It's not just us freaks, though, the words are hard to read.

Have you noticed that the first word is typically more easily read, but the second word is sometimes unreadable, and pretty much always hard to read? I believe, and I could not confirm that with the small amount of research I started out doing before my internet went loopy on me, that this is because Blogger may have switched everyone over to reCAPTCHA. reCAPTCHA takes the system already in place to prevent spammers and puts it to use in digitizing old books and newspapers. You see, computers can't read text that is mushed together or has some other image through it, like a line (give them time). This is why word verification programs like CAPTCHA work to keep spammers off your blog; little bots sent out to spam online cannot translate this kind of text.

This new reCAPTCHA system sticks a known word (known to the computer, that is) next to a piece of scanned text that the computer cannot read. When people enter the word verification and get the first word right, the computer gets to assume the second word was also entered correctly, and the system can now translate that word from that specific piece of writing. I am assuming, possibly incorrectly, that this same word must be translated multiple times in the same way before it is accepted as valid. One would hope, anyway.

This information can be taken one of two ways. Either you get to be happy you're helping translate old texts so they can be properly digitized, or you can be frustrated anyway and throw your keyboard out the window as I've been tempted to do many times.

As interesting as it may be to be a part of this, I'm going to have to set a personal rule that if I have to push the little "new word" button more than once, I will not be commenting on that blog. There have been a few occasions where I had to keep pushing it because every word that came along was illegible. This can be a great frustration, and can lose you readers in the long run. You may want to consider turning it off, especially during high traffic times (such as April if you're participating in the A-to-Z Challenge). I've gone ahead and disabled mine to save others the frustration. The sound playback is often not any better. I can tell you that I am getting notified of spam, but Blogger is automatically catching any anonymous comments, which is the only form it's come in, so far. So I get the email about the spam, but when I check the actual post, the spam has not been posted, nor is it waiting in my dashboard for me.

If you aren't sure whether you have CAPTCHA set up on your blog, there is a good chance you do. It appears to be set up to go automatically if you don't disable it. If you're curious as to how to do this, go to "Design" on the top right of your blog (this is for Blogger blogs only), "Settings," and look under the sub-category "Comments." If you are using the new interface, you have to change back to the old one to view that particular section.

I will still visit blogs that have CAPTCHA; I just may not be able to comment as often as I might otherwise. It can be time consuming trying to identify the CAPTCHA word, and I just don't have that kind of time!

How do you feel about the new CAPTCHA/reCAPTCHA?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Congrats on reaching 1000!

    Oh, I hate captcha. I'm really struggling with it today, actually - one blog took me four tries. Argh.

  2. Yes, we hit a thousand participants!
    The new word verification is awful. Blogger has such a spam filter, there's really no need for it.
    Addressing this in my A to Z post on Friday.

  3. It's horrendous. I have to wear reading glasses, but even my glasses don't make these words legible. I have sometimes had to try new words 4 or 5 times.

    I have been guilty of giving up commenting on blogs using it, and give a groan every time I see one. Please people, turn it off.

  4. I have disabled mine too. I had a follower tell me that it was very hard for her to comment on my posts because CAPTCHA was giving her a hard time.

    I hate it when I come across a blog that does have it.

    Great post!

  5. 1000! That's awesome! :)

    I don't like the new CAPTCHA and I do comment less on those blogs that have it.

  6. I hate captcha codes too !! As my son points out, if the computer doesn't know the scanned word you cant get that one wrong, there fore you only have to try with one and put whatever you want in the other !

  7. I just found out today I have word verification. Can anyone tell me to to disarm it.

  8. I find it non-humorously ironic that in trying to stop spammers, blogger has it made it easier for them. I only very rarely had any spam before the new system, like once every two months, but with the new system, because it's such a pain-in-the-butt, I had to turn it off, so, now, I get spam several times a week. Way to go blogger!

  9. Yay, on 1000!

    The new captcha...I wish folks would get rid of it. Blogger blocks all my spam without it.

  10. 1000 participants!? Huzzah! Any suggestions on how to manage catching that many?
    I disabled the catch ya thing. Hate it.

  11. Every time I see one of these posts I cheer! Here is how I feel:

  12. The blogger Captchas are not as bad as the ones on Facebook--those are nuts. There is also an option of listening to an audio Captcha if you can't do the visual ones. Talk about spooky. The audio ones are like listening to messages from space or the world of the dead. It creeps me out to listen to those.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    Blogging from A to Z

  13. Wow, 1000 - that's quite scary!

    I hate Captcha, and I've given up on a comment if I haven't been succesful the first time. Having a whole other set to type in really annoys me.

  14. I'm so glad we got 1000 participants! :)

    I have a little trouble with it too, it's one of those annoying little things that would make things so much more simple if it wasn't there. I'm pretty sure I have mine turned off, at least :) It was nice to learn about it though, since I didn't even know what it was!

  15. I have to admit I have been as annoying as captcha lately. I vehemently HATE this form of torture. I have pleaded with every site I now read that has this, to turn. it. off. If I get it wrong a couple times...I just move on. I have never had one single spam or even anonymous comment in almost 3 years of blogging. It truly is NOT necessary.

    Somebody should post (one of the co-hosts) on the A-Z site that all participants should consider removing this hazard to commenting. April is a month to gain readers but they will go away quick with being required to word-verify in order to comment...simply because there will be no time to toy with it.

    Thanks for the post Shannon!

  16. Talli, I've had that happen. It drives me nuts!

    Alex, the spam filter really is effective, which is a huge relief!

    Angeline, I hear you! It's just not worth it.

    Danielle, I think that's what people are going to have to do...tell people who have it that they just can't do it anymore.

    Christine, I'm getting there, for sure.

    John, oh, interesting! Thanks for that info.

    Debra, I'll stop by and see if you already found out since I'm behind on comments.

    Andrew, exactly! I think the old way was working just fine.

    M Pax, so far, it catches all mine, too.

    Susan, it takes a team!

    Siv, will be by shortly!

    Lee, I haven't been able to get the audio to work, which is frustrating. You're right on the Facebook ones, though!

    Annalisa, I feel the same way. There just isn't enough time to sit and mess with it.

    Inspire, I'm glad it was at least informative!

    Chuck, I believe that mentions are in the works, if I haven't already missed them in lagging behind. We definitely encourage people to turn it off, at least for the challenge, if they want to gain new readers!

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