Thursday, January 3, 2013


One of the more useful or annoying tools on the internet is CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA.
If you have been here for a while you can guess I am not a fan.

While I do find it interesting from a programing perspective and I find the bots used to foil them just as interesting.  My "real-world, everyday" dealing with it is not wholly positive.

I don't use it myself.  I honestly don't get enough spam or bots to make it worthwhile.
I have run into cases where I was commenting on a blog and for the life of me could not get the CAPTCHA.  If I am reading a blog with my glasses off then forget it, there is no way I am going to figure it out.
It really sucks and it's too bad really because the one of the biggest joys of blogging is being able to comment on others' blogs and getting comments.

There is an interesting post on this over at Clay Baboons.

I am not sure how many comments CAPTCHA has actually killed.  In my case it killed one, maybe two, comments I would have made.All the the same, I'd rather turn it off here and maybe deal with some spam.  I get emails on every post made, so I can usually delete the spam long before others see it.

What are your thoughts on this?  My rough guess that it is about 50/50 on the blogs I visit.


Anthony Simeone said...

I don't use it either. Maybe if I was a big-wig blogger with lots of output and the associated horde of followers, I would get the level of bot-spam that would warrant captcha. But as it stands I've never gotten hit by spam and don't want to bother the few people I get comments from.

Down with captcha!

redmold said...

I have run into cases where I was commenting on a blog and for the life of me could not get the CAPTCHA.

You know you can reload it as many times as you like, right? I've never had a problem after reloading it once or twice, but I'm lucky enough to have 20/20 vision.

Tim Knight said...

Same as you. I'd rather deal with a minuscule amount of spam manually than discourage anyone from commenting on my blog.

Having not realised it was the default setting, I turned the function off as soon as people started telling me it was so frustrating that they weren't bothering to comment.

Tony Laplume said...

It's funny that this is a program designed to screen out robots, but was obviously programmed to think like a robot rather than a person, because no sane person would used such poor designs to try and have other persons duplicate. Only a stupid, stupid robot.

ScrivenerB said...

It's your blog, it's your call. If the spam is manageable without this added annoyance to posters, then it's manageable. If it's not, it's not.

Jeremy said...

I've gotten to the point where I simply can't do them most of the time. It takes me 2-5 times to actually enter the right word, and more often than not, I give up after a couple of tries.

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't use them now, but did a long while ago. And they never bothered me on other blogs until they made them so bloody hard to read.

It's horrible now. Just horrible.

Black Vulmea said...

@Anthony: "Maybe if I was a big-wig blogger with lots of output and the associated horde of followers, I would get the level of bot-spam that would warrant captcha."

Yeah, that's my feeling as well. I've had exactly two spam hits on my blog, and one of them wasn't actually spam at all. If I drew enough traffic for it to matter, then I'd reconsider it, but for the foreseeable future captcha's off.

gregarious monk said...

When I do blog, I prefer to get comments (not that I blog often enough to have many). It's bad enough that we have so many methods that require registration, etc. but the captcha is often unreadable and deters a casual commenter from posting their comment.

Unknown said...

I think that CAPTCHA is one of the worst things about blogging! As you have said, the best thing about blogging is comments and communication but the frustration of CAPTCHA can put an end to that pretty swiftly!

I didnt use to mind them until the got so insanely hard to read. I even use CAPTCHA bypass software these days to get them read and filled in for me automatically! Its called RUMOLA if anyone is interested and its very good! Try it at

Spiro Harvey said...

Captchas have had audio buttons on them for quite some time.

I don't know you or your website, and I only stumbled on this from my RSS feed of RPG Bloggers... but my personal opinion is that captchas are an unfortunate necessity. As soon as your site is indexed on Google, spammers will start hitting it. So then you're either playing whack-a-mole, even if it's only a few a week, or you accept that your blog will publish a few spam messages.

Well, these days those URLs that spammers link to are not just advertisements. They typically carry malware that auto-installs on the PC of people who browse your site. Botnets are very common.

So not only are you welcoming spammers with open arms and giving them an avenue to promote their malware, but you are contributing to the destruction of people's computers.