Monday, October 29, 2012

CAPTCHA - a horribly necessary evil?

One of the things that I really hate about reading blogs is that bit when, just as you'd like to make a witty, erudite comment, you find yourself having to type something you can barely read into a box. It's called CAPTCHA, and I personally find it really annoying.

It was therefore a rather unpleasant surprise when the always entertaining Jennie Rigg noted, in passing, that the CAPTCHA on my blog was rather hard to read. This came as a surprise, as I hadn't even known that it was there. So, in a rather determined manner, I decided to remove it, discovering that I had set something called 'word verification'. This, it would appear, switches CAPTCHA on.

It felt good, I admit. At least, for about fifteen minutes, it did. And then, the wave of spam comments began to break over my inbox. Boy, are those spammers persistent! And annoying too. And yes, I can delete the e-mail notifications, and clear the comment moderation inbox from time to time, but I have rather better things to do with my time.

So, how can I solve the problem? Or do I just have to accept that CAPTCHA is a necessary evil? Or, would it work better if I changed the blog's colour scheme. You know more about this than I do, so what do you think?


martijn said...

It's called "CAPTCHA" (with an extra T, and spelled in capitals).

I'm afraid on a public, much used system like Blogger, there's little else you can do. (Because Blogger is so commonly used, spammers can write bots that spam all Blogger-blogs - they don't have to write a bot for each individual blog.)

Andrew Hickey said...

I think the only way really is to use a service other than Blogger, at least for your comments. I use Wordpress for my blog, and it lets *very* little spam through (and I have it set to have me approve any new commenters). I've never had to use a CAPTCHA or anything like that.

Possibly using Disqus comments like some blogs do might help -- but then there's the problem that for those of us who use NoScript we wouldn't see them :-/

Mark Valladares said...


Thank you for the correction - as you can tell, I really don't understand this stuff, but do respond to suggestions. I've corrected the post accordingly.


The problem is that I'm fairly comfortable with Blogger. I use Wordpress as part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team, but can't say that I find it as easy to use.

Does the background colour scheme of a blog impact on the legibility of CAPTCHA?

crumpet said...

Hi there, CAPTCHA does seem to be a necessary evil on blogger. I also use wordpress and they have excellent spam filters.
I do however sympathise with the lady who could not read your CAPTCHA to submit a comment. I am dyslexic and hate CAPTCHAs with a burning passion! It takes me so long to decipher them I lose interest in commenting on blogs with them.
I have just started using a CAPTCHA bypass browser extension called rumola which reads the CAPTCHAS for me! I would highly recommend for any fellow CAPTCHA haters who are reading.

Mark Valladares said...


I have to admit that I hadn't consider the dyslexia aspect to CAPTCHA, which must be incredibly frustrating to those affected.

At the moment, I'm just deleting spam comments on a 'as I go' basis, and the flow seems to have eased somewhat, so I'll probably just leave it at that, rather than try anything more complex.

But thank you for taking the trouble to make such a useful suggestion.

mateusz said...

In most cases a good spam filter (Akismet for example) will be a way better solution.

If somebody doesn't like typing captchas, he can try to use browser addons that complete these tests automatically (i.e. Captcha Monster)