Monday, September 24, 2012

I am NOT a Robot.

It's Monday morning and you're reading through your favorite blogs.  You find a really good post. Your comment forming in your mind as you read.  You finish reading, type in your comment, and hit Publish.

And there it is.

"Prove you're not a robot."

You're staring at a bunch of squiggly, squished together letters and a badly blurred photo with a number in there somewhere that you must decipher in order for your comment to be accepted.

If the politicians need a platform this election year that everyone can support - this is it.  A totally bi-partisan issue.  Across the aisle.  Across the country.  Just about everyone hates this thing.

I thought it was just me until someone mentioned it on an e-mail list of writers I belong to. Instant response.  I stopped counting at sixteen against, zero for.

Some of their comments:
  • I've tried over thirty times but couldn't get past it.
  • The letters are so blurred and run together, I can't read them.
  • I won't even try to comment if this is turned on.
  • Most blog/social media experts, advise against using anything on your blog that will make it harder for people to follow/comment. 
So, why do people use it.  One reason is Blogger sets Word Verification on as the default value and some blog authors may not realize it or know how to turn it off.  If you're one of these, it's easy.  Go to your Design page.  Click on Settings>Posts and Comments and change the Word Verification to No.

Worried about spam?  While you're on that page, set Who can comment? to Registered Users. That blocks anonymous commenters, which include most spammers.

What do you think?  Are spam protection devices like Capcha and Word Verification necessary and we need to accpt them, or do they create too much of an obstacle to blog dialogue and need to be turned off?
Do you use one on your blog?  If not, do you have a problem with spam?  Do you find them a problem when leaving comments on blogs you follow? Are we in danger of offending our blog-reading robots?  Please share your thoughts on this one.

Groaner of the Day:

A frog goes into a bank, and hops up to the loan officer.
The loan offers greets him. "My name is John Paddywack. Can I help you?"
The frog says, "Yeah, I'd like to borrow some money."
The loan officer finds this a little odd, but gets out a form. "Okay, what's your name?"
"Kermit Jagger."
"Really? Any relation to Mick Jagger?"
"Yeah, he's my dad."
"Okay. you have any collateral?"
The frog hands the loan officer a pink ceramic elephant. "Will this do?"
"Hmmm...I'm not sure. Let me go check with the bank manager."
"Oh, tell him I said hi. He knows me."
The loan officer goes back to the manager."Excuse me, sir, but there's a frog out there named Kermit Jagger who wants to borrow some money. All he has for collateral is this pink elephant thing, I'm not even sure what it is."
The manager replies, "It's a knick-knack, Paddywack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amen, LD! You tell them.

Linda G. said...

YES! The word verification for Blogger has gotten annoyingly difficult to decipher. And, seriously, Blogger catches most of the spam, anyway, so I can't see the point of putting commenters through it. I'd rather just zap the few that slip through myself than annoy my readers.

And {{{GROAN}}}. Love it.

Cate Masters said...

They are an obstacle, but definitely cut down on spam. Alex gave me some helpful advice on a workaround - turn off Captcha, and set the comments to Registered Users only. So much nicer! :)

Lydia Kang said...

I detest word verification. Honestly, I have hardly any spam and I never use it. I wish everyone would toss it!

Emily R. King said...

I don't like word verification because it slows the blogging process down. I don't use it, and I've only been spammed once or twice. I don't think it's worth keeping for that low number.

LD Masterson said...

Alex - Ah, I take it you're not a fan either.

LD Masterson said...

Linda G. - I know my eyesight isn't what it used to be but I don't know anyone who doesn't have trouble with this thing.

(Glad you liked the groaner.)

LD Masterson said...

Cate - Yup, that's what I did.

LD Masterson said...

Lydia - No arguement here.

LD Masterson said...

Emily - So far, we seem to have a concensus.

Maria Zannini said...

Captcha caught a lot of spam for me. But I switched to Registered User a while back and that took care of the rest of the spammer lowlifes.

A couple still get through but not like before.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Setting older posts to require blog owner approval comments eliminated almost all of my spam.

Maryann Miller said...

OMG, I think that was one of the best groaners.

On the topic of the captcha codes, this complaint has made the rounds on a lot of lists I belong to, as well as comments on various blogs. There are so many other ways to keep spammers away, I wish bloggers would stop using this system. I also don't understand why the letters and numbers have to be so blurred. A few spam blockers I have seen have a simple math question - all legibly printed - or just a box to check to prove you are not a robot. I don't mind doing those. It's those captcha codes that take several tries to get right that I hate. Most recently I have stopped trying to leave a comment.

Arlee Bird said...

I can usually get past the Word Verification pretty easily but now and then I'll hit a stubborn one that I have to keep trying. I often let the blogger know that WV is enabled and recommend they turn it off. They usually don't even realize it's on and appreciate my telling them.

What can I say about the groaner? It didn't make me want to croak or anything like that, but I was a little green with envy that I didn't think of it.

Wrote By Rote

Donna B. McNicol said...

I posted a rant blog about this last spring before the April A-Z Challenge. It's a pet peeve for me and I'll only try twice before I give up. HATE IT!! Don't know why Blogger sets that as the default.

Gina Gao said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am in a state of complete agreement with you. I hate having to prove myself a human being again and again.

LD Masterson said...

Maria - Limiting comments to Registered Users took care of spamming issues for me, too.

LD Masterson said...

Diane - I haven't used that feature but as a commenter, I definitely prefer it to Capcha.

LD Masterson said...

Maryann - It was actually an oldie but I hadn't run across it in a while.

The "unreadability" is one of the main issues. I've had times when I've tried several times and just gave up.

LD Masterson said...

Lee - Good idea. I tend to think the blogger is aware and they might not be.

Re. your comments on the groaner - groooooan.

LD Masterson said...

Donna - Could Blogger be unaware how unpopular this thing is?

LD Masterson said...

Gina - Sounds like you're definitely in the majority on this one.

Tara Tyler said...

ha ha ha ha =D

oh, and darn the robot menace!!
how do you tell a friend to tirn off their captcha?

Darke Conteur said...

I LOATHE those things. I've gone as far as un-following blogs who use them. Everyone gets spam and for the record, Blogger's spam catcher has kept all of them from showing up in my comment sections. Heck, I got spammed over a hundred times from one place, and not one showed up. Eventually they gave up because they're crap wasn't showing up. :D

LD Masterson said...

Tara - You might ask the friend if she knows it's turned on. The author of the blog doesn't see it so she might not. If she does, she could suggest that she'd get more comments without it. Assuming she wants more comments, that is.

LD Masterson said...

Darke - I agree Blogger's spam catcher really eliminates the need for the word verification feature. I haven't un-followed a blog because of it but I often skip commenting rather than fight with it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Why can't I resist laughing at those groaners?
Boohiss, down with word verification. If I were a robot, my knees wouldn't hurt.

LD Masterson said...

Susan - It's pun-power. :-)

And you're right. My knees make me a non-robot, too!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Add me to the majority - I hate word verification, too. But I won't set my blog to just registered users, either. I want anyone to be able to comment. If I get span, it's not THAT hard to delete (and so far ALL of the spam has gone into the spam folder).

I'd rather make it easier on my readers than easier on me. But I guess that's just me.

LD Masterson said...

Stacy - I do the registered users thing because if someone asks to receive follow up comments from your posts, they can get anonymous spam comments on posts that are months old.

Mike Keyton said...

Ditto to everything here. What little spam I get hits old posts, so I may take up the tip from one of your comments - making older posts registered user comment only.

Otherwise why inflict on others what you hate yourself?

LD Masterson said...

Mike - It was the anonymous spam comments showing up on older posts that made me switch to Registered Users.