Is it me, or has Captcha gotten a bit … out of hand lately?
Captcha, in case you're not familiar with it, is the verification code you have to enter in order to comment on some blogs, or register for certain websites. I always assumed it was just a jazzy way of saying 'capture', but it's an acronym that means "Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart." Seriously.
Anyway, I started keeping a list back in May of 2012, a list of the strange word combinations I was encountering while trying to leave my pearls of wisdom around the blogosphere. Something struck me about those twisty little things. Mostly, they made me laugh. They also made me think, "I can use this!" For what, I didn't know, but I was compelled to copy them down, certain that I could use them in some bizarre work of fiction yet to be thought of.
See what I mean? Catchy, aren't they? That last one sounds like a South American nightclub singer.
At first, they were a source of amusement and mild annoyance, but somewhere along the line, they made them twistier, harder to read. That might have actually been what prompted me to start keeping the list in the first place. Some blogs, it seemed were tougher to crack into than others, and I was curious. Still, they were a mere annoyance, a brief speed bump on the road to commentary. But then they started to change. They started to add numbers.
It was an interesting new wrinkle. And it was also the point where it started to become a pain in the butt. I usually had no trouble with mere letters. But the numbers were frequently hard to read. They were blurry. They looked like grainy photographs of house numbers taken with a cheap camera by a sleep-deprived PI staking out a wayward spouse. I started guessing, and some of the guesses were so blind I wondered if coming close is good enough - that or I'm getting extremely lucky. I also started getting them wrong with greater frequency, but, fortunately (or unfortunately, if you've been on the receiving end of many of my comments, hah hah) not often enough to make me not leave a comment.
I stopped keeping track of the Captcha codes, but I've started up again, because they just seem to be going crazy lately.
I suppose it's just a way of trying to keep ahead of the bots.
I remember considering the comment options when I started this blog. Verification on, or off? Comment moderation: yay or nay? I'm pretty sure I started with verification on, because I'm pretty sure someone told me not to bother, that it was an impediment to conversation, and people wouldn't bother if they had to wade through the trouble of captcha. Comments are important. I want to hear what you have to say. In hindsight, it was a silly decision to use it for me, especially because I receive every comment as an e-mail, and I have the luxury of being able to act quickly, should anything spammy or objectionable come in. Maybe if I were receiving hundreds (or even scores or dozens) of comments per post or had thousands of visitors per day, it would make sense, or if I found myself having to clean up loads of obvious spamments each day. As it stands now, it doesn't make sense for me to keep that barrier up. (On the other hand, I must have crossed some threshold; twice in the last month I've received offers of free quality eye-wear should I promote some company on this blog – big time, baby!)
Anyway, I think I'll stop keeping track of Captcha codes for a while. At least until they change things up and make it interesting again. Viva, Chicero Ptiera!