Blogger + CAPTCHA = Grrrrrrr!!!

This is actually a repeat of something I've said before, but it's worth repeating again. I hate CAPTCHA. And it really isn't necessary to have on your blog.

A CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. For example, humans can read distorted text as the one shown below, but current computer programs can't:

It started as a way to prevent spam, and it does help separate man from machine.

Copied from the CAPTCHA website

CAPTCHAs have several applications for practical security, including (but not limited to):

  • Protecting Website Registration. Several companies (Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc.) offer free email services. Up until a few years ago, most of these services suffered from a specific type of attack: "bots" that would sign up for thousands of email accounts every minute. The solution to this problem was to use CAPTCHAs to ensure that only humans obtain free accounts. In general, free services should be protected with a CAPTCHA in order to prevent abuse by automated scripts.
  • Protecting Email Addresses From Scrapers. Spammers crawl the Web in search of email addresses posted in clear text. CAPTCHAs provide an effective mechanism to hide your email address from Web scrapers. The idea is to require users to solve a CAPTCHA before showing your email address. A free and secure implementation that uses CAPTCHAs to obfuscate an email address can be found at reCAPTCHA MailHide.
  • Preventing Dictionary Attacks. CAPTCHAs can also be used to prevent dictionary attacks in password systems. The idea is simple: prevent a computer from being able to iterate through the entire space of passwords by requiring it to solve a CAPTCHA after a certain number of unsuccessful logins. This is better than the classic approach of locking an account after a sequence of unsuccessful logins, since doing so allows an attacker to lock accounts at will.
  • Search Engine Bots. It is sometimes desirable to keep webpages unindexed to prevent others from finding them easily. There is an html tag to prevent search engine bots from reading web pages. The tag, however, doesn't guarantee that bots won't read a web page; it only serves to say "no bots, please." Search engine bots, since they usually belong to large companies, respect web pages that don't want to allow them in. However, in order to truly guarantee that bots won't enter a web site, CAPTCHAs are needed.

Ok, yeah I get it, CAPTCHA can be very useful. But for those of us who practically live online, having to fill out hundreds of these on a daily basis is a HUGE annoyance. Especially when they look like this.

Seriously? Can you read what that says? Does it say anything at all? How is anyone expected to pass this little "test?"

How about this one?

This CAPTCHA crap is getting out of hand. But this rant isn't just me screaming about how much I hate CAPTCHA, or the fact that I can't translate about half of the ones I come across. No, dear reader, I do have an ulterior motive for posting this. 

Blogger by default enables CAPTCHA on every comment. It's an annoyance and will make readers, who would normally leave a comment on your blog, turn away in frustration. Or worse yet, they think they have left you a comment and move on, only to realize later that if they had waited a second longer a CAPTCHA screen would have appeared so they could verify they are real before posting their comment (or contest entry). 

You don't need to have this enabled and it's really easy to remove. 

I can already hear the moaning. "But what about spammers?" 

I've had CAPTCHA disabled on my blog for a while now. Do I get a ton of spammers? Not really. And thanks to Blogger's semi-new "Anti-Spam feature", they have all but disappeared from my view. 

If you're really that worried about it, turn on comment moderation. That way you have 100% control over what shows up under your post. 

For my peace of mind, I use semi-moderation. Any comment on a post older than 10 days is moderated. Oddly enough, those were the post that would get spammed. Guess spammers think we wouldn't pay attention to what's been posted in the past. But again, thanks to Blogger's Anti-Spam feature, those are now caught even before I can moderate them. Muahahahaha. <--- my evil laugh. 

So, how do you disable the CAPTCHA? 
Simple. Go to "Settings" on your Blogger Dashboard and click on the link for "Comments." 
Scroll down the page until you see, "Show word verification for comments?" 
Now click No!
Then save your settings. Simple as that. 
Now your blog will be that much more user friendly.


Jackie said...

I totally GRRRR right with you, hate the word verification tools as all you have to do to really prevent spam is not allow anonymous users to comment and those are usually your spambots anyway...

Pop Up Comments are the easiest thing to use since cellphones so why do we not all utilize them then we can comment and go to the next post without ever moving off of the same page on the blog!

Marion Sipe said...

I hate those things. I always forget to wait for the captcha and close the tab and then lose the comment.

I disabled them on my blog and so far none of the spam I've gotten has made it onto the blog. Which rocks.

Louise Wise said...

Oh, I so agree. I hate those things, but without it I get no end of spam and there's only so much Viagra I can read! :(

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Oh Brilliant! I never realised you could remove the captcha thing. It so annoys me too and has put me off leaving comments... I will sort this immediately! Thanks so much for your timely advice.

Tyson Adams said...

People have been emailing me saying they haven't been able to post comments on my blog. I've just turned off capture and got my first scammer comment. I think I might fill in a captcha 4-5 times a day at least, I'm not sad to see it go.

Anonymous said...

I found this post as I was just in the process of commenting on someone elses blogger for the past 30 minutes and couldn't get the damn captcha right! I frustratingly looked up Blogger Captcha on google, wondering why the hell they even have it, and found your blog. Most of the time if I see a blogger page I don't even comment because I hate writing a big comment, only to face some broken captcha system which never lets you post anything.

Good to see you have it off! If only everyone on Blogger was as thoughtful as you! The interesting thing about captcha is that even though it's designed for humans to to pass, and computers to fail, the very computers that aren't supposed to be able to bypass captcha already know the answers. If they didn't, how could they asses whether or not YOU got it right?

Mind melting right!? I wrote an essay on captcha sometime last year, if you'd like to read it you can see it here

Alan Pollock said...

The ability to disable recaptchas is no longer there in the new interface - you have to :
1. In Design mode, go to the top right corner and click on teh settings cog/star
2. Choose Old Blogger interface
3. Choose settings tab
4. Choose Comments link
5. Scroll down to "Show word verification for comments?"
6. Select the radio button for No
7. Scroll down and click on Save Settings.

About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.