No this isn't going to be another weather rant, or about the annoying holiday ads on TV, or the really sad abused animal posts that I'm sick of seeing on my Facebook newsfeed. It's about CAPTCHA, that little box that pops up on blogs and other websites and makes you type in a hard-to-read sequence of letters and blurry numbers. The purpose of this is to prove you are a human and not a robotic spammer. It sucks. There I said it. Sucks out loud. As you've noticed, I have limited my life-ranting ever since moving here. I really don't have much to rant about anymore anyway, but this issue is like a burr under my hide and it's annoying me more with each passing day.
I don't want bloggers who use it to get mad at me or think I'm telling them how to run their blogs. But please hear me out on this topic. I do understand the need for it on certain fan, political and business blogs and sites. Ones that get more traffic and, therefore, subject to more robotic spam than a craft or photography-themed blog. Blogging A-Z Challenge also posted about this topic HERE on September 27th. The key here is robotic spam. 99.9% of your readers are, indeed, human and having to prove it with this ridiculous feature is, well, ridiculous. If you are a political blogger and post controversial topics, or you have a high profile fan site for a celebrity, you are going to be subject to human spam and vitriolic and/or wacky comments by humans who don't care about filling out a CAPTCHA just so they can leave their two cents. Having the CAPTCHA turned on makes zero difference, so you might as well turn it off because it's pissing off the majority of your readers.
I have been aware of CAPTCHA for a long time. And in the beginning, like 2005 or so, it seemed like a good way to protect your blog from weirdos and spammers, and as time went on the technology got better in terms of building in robotic-spam blockers to stop it before it starts. In the over 6 years since my blog has been open, I have been subject to very little spam or nasty comments either by humans or robots. Every now and then someone posts a link to something, but it's certainly not enough to force my friends into typing a CAPTCHA. I see it, I delete it. No big deal. It's not like I get hundreds of comments like The Bloggess and Wil Wheaton do. As a blog reader, I want to comment and move to the next blog. Sometimes if I remember there's a CAPTCHA and my time is limited, I won't leave a comment. Then I feel guilty because I know the time and effort it takes to put out a quality blog and I should at least acknowledge that I stopped by. But when it takes a person twice as long to type in a nonsensical word than it does their comment, blog owners are going to see less traffic/comments on their sites. Believe me I would much rather see that my comment 'is in moderation and waiting blog owner approval' than the dreaded CAPTCHA box. The only reasons I suffer through it is that I have become quite fond of many of the blogs that I read & their owners, and I look forward to each new post, and also because I have way more time to waste online than when I was working. If and when I do go back to work, I will be unable to visit like I do now and if CAPTCHA is turned on, it's even less likely I will comment.
When I did Blogging A-Z in April, they emphasized over and over to turn the damn thing off or else the Challenge would come to a screeching halt around the letter H as bloggers opted not to leave comments on, or decide not to follow, a CAPTCHA blog. Throughout the challenge, the Blogging A-Z hosts asked us how it was going, what were the positives and negatives, and the #1 negative was CAPTCHA. They again stressed to turn it off. The people that used this feature refused, even when some readers came right out and commented nicely that it'd be great/appreciated if CAPTCHA could be turned off.
It's really easy to turn this feature off, turn on comment moderation and even limit who can comment. This way you can weed it out without forcing people into the word verification. Maybe some of you don't even know you have it on.
When you are in your list of posts, look on the left side and click on Settings which has a picture of a wrench. In the drop down of that, click on Posts and Comments. Now you can select to turn on Comment Moderation if you want to nip spam in the bud. Where it says Show word verification, if that box next to it says 'yes', click on it and pick 'no'. When you are done, go to the top right and click the orange 'Save Settings' box.
Please...I'm beggin' ya.....stop the madness......please turn of the word verification once and for all!