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14 September 2008

Trying Something New

I browsed across Christine at Crafling's Crafting, and she is having the mother of all scrapbook/cardmaking giveaways! It's an interesting giveaway. She's on a crusade to rid the blog-o-sphere of those squiggly letter pictures, which I learned are called "captcha." It's a technospeak acronym for "Cool ways to tell humans from computers." She hates 'em. Says they slow her down, keep people from leaving comments. And that they don't work. She's got a link from Sydney's Morning Herald about how they've been cracked by the spammers. Gotta admit, I'd been wondering how long that would take. I poked around the internet and it seems that Wikipedia thinks the jurry's still out on if they will continue to be effective or not, but it does seem clear that they're not 100% effective. Which is not surprising. Most of the other stuff that I found in my search looked too technical to worry about to satisfy a passing curiosity.

While I'm not entirely sold on her position, I am removing my word verification for a little while at least. Couple of reasons for this:

1. I get extra entries in her giveaway. And it's a cool giveaway.

2. I still get what I think of as "small-time spam" from time to time. It doesn't happen very often, and thus far it's not been offensive, but it is a pain to remove. And if it was on an older post I would probably not notice.

3. Comment moderation will notify me of all comments, so I'll be able to respond to stuff that folks leave on older posts.

Reasons Why I'm Not Entirely Sold

1. Comment moderation may be a pain. I haven't tried it yet. So we'll see. It's easier for me to use the word-verification.

2. I like to see my comments right away. Make sure they actually appear. It's somewhat like listening for the "sploosh" when you drop a rock in the well. Comment moderation takes that away and I miss it. Not that I let this keep me from commenting.

So we shall see what, if anything, comes of this. I think I'm going to also do up a poll, so make sure to vote, even if you don't comment!


Christine (Craftling) said...

Hi, Ritsuemi! :o)

Thank you for joining in with my 'blog candy against word verification' campaign, even if you're not entirely sold! ;o) You expressed the issues well, except for two, which to my mind, are the crux of the matter, and that is courtesy to your visitors.

Forgive me, but the concerns you expressed are self-centric, rather than visitor-centric. I tend to think that if someone pays me the honour of visiting my blog and then goes further and wishes to give of themselves to leave a comment, then the least I can do by way of reciprocation is to be respectful of their time and make it as easy as possible for them, without compromising my security. Comment Moderation is more effective than Captcha for stopping spam, and it doesn't hinder my visitors in any way. The only down side is that they will have to wait for a little while to see their name in lights, but it doesn't hold them up in the process. ;o)

Maybe I am being typically "English" and too polite. Are my expectations of good manners too high, do you think? Judging by the overwhelming response on my blog candy and earlier (previously 'uncandied') posts.. 200+ replies.. by far the majority feel the same way. I hope your poll offers the right options to reflect an accurate result at the end of it.

For people who hop around a lot of blogs, as I do, the Captcha word thing takes up far too much time, and in common with many bloggers, I am far more inclined to leave messages where it is not enabled.

In addition to that, I have been told that it prevents visually-impaired people from participating in the blogging community, as their special screen readers are unable to read the letters.

Thank you for giving this issue more exposure in your blog. I think you with the publication of my comment here, you will have earned your five entries! ;o) Best wishes with that! :o)

Take care and God bless..

Chris xx

Phree said...

I voted and chose the "love it" option. It's not perhaps my ideal choice because I do agree that Captchas can be a pain at times, being tricky to read therefore I don't realy "love" them, I see them as an unavoidable evil so I don't let them stop me making comments on other peoples blogs.

From my own experience the reality is that those with the skill to break actually break a captcha are very much a minority. However there are plenty of "Script Kiddies" out there with the skill to write a spamming programme, or even more likely pick up such a script from online hacking sites and then employ it to cause havoc to innocent people who simply want to blog in peace. Those kinds of online vandals don't go after the tougher targets just as a burglar will avoid the house that has an alarm system fitted and go for the one next door that has no security system and has left a downstairs window conveniently open.

Comment moderation is IMO not a sufficient defence against spams that are flooding in and if you get attacked do you really want to risk opening your mail to find that your kids have just seen a whole load of profane blog comments sent to you to moderate?

Ritsumei said...

Maybe my reasons are a bit self-centric. I don't think that I was entirely clear that my 2nd reason is something I prefer as a commenter, not as a blogger. I must admit that I've never really considered it a matter of politeness. It's just something that some people choose to do and others don't. You occasionally see folks with neither captchas nor comment moderation. I'd never really considered the whole accessibility because they always have the little "click here" thing for those who can't read it, so I thought that was more or less taken care of.

Christine (Craftling) said...

Hi, again, Ritsuemi..

I am not visually-impaired myself, but I am told by someone who works with visually-impaired people that it is an issue. Clicking on the disability icon doesn't actually achieve anything. Try it.

In respect of the spam issue, over 200+ people have responded to my posts on this topic, and only three have reported any significant problem with spam. In all those cases, Comment Moderation would have prevented spam getting onto their blogs. I can't speak to the issue of children breaking into your email in your own house. That, I guess, is a matter for parental control.

However, if you look at the comments I have received just to my blog candy post, let alone the previous ones, you will see that the incidences of spam are very few and far between. The scale of the spam issues on personal blogs cannot be compared to the attacks spoken about in the context of gaming sites. Using captcha in those circumstances is an entirely different ball of wax, and is what the programme was developed for in the first place. Similar levels of attack on personal blogs just don't happen.

All I am trying to do is raise awareness and get people to think about it, as so many just have it on their blogs because they are oblivious to it, not realising what an aggravation it is for most bloggers. LOTS of people have told me they had it without realising.. even those who didn't believe they had it. (You can read the comments for yourself.)

My suggestion is for people to follow your lead and just give it a try for a trial period. Everyone I know who did that when I first suggested it a couple of months ago have not gone back to Captcha, as they have seen an increase in the volume of comments on their blogs, without any problems.

Thanks again for providing an additional platform here for discussion.

Chris xx

Just call me G said...

I'm dead against verification... the squinting gives me a headache... and its something I wouldnt want to inflict on someone else.

Its good that you are trying out comment moderation... its nice to log onto your account, check out dashboard and see comments... and for followers of a blog its good to see that the owner of said blog has read your comments. With verification you wouldnt know...

Thats my little take on it.. :D


Ritsumei said...

Bit of a learning curve on the comment moderation. I had to figure out how to get it to show me the post comment is on rather than the time the comment was made. I think I have it, but I'll need another comment to be sure. Needing to go to the dashboard to see if anyone's commented is sort of a pain; Blogger doesn't make that single-click easy. At least, not yet. But they keep improving things so maybe we can all get together and ask them to put more dashboard links up. And moderating does guarantee that I'll see comments on old posts, which I never used to do.

However, it is interesting to me to note that there are definitely more comments for this post, and faster, than what I am used to. Are you guys regular readers that are coming out of the woodwork because I got rid of my capatcha, or are you following the link from Christine's blog & bringing the conversation over here? I'm going to have to check analytics to see if I can tell, but I'd sure appreciate it if you'd just tell me in the comments because I'm not really that good at using analytics to find out information that is that specific.

The poll is also interesting. I looking forward to what the final numbers are. There are more of you "I don't do captcha" folks out there than I ever guessed. Not that I ever gave it a moment of thought before this here give-away.

Christine (Craftling) said...

I have my comment moderation set to forward comments to me by email, and having read it, just click either 'publish' or 'reject'. I don't have to go into Dashboard at all. It couldn't be more convenient. The only thing I don't like about it is that, having published a comment, you get it again telling you you've published it! (sigh) But that's just a quick 'delete' exercise.

Don't hesitate to email me if you'd like a pointer on that.

You are undoubtedly getting more comments. Probably initially from my link to you, but as word gets around, you'll get more, I expect. Since I posted my blog candy two weeks ago, I've had well over 3,000 visitors, so there's been a lot of interest, even though only the tip of the iceberg left comments. Some of those will be coming over here now.

People like polls, too. It's an anonymous way of expressing a view. I do think there is an option missing from your poll, though.. "I hate Captcha, and am less inclined to leave comments that require verification." That is my category. I absolutely deplore WV (can ya tell?) ;), but still leave verified commemts under special circumstances. But there have been many, many times when I have abandoned an attempt afer the second or third time of trying, or if I've got a finite amount of time to spend on blogging and want to cram in as many visits as possible. If WV has been cancelled, it makes it very much easier to compliment the blog owner on their cards, photos, whatever, without it taking up time unnecessarily. I strongly resent my time being 'robbed' from me without proper justification.

Early days yet, but what your poll does show clearly is that almost everybody either hates or dislikes WV. So I imagine most, then, would be happy to see the back of it.

OK. Going to take a breath now! ;o)

Ritsumei said...

At this point, I can't change the poll. I tried, cuz your suggestion would have been a good addition. But since someone has voted it won't let me, and I'm not willing to give up the responses I have. Of course, I wonder if the fact that they're coming over from your link on your blog isn't skewing the results a bit: birds of a feather flock together & you're very vocal about your hatred of WV. I wish that I had some way of sorting my "regular" commenters & lurkers from the folks visiting from your blog.

I must admit, I had noticed that you might have an opinion about word verification, LOL! And I too have abandoned comments if the WV was being difficult. But while I'm seeing your point

Ritsumei said...

Opps... published too early!

While I am seeing your point, there is also Phree's point, which I think is a good one. Contrary to your claim that spamming doesn't happen to personal blogs, only to forums & high profile websites, she's got a post on her blog about a personal experience with just that. And while capatcha won't entirely solve the problem, it does seem like it would help some.

Christine (Craftling) said...

Hi, again..

I wasn’t suggesting you change the poll at this stage, even if you could, as it would skew the results. Was just ‘chatting’. Running the poll is a great idea. Wish I’d thought of it!! ;o)

I don’t think the fact that I have put a link to you on my blog will be skewing the results, because the 3,000 visitors I mentioned in two weeks represent MUCH higher volumes than I normally get, which I’m sure will be mainly due to the blog candy, and partly due to a topic of interest in the blogging community. However, only 137 people chose to comment (on this occasion). So whilst I agree with your phrase re. birds of a feather, etc, I don’t think it holds water in this context. All my link will be doing is driving traffic to your site. There is no reason to suppose that they all share my view. I imagine they have their own. But what my experience is telling me is that the greatest majority of people despise Word Verification, although – as your poll is showing – most tolerate it.

Anyway, those people who do follow my blog that I have come to know a little, are all intelligent, feisty women quite capable of making up their own minds and expressing their own opinions. But given that the majority of bloggers have this view, it’s kinda hard to avoid the company of people who agree with me!! lol ;o)

Again, between all the comments on the posts I have made (only one of which had a bribe attached!!), and comments on posts other bloggers have made on this issue... which are all out there for people to see... only around a whopping 1% have had problems with spam, and in all those cases, they weren’t using Comment Moderation.

I agree that Phree has a point, but it is an extreme minority, ie – a single case of 7 spam comments, compared to hundreds of examples I could give you where people have had good experiences of getting rid of Word Verification.

I am going to leave this discussion now. There is nothing I can add to it that I haven’t already said. The adults I have come across in the blogging community are more than capable of deciding for themselves. I just hope they will give switching to Comment Moderation a try.. a week, two weeks, maybe longer, and see how they get on.

Once again, thank you.
Best wishes,
Chris xx

Hilmarose said...

This is my first visit to your blog, I came via Christine's blog... I have to agree with her especially in this part
"For people who hop around a lot of blogs, as I do, the Captcha word thing takes up far too much time, and in common with many bloggers, I am far more inclined to leave messages where it is not enabled."
I hardly ever leave comments if I have to do word verification because it is to time consuming and I visit hundreds of blogs weekly.
I guess it all boils down to whether you enjoy reading peoples thoughts on your posts or not.

Phree said...

Hi Riseumi

I came when I saw the link on the other blog which told me about you poll. I am interested in the results.

To clarify my point about kids reading what may be in an adult blogger's mail. I never suggested that the kids would be breaking into parents e-mails, but rather was thinking of the scenario of kids being present in the room and able to view over their parent's shoulder what was on the computer screen. This one reason why many chat sites employ profanity filters so as unexpected use of profane language by another user need not appear on your screen.

I must admit I am somewhat surprised at the "time consuming" argument being put forward here. A captcha is typically 7 or 8 letters. Typing speed is measured at 5 letters per word therefore a typing speed of 60 words per minute means you can type 5 letters in 1 second. Given the captcha letters require a little thought to reconise each character, I would still imagine that most people could easily type those letters in under 5 seconds. Still "time consuming" is subjective, and what one person finds time consuming may not seem so to another.

Ritsumei said...

I think that's a good point, Phree. The more that I think about it, the less that I think that a captcha is "rude" as Christine suggests. Andy (my husband) knows quite a lot about computers/the internet/technical stuff, and when I spoke to him he was strongly in favor of using both the captcha and moderation. The "bad guys" are out there and they do sometimes cause problems, even on minor blogs. So in Andy's opinion more security is better as nothing is going to be 100%.

I have to admit that I find that a pretty compelling argument. I also find that now that I'm getting used to it, I'm liking comment moderation. It makes it so easy to be sure that I'm reading all the comments. So if the captcha comes back it will likely be in addition to comment moderation.

Emma said...

Hi everyone. Have come over from Christines to add my penny...for what its worth.
I have Fibromyalgia and a host of other crap conditions and when my eyes are playing up WV can be a complete pain in the backside...and the disabled button is as much use as a chocolate fireguard...BUT...its not the end of the world and its my own personal decision if I choose to leave a comment or not.
Personally...I have more things to worry about and if WV keeps you happy then so be it.
(Hey can you tell I'm having a bad flare up...as NO one with WV has had a comment left tonight! LOL!)

Jane said...

I thought I would pop over to a few of my personal points of view on the subject. I also suffer with fibromyalgia and I am effected in a similar way to Emma! However, I took WV off my computer quite a while before I saw the first of these debates, blog posts and campaigns came to my notice. The reason I took it off initially was due to my DP's sight {or lack of} he is partially sighted and misses out ob reading a lot of very interesting blogs purely because of WV....He just can not see the jumble of alphas and digits that make up WV.


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