Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bloggers: Quit Using CAPTCHAs

compilation of various captchas

A brief public service announcement: if you're a blogger, please don't require your readers to enter a "CAPTCHA" before leaving a comment (those almost illegible words to prove you're not a spambot). Writer and blogger Julie Hedlund explains why in her excellent post, "Open Plea to Bloggers: Kick CAPTCHA's, Word Verification to the Curb." In a nutshell:
  • You don't need it (Blogger & Wordpress have good spam filters)
  • You may lose comments and readers
  • Your blog will seem less professional


The key to providing a good experience at a blog is reducing friction, and requiring someone to verify they are human or moderating comments before they go live are all slight barriers that create friction. Awhile ago, I had disabled my CAPTCHAs in my old Blogger interface, but when I switched over the newer interface, the CAPTCHA setting was added back as a default. So double check your settings.  


P.S. Here are two things I find interesting about CAPTCHAs:

  • CAPTCHA stands for "Completed Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." As Wikipedia points out, CAPTCHAs are actually reverse Turing tests, as Turing tests are given by humans to determine whether a machine is a human, while CAPTCHAs are given by a machine to determine whether a human is a machine. 
  • Sometimes the fake words that are generated are pretty good. My favorite CAPTCHA I once got was "Quithead." That's my new motto these days: Don't be a quithead.

7 comments:

  1. Aaah, this is a tough one! I have had a couple people tell me the captcha I use is too complicated and I feel bad about that. On the other hand, you only need to copy and paste it, not try to decipher a horribly skewed word.

    Thank you for the reminder about this issue so I can try to make a decision!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cindy..I actually don't mind yours because it is so easy to copy and paste. It's the ones that make you squint and are so illegible that annoy me.

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  2. I'm not a quithead either! And thanks for sharing the link to my post. I am still seeing lots of CAPTCHAs, so the wider the word gets spread, the better.

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  3. Thanks for spreading the word again. I first read about this on Julie's blog and have removed my CAPTCHA since

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  4. EXCELLENT advice! I disabled mine the minute they started it. It is so annoying. Meanwhile, I haven't had a problem. Thanks for this post!

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  5. I'm disabling mine now. I have noticed I get a TON of views, but not so many comments...perhaps this is why. Thanks for the post!

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  6. Beautiful. If I post on this, I'll definitely link to you. I thought it was just age and my eyes, so I'm glad I'm not alone on this.

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