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.