Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Captchameifyoucan.com

There is a fascinating debate raging at the moment on the Sepia Saturday Facebook Group about the use of CAPTCHA systems on blogs. CAPTCHA dialogues are those little boxes you often have to complete before leaving a comment on a blog in order to prove that you are a human being and not a robot. CAPTCHA, it would appear, stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, the Turing being Alan Turing the pioneer of computing and the originator of the so-called Turing Test to detect artificial intelligence. I have no intention of getting involved in the debate as to whether CAPTCHA systems are a necessary price for avoiding spam comments on blogs, although I have to say that some of the must fascinating comments on my blog posts have come from robotic spam engines. Some time ago I started a small collection of these messages with the view of collecting them together and publishing them as the lost novel of James Joyce. Here is just one example from my collection:
Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am inspired!. Very helpful info specifically the last phase :) I take care of such information much. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thanks and good luck. Also see my website : reducemystomarchsize.com
But I can fully appreciate that not everyone is as fond of spam as I am and therefore I do not want to criticise anyone for using one of the CAPTCHA systems on their blogs. However, I do think that there is a crying gap in the current market place for an arbitration service for use at times when there is a dispute between a user and a CAPTCHA dialogue. Let me give you an example of what I mean. The other day I was commenting on a blog post and was faced with the CAPTCHA dialogue illustrated here. I typed in "1783 editrnme" and the wretched thing said I was wrong and offered me another silly picture to interpret. I shouted back that I wasn't wrong and that the CAPTCHA machine couldn't read its own writing. This went on for some time until we reached a stage of deadlock and I went off to comment on another blog. What was really needed in these circumstances was an independent arbitrator who could settle such disputes - for a small fee, of course. 

I would therefore like to use this opportunity to announce the launch of my new service : CAPTCHAMEIFYOUCAN.COM. If you find yourself in an argument with a CAPTCHA dialogue just take a screenshot of the dialogue and send it to me along with your interpretation and a Paypal transfer of £5. I will eMail you a decision by return and my decision will, of course, be binding on both parties.

21 comments:

  1. I hate trying to decipher those stupid words/numbers and you're right, CAPTCHA can't read its own writing. Ever.

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  2. But Alan the examples you give are easy to read. The ones which drive us crazy are those which are barely decipherable and appear to be night-time shots. When I've had three or four reasonable stabs I too give up and move on to another blog.

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  3. I think the same spammer has been commenting on my blog. They usually wax eloquent about a blog that is just a picture.

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  4. You are such a problem solver and so enterprising, Alan! I agree, some of the spam comments did make me laugh, especially those that advised me to use more pictures because I didn't post enough of them.

    Kathy M.

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  5. I'm waiting for the CAPTCHA that says 'Gotcha.'

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  6. There is one blog I know longer follow because, I guess I never get the code right and can longer post a reply.

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  7. I have frequently commented, (just because I can?), then said I won't be commenting again as long as letter/word verification is required here. Not all bloggers even know it's turned on, and can be turned off. I really have trouble reading those fuzzy grey numbers. Anywho, I think the main spam I get are anonymous comments, and really pretty funny. Never post them, and now I don 't know about blackheads on my nose, or tummy exercises or all kinds of things! Sorry about that.

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  8. Hate the damned things

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  9. Great post Alan, which cause me to continuous check your blog for usefulling information.

    By the way, has anyone else found that you sometimes you don't need to get both the number AND the "word" correct - one of them will do?

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  10. Yes the spammers are ham mers. I can't believe the things they say as one reads along their great reply. I remember, back when I was young, a year back, when I would publish an Asian one not reading it ahead of time. The words I didn't understand except the "sex" was scattered throughout the symbols in random patterns. I realized then that I don't publish everything I receive.

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  11. And in only the blog prior to this I thought the captcha quote captchad the essence of my comment and, sadly, I could not go back and add it's existance to my comment. I wonder if the system is trying to prove us to be robots. Sometimes I have hit enter too soon and had my comment captured without the obligatory two parts.

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  12. At last, a solution! Did you know (I am sure you do) that you don't really need to get the number right. YOu can type in almost anything. They're trying to refine their system for identifying numbers, appparently. Or so I was told.

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  13. Well Alan I have had no comments in the said discussion but I am saying this in a whisper.(I don;t ever get any spam on my blog.) I read where these letters are being used to translate books for e-readers. Who knows. Yes it is true you do not need the numbers and the letters, I just do the letters if I can. Now I see your word as 'iditmme' and yes it is aggravating as heck.
    QMM

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  14. I rarely reply to blog posts with the word verification..it drives me nuts..and takes way too much time. What really takes the cake is if they have word verification and then monitor comments too..I don't understand it. I would like to join you on your quest ..I am available for second opinions..for a small fee:)

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  15. I have become convinced that I actually am a robot, because I almost never can figure the things out.

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  16. If I can't read the CAPTCHA word or number I don't waste any time hitting the reset button (the curly arrow) and it very quickly gives me another option. So I don't find the whole CAPTCHA process too annoying.

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  17. The captcha things are real pain in the butt. However, getting spam is also a pain.

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  18. We should start calling you, 'Entrepreneurial Alan'!

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  19. I would gladly send you a captcha (and 5 pounds!) but I'm too busy reducing the size of my stomarch, thanks to your classic spam comment.

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  20. I have to admit I hate the nasty things, but even with them some of the insanity that comes through convinces me I can't turn them off. I figure if someone doesn't want to post because of it that's fine, move along, nothing to see here. But if the nasty thing even stops one or two of the insane ones each day I'll be happy. The insane ones tend to make me ticked off for far too long. Sort of like the illegal phone calls selling things. However, I have now devised a method with those I find quite fulfilling. When they say push "1" I do so and then I wait for the human to come on. As soon as they answer I let out a blood curdling scream as if I were the star of a slasher film. Then I hang up feeling quite refreshed, my throat cleared, and happy I've sent someone running in the other direction.

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  21. A very funny essay, Alan, and aptly embellished by the comments.

    Recently I tried "pressing" the audio button for the CAPTCHA. I'm not sure for whom this feature is designed but if you think the number words are absurd, click the little speaker and try to decipher the same numbers and words as spoken by a broken tape recorder! It will make you cry.

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