Boycotting Blogger Comments – CAPTCHAs

I’ve had enough!!!

My interests take me to a lot of blogs, many of them hosted at Blogger. A LOT of them are yours. From time to time, I comment on the fine work you folks do.

No more!

Read THIS to find out why.

UPDATE

My rant about CAPTCHAs has been answered. This morning, Blogger enabled automatic spam detection. They have finally dome something that should have been done years ago, taken on the spam prevention burden themselves rather than passing it on to their customers. Details on my CAPTCHAs Must Die blog.

So, dear woodworking friends: Those of you who use Blogger can now make things easier for your followers. Go into Settings, and then to the Comments tab, and just say NO to the “Word Verification” option.


13 Responses to “Boycotting Blogger Comments – CAPTCHAs”

  1. Joel Says:

    Sorry BOb, I don’t agree. That like you provide says there are lots of other methods to filter email but doesn’t mention a one. Recaptcha which we use works pretty well and spam is down near nil. There are many other methods of verifying but they are all some sort of puzzle. Joel

  2. Joel Says:

    Ps sorry about the mid capitalization of. Your name. I am rotten typist.

  3. Joel Says:

    Mis not mid Once again the iPad keyboard leads me astray

  4. Bob Says:

    Joel,
    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your views on CAPTCHAs. I enjoy your blog almost as much as I enjoy getting “Thank You” notes from your shipping folks. Love your products and how fast they arrive here (only a few miles “up the river”).

    However, I won’t be sharing the love on your blog until you find something other than CAPTCHAs.

    Yes, I imagine that reCaptcha works well for your business. You can readily see that spam is down. What you don’t see are the people who tried to communicate with you and failed, or those that simply turned away when they saw that reCaptcha challenge. It might not be a big deal to lose a blog comment here and there, but I hope it’s not also losing you customers.

    Alternatives? You’re right. I didn’t mention any over at the new CAPTCHAs Must Die blog. I’ll get to them in future postings over there. Yet, since you mentioned it here, let me suggest and rave about Akismet. I’ve been using Akismet on this blog since they opened their service. It is superb. Part of how it works is by collaborative filtering. People marking something as spam on their blogs is noted, collaborated, and propagated by Akismet. Add in a few other filtering techniques that they hold proprietary and the result is virtually no spam.

    I don’t know the content management engine behind your blogs at TFWW. If it is WordPress, Akismet is a drop-in. If something else, they have APIs for quite a few content management systems. Check them out.

    Lastly, if WordPress is your engine, and if you’re a belt and suspenders kind of guy, add the WP-SpamFree plugin to your system. It occasionally catches something in addition.

    You can see from the badges at the very bottom of the page that these tools have caught a tremendous amount of spam and NOT ONE VISITOR had to wrestle with a CAPTCHA!

    All the best and keep havin’ fun…

  5. Brian Says:

    Joel, I’m a little unsure of why I’m replying to this because it has nothing to do with woodworking, but I will note that my experience is that the CAPTCHA I once had on my site started to become somewhat ineffective over time. I switched to Akismet and it does a far better job.

  6. Bob Says:

    Brian,
    Thanks for the additional testimonial about Akismet.

    The nightstand project is looking awesome. Watching for more updates.

    … and no, I’m not going to turn my woodworking blog into an anti-CAPTCHA place. It’s just this one posting.

  7. Bob Says:

    Joel,
    Here’s another possible answer for you. Since I don’t know what content/blog management system you use for your blogs, the WordPress solutions mentioned earlier might not work.

    The alternative is a commenting engine that plugs into a lot of different blog management systems. Disqus replaces the entire commenting function of systems such as WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Joomla, Typepad, and others. Disqus includes its own spam prevention tool called Spam-Be-Gone, and if you want belts with your suspenders you can also add Akismet to a Disqus installation.

    I realize now that some of the other blogs I follow, not woodworking, larger institutions, are using Disqus as part of their custom built blogs … and they never put up a word verification barricade.

  8. Luke Townsley Says:

    Bob,
    I hate CAPTCHAS almost as much as you do. Even with it, I still get about as many spam comments as real ones. It seems that most or all of the one that get through the CAPTHCA are posted by an actual human being, but still clearly spam.

    With just text filtering, I get a lot more spam. Granted, it still filters out thousands, but I still get to spend about 15 minutes every morning just deleting spam.

    The other option is to close comments on old posts. That wouldn’t really be a problem on my blog, but on more static pages, I really want to leave them open.

    I just checked, and I had over 14,000 spam posts filtered over the last three years or so. The only reason it is so low is that I used CAPTCHAS for a good part of that time.

    I may give “simple” contextual filtering another try at some point, but for now, I have other stuff to do.

    Luke

  9. Bob Says:

    testing comment submission pending Cloudfare enablement…. NO CAPTCHAs

    Cloudfare is a service offered by my host Dreamhost. It offers performance and security enhancements. This comment is a baseline test. I am interested in seeing if Cloudfare adds any interference, such as CAPTCHAs to the comment posting process. If so, Goodbye Cloudfare. Will know within a few days.

    Another baseline: Akismet has been incredibly effective at catching an average of 120 spam comments per day. Will that drop noticeably with Cloudfare?

  10. Bob Says:

    testing comment posting w/Cloudfare

  11. bob Says:

    testing anonymous comment posting

  12. bob Says:

    once again we’ll try it with Cloudfare enabled

  13. Bob Says:

    FWIW, my hosting service, Dreamhost, recently offered Cloudfare to all of its customers. Cloudfare has many services, but 2 appeal to me. First, is a caching service that promises very fast load times, which seems effective although I nave not attempted to measure that advantage. The second is another layer of security, which to me means more spam protection.

    I’ve been watching for a few days and see that they are blocking some spam. I don’t know if it is the same stuff that Akismet would have caught anyway. I had some cause for concern when I read that Cloudfare uses CAPTCHA challenges. Would it add that layer of challenge to people trying to legitimately comment here? Apparently not. It looks like those challenges are reserved for “known” threats. How does it identify those threats? I dunno, but think it is from IP addresses reported as spammers, bots, etc.

    So far, so good. I can’t find anything objectionable and don’t have tools fine enough to measure the performance claims.

    Akismet is still catching stuff, but I don’t have a sample period long enough to know if it is noticeably more or less.

Leave a Reply