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Old 01-18-2011, 12:59 PM
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Death to Captchas

Quote:
A brief exchange on Twitter led me to think about one of the things I most definitely do not love about the internet—captchas. While I won’t go quite as far as to say captchas are the spawn of Satan (let’s wait for the DNA tests before we go that far) I will say that I believe they are not only the wrong solution, but an arrogant and inconsiderate one.

...

In conclusion, captchas are inaccessible, inconsiderate and frustrating. In addition, most captchas are not as secure as you would like to believe. A far more elegant solution is to use some sort of filtering system (like Akismet). Such a system can run behind the scenes and work without complicating the user experience.

It’s time to kill off captchas and stop punishing users for trying to interact with our sites.
Full article: Death to Captchas

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Old 01-18-2011, 01:04 PM
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Alternatives to Captcha

By the same author as above:
Quote:
It seems I stirred the pot a little more than expected with my post calling for the death to captchas. If you haven’t read the post, it was basically a rant detailing all the issues with captcha systems—accessibility and usability concerns primarily. My goal was to identify the problem, but quite a few people called me out for not taking the time to highlight alternatives (I actually did mention Akismet, but only in passing). The criticism was fair enough and since there appears to be interest, I thought a follow-up post pointing out three alternative solutions that don’t interrupt the user would be a good idea.
Alternatives to Captcha
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:51 PM
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Spit wonders though, why replace something that works and is now widely recognized as a prominent anti-spam measure?

Yeah, I mean, how many people are really bothered by captchas? Changing a hard captcha is usually a click away and you can in most cases choose to listen to it instead. Have I been annoyed by accidentally filling in the wrong captcha for a form or comment? Sure I have, but did that effect me in any way or bother me to the extent I leave the site or break down in tears? Nah. If it does the job, keep it. Just my opinion!

It's too widely used to be killed off anyway.

Right, ego, can't see it being killed off or replaced in the near future either!
 
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:05 PM
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spit and ego are entitled to their opinions, here's mine:
Quote:
Originally Posted by spit View Post
how many people are really bothered by captchas?
Me and all the other people that can't read half of the scribble Captchas use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spit View Post
Changing a hard captcha is usually a click away and you can in most cases choose to listen to it instead.
Why do I have to click to get another, and another, and another scribble until I can read it? Why do I have to listen to it to be able to proceed?

Seems you don't want my comment or my business.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spit View Post
Have I been annoyed by accidentally filling in the wrong captcha for a form or comment? Sure I have, but did that effect me in any way or bother me to the extent I leave the site or break down in tears? Nah.
I have left sites because of their Captchas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spit View Post
It's too widely used to be killed off anyway.
Then maybe people should not complain if their business is failing or they don't get comments on their blog. Evidently they think their time is more important than making it easy for their visitors but will spend time using gimmicks and tricks to get people to their site.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by HTMLBasicTutor View Post
Then maybe people should not complain if their business is failing or they don't get comments on their blog. Evidently they think their time is more important than making it easy for their visitors but will spend time using gimmicks and tricks to get people to their site.
Spit thinks you're missing his point.

Right, readers know for example, that bloggers didn't create captcha, and that it is used by almost 85% of blogs.

Where did you get that statistic Spit?


Thin air. It looks better than saying MANY BLOGGERS! Anyway, take the site, Blogger for example. You need to fill in a captcha almost 99% of the time when commenting on peoples blogs, and that does not sway most users, it's like typing a comment, it's all part of the process of acknowledge the writers time and sharing your feedback even if that means it'll take a couple seconds longer to do than you'd like!

So what you're saying is that people should realize that most site owners need and rely on captcha, even if a few don't like it?

Yes, something like that. But that is my opinion, and I completely understand why some people don't like captchas. Here's the kicker, while I think that captchas are the best thing since sliced bread, I coded my blog to exclude captchas. Why? Because some of my relatives like to browse it from work sometimes, and one few of them can't ever get it right.

So you're contradicting yourself!?

Not at all, I just don't want to deal with calls at 3am in the morning demanding I disable captcha so that my cousin can comment because he's too lazy to click for 5 seconds to get a new one that he can read.

It all comes down to something HTML mentioned, if you think the only thing left to help you convert traffic is the captcha, and you truly believe there's nothing else for you to do but remove it, and have enough time to deal with the barrage of spam comments and spam emails that will follow, even if you use Askimit which I've used and was not happy with, then go for it!
 
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:53 AM
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I think your number of 99% of blogs have Captcha is high. That number must be influenced by the niche you visit or something. Out of the 350+- blogs I follow in my RSS feed reader there isn't that many that have Captcha.

It's not just blogs that use Captcha, ecommerce sites use it too sometimes. Or even contact forms.

I just don't see the point of putting barriers in the way of my visitors.

Did you see in the referenced articles Captcha isn't foolproof anyways?
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:47 AM
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Hi HTML! First, you accidentally took my 99% comment out of context. If you read the line before it you'll realize I was referring to Blogger blogs.

Spit read the article HTML and would like to state for the record that until someone has broken captcha code themselves, they're not entitled to judge how easy or hard it is to bypass.

Right, and Tim does not have the know how to do so, let alone understanding of how CAPTCHAS are made, to comment on this topic to begin with.

Furthermore, regarding your security comment, Tim stated this basing it on evidence dated back to 2005. The he goes to assume that while CAPTCHAS may have gotten better, spam bots must have too. Of course he has no evidence to back that statement up. Why? Because it's not true. CAPTCHAS effectively keep it spam while Akismet, the alternative he suggested, only catches spam a monkey could identify and usually most of the spam it catches I have already caught with the standard commenting filters of blacklisted words and # of links to allow.

Why do you see it as a barrier? Why not treat it as a spam protection measure that helps sites function better. How many times have we landed on a spam filled blog post because they don't have captcha enabled. How are those webmasters able to distinguish a real comment from a fake one.

Yes, captcha is used other places too, email for one. Could you for example imagine yahoo email without cpatcha? Spammers and BH marketers would have a party using their auto reg software and auto verify spamming tools

Spit understands it's a pain, but what's a couple extra seconds if it makes the site owners life easier and reduces spam making the overall user experience a better one?

I personally don't see captcha as a barrier.
 
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:22 PM
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I have heard of better methods that have fields hidden by CSS and bots see them and fill them in. If fields are filled in then the comment is not sent to the software. Never used them, but they seem more user friendly.
 
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:45 AM
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Eponymous, Spit likes your way of thinking!

I do, there's only one major flaw with that method. Using blog commenting as an example, most spam comment bots are pre-configured with what fields to fill out. The same goes for form spamming bots that register accounts, fill profiles and then post. There are PhpBB bots, SMF bots, IPB bots, all with slightly different configurable fields depending on the structure of the platform they're spamming.

So what you're saying Spit, is that the majority of bots will easily bypass that method?

That's what I'm saying, ego!
 
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:28 PM
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CAPTCHAS can be difficult to read, and sometimes I feel that I'm being punished when I can't identify one letter or number and I am forced to type a new one again and again, but I've noticed that some CAPTCHA systems like reCAPTCHA do a pretty good job keeping spammers out while also making it easy on the user. Until a better alternative is found, I guess the CAPTCHA will be here to stay.
 
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:05 AM
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Google CAPTCHAs Nearly Blocked Me from Completing Work

You don't have to be disabled to find CAPTCHAs a PIA :
Quote:
One task on today’s to-do list was to set up a Google group for a client to discuss migrating the organization’s static site to WordPress. I haven’t used Google groups, but I have previously used Yahoo groups. Setting up a group in Google shouldn’t be that much different.

The first step required basic information: the group’s name, a brief description and an access level. Once done, I hit the “Create my group” button and was presented with a CAPTCHA for verification purposes:
Google CAPTCHAs Nearly Blocked Me from Completing Work

Be honest, can you read any of those CAPTCHAs?
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTMLBasicTutor View Post
Be honest, can you read any of those CAPTCHAs?
It's up to the webmaster to make the choice of whether they are easy to read or not. Easy, medium or hard - at least with the software I use. Hard is annoying as you have pointed out but the others are easier for people to use.

Easy captcha is just an attempt to try and stop the automated stuff and let the humans achieve. Otherwise websites would be deluged with SEOffal.
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by boblord666 View Post
It's up to the webmaster to make the choice of whether they are easy to read or not. Easy, medium or hard - at least with the software I use. Hard is annoying as you have pointed out but the others are easier for people to use.

Easy captcha is just an attempt to try and stop the automated stuff and let the humans achieve. Otherwise websites would be deluged with SEOffal.
Actually, it's up to the site owner if they want CAPTCHA or not, not the webmaster or developer. If they realized how detering it is for legit users they would have second thoughts.

Did you read the article I referenced? Can you read any of the screenshots in that article?
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTMLBasicTutor View Post
Actually, it's up to the site owner if they want CAPTCHA or not, not the webmaster or developer. If they realized how detering it is for legit users they would have second thoughts.

Did you read the article I referenced? Can you read any of the screenshots in that article?
Yeah I did and no I can't see any screenshots - FF 3.613 is the usual browser and I just tried IE and Chrome. No pictures at all. Probably me though.
 
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Old 02-05-2011, 07:13 AM
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IMO, I don't mind CAPTCHAS at all if I can read them or answer a simple question to satisfy the thing.

I abhor the the distorted type ones and if a site has distorted and timed one I simply leave. I did not sign up for a youtube account for that very reason. I tried, got pissed and left. Finally they allowed me to use an existing login so I do have access.

So CAPTCHAS can be a good tool or an evil thing depending on how they are implemented.
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Old 02-05-2011, 07:18 AM
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Some CAPTCHA are ok to me, but others well you know are just horrible. If I have to refresh the image more than 3 times to find something that is actually readable, I just exit the site and don't even bother.

That's after refreshing over 50 times on a reCAPTCHA to get something readable once.
 
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:54 AM
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Man I hate captchas. I almost ALWAYs get them wrong the first try unless they are very easy. There are also softwares and services now that crack captchas within seconds so they are becoming ineffective against spammers.
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Old 02-05-2011, 03:17 PM
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I think captchas could be made a lot better than they are. Firstly the idea of typing something in gets annoying, it should be a simple task of clicking somewhere.

I'm sure there are much more secure ways of creating a human verification. Character recognition software seems to keep catching up to Captcha. Text is one of the simplest things for a computer program to understand, it seems stupid to use it as a human verification.

Why not have a row of say 4 small images / icons, 'click the female', 'click the dog' etc? With an unlimited supply of streaming images to use for the female/dog/cat/boat etc it would be impossible to exploit.
 
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelaron View Post
There are also softwares and services now that crack captchas within seconds so they are becoming ineffective against spammers.
reCAPTCHA ( http://www.google.com/recaptcha ) to this day has not been cracked by a bot. Spammers that get passed reCAPTCHA are humans who enter the captcha, and then run the bot.
 
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dWhite View Post
reCAPTCHA ( http://www.google.com/recaptcha ) to this day has not been cracked by a bot. Spammers that get passed reCAPTCHA are humans who enter the captcha, and then run the bot.
It has, unless they've very recently updated it.
 
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