August 24, 2012

Word verification for commenting.

I know people have been having more trouble with it lately. I'm going to take it off as an experiment. I've had it on so long, I've forgotten what it was like without it, and who knows if whatever it was will be the situation now? So please don't over-rejoice at its removal, because I might have to turn it back on. I presume I'll get a spate of horrible spam, including endless commercial links dumped in the early morning hours in thousands of old (and new) threads. You think the word verification is difficult, but I can't spend hours a day finding and deleting spam.

If (when) I put the word verification back on, here's a tip: Click the ⟳ until you get one that you find relatively easy to see. Don't waste your time attempting a difficult one.

UPDATE, next morning: It was a pretty good, low-spam over-night here on the blog. I think only 5 or 6 spam comments came in (only one of which was caught by the spam filter, but I found them because I get all comments emailed to me).

99 comments:

Lem said...

I take back everything bad I've ever said about you.

Saint Croix said...

wow

Saint Croix said...

this is like way too easy now

Saint Croix said...

wv always made me stop and think

Tank said...

Dear beloved God, please protect this site from commercial spammers and other scum so that we may remain WV free.

Thank you.

TWM said...

Word verification isn't bad as a rule, but the one you're using (or being forced to use), is like interpreting Sanskrit much of the time.

Christy said...

So can you turn it on and off without much effort? Off during the day and on late at night?

Paddy O said...

I don't have anything to say, just wanted to say something with this newfound freedom.

It's like the internet has been born again.

TosaGuy said...

The previous WV where the letters were not smashed together did add to the fun, but the current one was painful, even when you thought you could make out what it said.

Bryan C said...

Thank you. I've been failing ever other captcha lately. I was starting to worry I might actually be a robot.

Lem said...

I think my computer works faster too now..

MB said...

Too bad you don't have a script that turns word verification on and off at certain times. If the spam peaks at certain times, then that would limit the problem.

Anyone volunteering to step up and write one?

Lem said...

So can you turn it on and off without much effort? Off during the day and on late at night?

Thats a good idea.. imho

Roger J. said...

Professor--appeciate your responsiveness--hope you arent deluged with spam, but at least you are willing to try--thanks
PS--always thought WV was like the Sunday Times crossword--a nice challenge.

madAsHell said...

Kewl !!!

I liked w/v when it generated words that seemed relevant to the topic at hand. Now??....not so much.

Lyssa said...

Wow, this is nicer.

In case you do have to go back to it (and with the caveat that I don't know at all how these things work or what's available for different platforms), Amy Alkon at AdviceGoddess seems to have a good system - instead of typing in some strange smushed up set of characters, it asks you a nonsense question (Ex. "Do people drive to work in cars or pirates?") to which you type in the answer. Easy and sort of funny. Pirates are funny.

Oso Negro said...

What a mercy! But things like crossword puzzles and Sudoku are supposed to be good for the aging brain so perhaps there was some small benefit.

meb said...

Perhaps it would help to shut off comments on older posts?

Curious George said...

WV will be back shortly I predict. I always thought "is it just me that can't do this" but from comments here it seems I actually am pretty good as most of the time I have success the first time.

traditionalguy said...

Your tip at the end is the secret.

alan markus said...

Several times this morning it took me 3 attempts to get through. In the the past I have wondered if one had to get exactly 100% of the characters right - there were a few times I made a wild guess or wasn't so sure I had the right character and the comment went through.

edutcher said...

Gee, and I thought it was me.

But, yes, Oso, my thoughts exactly.

Michael said...

Xcvblg. 16

Saint Croix said...

What I really liked was the WV that had some weird almost-relevance to what I was saying, like puzysnice or urright. And I'd be like, see? WV agrees with me.

Other times WV was like a vanity license plate that I couldn't quite understand. What are you trying to say, WV? Speak to me!

Now it's gone. Bye-bye, WV.

The Farmer said...

This is nice but you're going to get inundated with spam and have to turn it back on. It's too bad this is the only option for Blogger.

And yeah, I never even attempt a word verification unless it's kinda, sorta legible. Which it seldom is. Still, it's better than a lot of spam.

Also, Allie Oop is a stinky libtard.

^
Just trying to fit in. I don't really think you stink at all, Allie. You probably smell like lavender and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Also, I am embarrassed for people who use terms like "libtard."

Jay Vogt said...

That was word verification?

I thought it was a Rorschach test.

edutcher said...

Curious George said...

WV will be back shortly I predict. I always thought "is it just me that can't do this" but from comments here it seems I actually am pretty good as most of the time I have success the first time.

There are real problems with the app (google "blogger word verification" and see all the bloggers who have turned it off). I tried 36 times on one post and it wasn't reading the characters (yes, I typed them in correctly).

AprilApple said...

Is that 3 n's or an m and 1 n or an n an 1 m?

ahhh.

Shanna said...

It was mostly just hard because before you didn't have to put the numbers in and then all of a sudden you did (they didn't have to be right though).

But yeah, glad it's off for now. Of course, by the time I get back from vacation it will probably be on again!

Pogo said...

There has to be a better way,

Balfegor said...

Re: Bryan C:

Thank you. I've been failing ever other captcha lately. I was starting to worry I might actually be a robot.

I always feel a little pinprick of worry when I fail the word verifications. It's like failing a Turing test. Makes one wonder.

In Gene Wolfe's sci-fi novel The Fifth Head of Cerberus, the aboriginal aliens can imitate human form, but not human manual dexterity. Feels a bit like that.

TomHynes said...

Can you make the word verification ridiculously easy? How about "Type my first name" and dump any spambot that says "Anne"?

rehajm said...

This is a great relief. What a time saver. I may now return to my work concerning a customer and, an investment placed under our banks management 3 years ago, I contacted you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication and I would like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you....

Lem said...

Don't waste your time attempting a difficult one.

I got nothing.. I need help.

An overwhelming sense of gratitude has blindsided my compulsion to snark.

I hope this.. blindness is temporary.. otherwise I rather suffer for my art.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can you make the word verification ridiculously easy? How about "Type my first name" and dump any spambot that says "Anne"?"

Good idea, if I had my own website and programmers, but I don't.

Ann Althouse said...

I told you guys not to "over-rejoice." You're over-rejoicing.

DADvocate said...

I guess I can cancel my appointment with the optomologist.

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MayBee said...

Your blogizens are grateful.

EMD said...

Good idea, if I had my own website and programmers, but I don't.

Althou.se seems such a distant, glorious memory.

EMD said...

I told you guys not to "over-rejoice." You're over-rejoicing.

FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!

Ann Althouse said...

I'm getting email telling me I'm going to have to go back to wv because the spam on the old posts is going to simply flood in.

That's what I'm afraid of. Please, don't over-rejoice.

Meade said...

When it is turned back on, remember to not type a space between the two words.

Tank said...

Ann Althouse said...

I told you guys not to "over-rejoice." You're over-rejoicing.


We're like little kids, cute, but we don't listen.

rhhardin said...

What you want is wv on posts nobody is any longer posting to, and none on the new ones.

That limits the places spam can come up.

rhhardin said...

wv wasn't that bad anyway. It's not like you lost the comment you typed in. Keep trying. Practice touch typing.

MadisonMan said...

Two words? I've only been typing just one of the words. That always worked for me until this week.

Oops. User Error, as we say in Software Development.

I'll wait 'til you turn wv back on to see if I've just been being willfully stupid.

Balfegor said...

That's what I'm afraid of. Please, don't over-rejoice.

It's just a quick bit of relief. I certainly expect a flood of spam any minute now, so I don't have any expectation that it will last.

Paddy O said...

Althouse needs an intern.

Lem said...

Comments are down..

If true.. and I'm not conceding it.. it doesn't bode well for Obama..
My impression is the professor has posted more about Obama than anything or any one.. if you follow my logic.. it means regulars like me are spending less time time responding.. which means there are less liberals commenting.. which means they are not exited about their prospects.

briefly.

Meade said...

Paddy O said...
Althouse needs an intern.

Yeah, maybe then I'd finally finish getting the house painted.

ndspinelli said...

"The truth shall make you free." Somehow, this was deleted:

Comments are gone and the pretentious wv is now gone. Coincidence?

Please explain what rule was violated and I am NOT going to email you. This needs the cleansing sunlight you often abhor.

ndspinelli said...

Comments are "down"..not gone, my bad.

Meade said...

Calm down, ndspinelli. I was just practice shooting and yours was an easy target.

Issob Morocco said...

I dunno, it reminds me of my days in CIA doing photo and document visual reconstructions and assessments.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

This gonna increease my tipos, that I sometimes catch after faaling the WV 5 or 6 times.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Thank God. Now I can start commenting again.

Oso Negro said...

It is difficult to not over-rejoice. Honestly, sometimes I have had trouble even making out all of the numbers.

James said...

Rush just blamed the NYC shooting on Obama's daily criticism of entrepreneurs and job creators. He was being absurd to make a point but I expect the Web to explode in a few minutes.

EMD said...

When it is turned back on, remember to not type a space between the two words.

You can put a space in between the 'word' and the number.

Meade said...

You can? I couldn't.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have become a used to WV, and Blogger's is not the worst, though I am not a fan of the numbers, since on many an occasion I can't read the numbers, and have to guess. Most often that has worked in the past, but...

Right now, I think that WV of some sort is the reality of a more mature Internet, which now comes with its predators - in this case, not the physical type, but rather, those who wish to appropriate our mental bandwidth for their unrelated, but completely selfish, purposes.

I think that maybe the problem with Blogger is that while you have to sign up to use it, maybe, it is so easy to do so, and there are so many people signed up with Google, that it becomes almost impossible to them to police such.

Maybe on the positive side for WV, is that it makes it incrementally harder to comment, and that slows, just a little bit, the more frivolous comments. I contrast this with sites, like Volokh, which don't require WV, and where I, at least, tend to respond with one or two liners, which I often don't here (but, that site doesn't really work with Firefox, so have to use an IE tab, which is a pain, so I tend to respond less frequently, but more often when I do).

ndspinelli said...

Meade, I'm calm and relentless, don't be confused. Remember my love for Joe Frazier, Joe just comn'. It's the blue collar in me.

Your Reds have a big series. I love Dusty. Ran into him in a Mexican restaurant after a Cub Cardinal games back a few years. His Cubs lost a tough one and he was @ the restaurant SHORTLY after the game drinking margaritas w/ 2 knockout blondes. A Dusty sandwich later? Anyway, he is a genuinely nice guy and was pleasant even though there were 2 Cards fans w/ me wearing caps. Dusty's Achilles heel is pitching. He has mismanaged pitching throughout his career. I would love to see him win a ring but he needs to overcome that hurdle.

Original Mike said...

Tried WV 8 times last night to post an item. My eyesight isn't as good late at night, but that was ridiculous.

For the last one (the successful one), I included the number in the separate box. I think they changed the rules.

Alex said...

Simple solution - use Facebook commenting engine.

Ivy said...

Google has a great spam filter and I think you will be pleasantly surprised

dbp said...

All of this reminds me of that historic time when Althouse turned on the comments at Instapundit.

We few, we happy few, we band of commenters;
For he to-day that commented on Instapundit with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in the blogosphere now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not able to comment that day!

Methadras said...

To be honest with you Ann, the word verification with the numbers included rarely worked well. I could bypass the verification most of the time by not putting in the numbers.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeez - can't win -I was finally getting good at the WV.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeez - can't win -I was finally getting good at the WV.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

I told you guys not to "over-rejoice." You're over-rejoicing.

Please, mum, one little "Huzzah"?

Todd said...

Mmmmmm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

john said...

I think the alternative would be running conference calls.

Or a party line.

victoria said...

OMG, I thought it was just me.Phew.

Vicki from Pasadena

wyo sis said...

I will be happy in a restrained and dignified way, and resigned without whining when wv returns.

The above is me straining not to over rejoice.

chickelit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

I enjoyed word verification version 1.0 It almost had a mind of its own and it was kinda fun to tack them onto the end of a comment. But when they switched to version 2.0 with the Euro house numbers, WV became a pain. But it never rose to the level of comment estoppel.

Scott M said...

No joke. I populated around three dozen character names using WV from your website, Ann. Hopefully it will make for a semi-amusing story at a con someday.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Wow, it's true. It's really, really true!

Judith said...

Instead of word verification, which drives me crazy, how about very simple randomly generated analogies (i.e., "puppy is to dog as kitten is to ___?" Or familiar completions ("Rolling ____ Band")? Wouldn't this thwart spammers as well as word verif.?

David said...

If this brings Sir Archy back, I am all for it.

chickelit said...

Meade wrote: Yeah, maybe then I'd finally finish getting the house painted.

You shouldn't waste time here fixing things that aren't of your making.

I've gotten enormous satisfaction lately out of lanscaping projects around the house.

SteveR said...

I agree with Pogo, there has got to be an easier way.

Quaestor said...

Word verification isn't bad as a rule, but the one you're using (or being forced to use), is like interpreting Sanskrit much of the time.

The old WV routine was actually fun, and I do miss it still. The near-words it provided were often strangely apropos to the topic of our conversations, and we could often play the wv game, providing our own snarky definitions and puns suggested by the verification string.

creeley23 said...

With verification removed it feels more like a conversation rather than sending telegrams to the thread.

Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse among other interface innovations, pointed out that tools matter -- writing with a pen is quite different from writing with a pen attached to a brick.

Ann, thanks for removing the brick, if even temporarily.

Quaestor said...

Instead of word verification, which drives me crazy, how about very simple randomly generated analogies (i.e., "puppy is to dog as kitten is to ___?" Or familiar completions ("Rolling ____ Band")? Wouldn't this thwart spammers as well as word verif.?

Sadly, no. IBM Watson proves that a having a fund of trivial information available for rapid recall is no longer an advantage held by humans over their computers. One area where we do hold an overwhelming advantage over computers and information processing systems is in extracting meaningful patterns from within background randomness (i.e. noise). The strings and photographed numbers that the current blogger wv system uses are extremely noisy for that reason.

This weakness is the subject of research at AI and robotics labs around the world. The Pentagon's DARPA is funding dozens of major research projects aimed at providing robotic systems with practical pattern-seeking ability. If it is achieved the first use will be highly secret for decades (at least that is the hope) and will be used in autonomous weapon systems which will be able to detect and destroy enemy assets even when hidden or camouflaged.

Carnifex said...

I liked WV if only for the fact it was so annoying you really had to want to say something. Get some skin in the game. I predict the spam will be back soon and wv will be back by noon tomorrow. Anybody wanna do an over/under on it?

Ps.

the last few comments I had 1 wv that had 1 gibberish word, and 2 numbers. A double digit number on top of a triple digit number.(or vice versa) Regardless, I chose wisely.

Unknown said...

I'm dyslexic. They're ALL difficult.

So...
Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Sharc said...

Finally. Now, can I interest anyone in one weird trick to enhance your love life?

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: Click the ⟳ until you get one that you find relatively easy to see.

This a clever use of the symbol ⟳ and reminds me of how chemical structure symbols ease discussion (for the initiated).

Why be stuck with 24 different characters?

Paddy O said...

I just wanted to say that I'm still rejoicing. I refuse to let my rejoicing be squelched!

Baron Zemo said...



My dear fellow Sir Archy and many another former spirit will never return to this house of horrors.
But despair not. You have Allie Oop and Lindsey Meadows!!!!

Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!!!!!!

Ann Althouse said...

"My dear fellow Sir Archy and many another former spirit will never return to this house of horrors.
But despair not. You have Allie Oop and Lindsey Meadows!!!!"

So what are you saying, Baron? That you're another incarnation of Theo? Or Trooper? Or one of the lesser cohort?

EMD said...

I didn't bother rejoicing. I was already pretty joiced.

Paco Wové said...

"If [practical pattern-seeking ability] is achieved [it] will be used in autonomous weapon systems which will be able to detect and destroy enemy assets even when hidden or camouflaged."

And the next day, it will be used for spamming blogs.

From Inwood said...

Prof A

My eye doc just said that I don't need cataract surgery. Really

I was getting worried.

I told him to use your site for his test & he'd get richer than Croesus.

Michael Haz said...

(Emily Litella voice on)

What's all this talk about WV?? I thought your vacation was in MT??

(Emily Litella voice off)

trishthedish said...

Testing this site for the pure joy of being allowed to speak without frustrating hoops to jump through.