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Comment spam and reCAPTCHA

Posted: 2010-05-31 21:38:41, Categories: General, 268 words (permalink)

reCAPTCHA screenshot I just installed the reCAPTCHA system to prevent comment spam in this blog. Whenever you want to write a comment to one of the articles, you will need to type two words displayed in an image before clicking the "Send comment" button. For example, in the image on the right (which is just a screenshot, not a working captcha) you'd have to type "blast spawned". I hope it'll not be too much of an annoyance.

Comment spam means "comments" whose main purpose is not to respond to the article, but to advertise another website. A typical spam comment is something like "Very nice article! Maybe you'd like to buy product X from website Z?" At least for half a year I've been receiving several such comments per day, usually posted by automated programs instead of people. I have to approve the comments before they get displayed on the site so readers won't see them, but it's annoying to spend time deleting spam.

The cool thing about reCAPTCHA is that it not only stops spammers but also does something useful. The puzzles presented by reCAPTCHA are actually words which an optical character recognization (OCR) program in a digitization project has not been able to read correctly. However, humans usually can! So every time someone solves one of the reCAPTCHA puzzles it helps in digitizing old books, newspapers or radio shows!

Please tell me if you have any difficulties in using the system and posting a comment. You can always send me a private message without solving any of the reCAPTCHA puzzles.

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Copyright Arto Teräs <ajt@iki.fi>, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(Unless otherwise mentioned in individual photos or other content.)