I am not the only one!

The dreaded CAPTCHA.

I read blogs for enjoyment or go to websites for information and not to be put to a test or treated like I am a robot or terrorist. If you want me to visit your blog and comment, then make it easy to do so and do not put barriers in my way. In other words make me welcome. I wonder how many visitors have turned on their metaphorical heel because of them?

Using a CAPTCHA involves looking at an image which consists of some distorted text before typing the two words that we see in a box. Today I took a sampling of a few to prove my point. They are on the image attached.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Five samples. The request is always the same: ‘Type the two words’.

  • In sample one which two words do they mean?
  • In the second, the number is blurred and the letters in the word run into each other.
  • Is there anything printed in the third graphic?
  • Number four is the easiest sample I came across today.
  • Finally in the last one is the graphic a number six, a zero or a door knocker?

Not everyone that uses the internet has 20:20 vision, some of us have embraced the silver circle and with that privilege comes the hurdle of reading small, faded or distorted print. Alas, users with poor vision or no sight at all cannot solve these problems, so an alternative called the Audio CAPTCHA has been developed. Easy, you would think?  No way. In this kind of test, the user must listen to a GARBLED voice and identify the numbers or words that are being spoken.

Computers and the internet have opened so many doors for the visually impaired these days, allowing them to play a full part in the workplace and in social media.

I heard two complaints about these audio CAPTCHAs in recent weeks. Firstly my friend Darragh Ó Héiligh otherwise known as Digital Darragh was saying how difficult it was to understand a particular audio CAPTCHA and even his sighted girlfriend Emma, found it impossible to help him.

The second case was during In Touch, a BBC Radio 4 programme hosted by Peter White, with news and information for blind and partially sighted people. A blind listener phoned in to share his frustration on accessing a Government website about disability payments in the UK. He did manage to fill in forms online, but needed to use an audio CAPTCHA that was impossible to understand. He had nobody sighted with him at the time to help.

Do you think it was the Government’s way of reducing figures for those who require help?

23 thoughts on “I am not the only one!

  1. Grannymar Post author

    Tilly – I knew I was not alone, and for the visually impaired, it must be a real nightmare.

  2. Nelly

    I sorted out the captcha thing on my blog ages ago. I also hate seeing it on other people’s sites. Please let me know if it ever reappears as free sites have a way of changing things without letting users know.

  3. Nick

    I turned off the CAPTCHA on my blog as it’s fiendishly difficult even for me to interpret, with my good eyesight. It means I get a fair amount of spam but i prefer deleting the spam to deterring commenters.

  4. Ursula

    I salute you, Grannymar, for spending time on writing about the annoying captcha. Though your examples are benign. I have come across far worse. The ones where you think it might help standing on your head whilst turning it 180 degrees. And I am most certainly not blind and can decipher even the writing of a doctor’s prescription. And, what I absolutely ‘adore’ is the justification of making sure the commentator is a “real person”. Come again?

    I have abandoned lovingly written comments (no loss to mankind) because the captcha system is not only irritating but time consuming. Why write a comment and then spend twice the time trying to break INTO Fort Knox? As you say, it’s not only unwelcoming, it’s discourteous.


  5. Dianne

    Grannymar, I sure hope you will let me know if my site has become difficult for you to access. I posted a note from one such person for my post today.

    BTW we kept the storm here and you should see no lasting effects headed your way. Dianne

  6. Mike

    I hate them — especially when I’ve taken the time for a lengthy comment and then, when I go to submit it, the CAPTCHA pops up. If I knew it going in to comment, I probably would decline to comment.

  7. Grannymar Post author

    Nelly – Trust me I will tell you.

    Nick – I have a spam catcher on my blog and works well, only the odd spam comment manages to slip through. I do need to check it everyday in case a proper comment goes by that route.

    Ursula – I have come across some completely unreadable CAPTCHAs in the past. I just used a few samples from the hour before I wrote the post. I suppose you could call it the dentist syndrome – you are in agony until you sit in the dentist’s chair and suddenly the pain vanishes. Did Blogger read my mind?

    Dianne – I am very conscious of my friends on the East Coast of the US as they deal with havoc and aftermath of the hurricane. I was teasing you about sending it across the pond.

    Mike – I feel your pain. The sneaky CAPTCHA that appears when you think you are through are particularly horrible.

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Warren – At times I have given up in frustration and never returned to the bothersome blog.

  9. gigi-hawaii

    I agree with you 100%. It is very irritating and frustrating to deal with those things. I complained to Beatrice of Germany about hers, and she said she was shocked because she was completely unaware of it. She managed to find a way to delete it from her blog. What a relief!

  10. Barbara

    I also can’t manage them, especially if they are words as I am dyslexic, so even if it is easy enough to read the chances of spelling the words correctly first time round are slim!! Also if there is a random collection of numbers and letters I have no hope!!

  11. wisewebwoman

    Amen, sistah.

    I was told to only have the capcha appear after my post is on line for 14 days. Spammers only appear when the post is over that time. And so far they are correct. It is no big deal to go in to the spam catcher and delete.
    What I will never understand are bloggers having both the capcha AND comment moderation. Like using a condom and a birth control pill, I suppose.
    I don’t visit them, far too frustrating.
    I agree – the capcha is illegible and I give up after 4 attempts.

  12. Grannymar Post author

    Gigi – You were fortunate, I wrote about it before and a couple of people said they would rather keep the CAPTCHA than deal with deleting the spam!

    Barbara – Another point against the dreaded problem was the added difficulty for anyone with dyslexic problems.

    WWW – I noticed that most of the spam that slips through is directed at old posts.

  13. Delirious

    I am on both sides of this issue. I too have difficulty with some captcha codes. But I am also a blogger who hates spam. Until someone can tell me how to get an easier captcha code, I will still be using them. I’m not really a professional blogger, and started my blog as a way to connect with family and friends. If no one leaves a comment, that’s okay. But I hate the spam more than I hate not getting comments.

  14. Grannymar Post author

    Delirious – I am unable to help you. Do you get spam comments for the new posts or those older than a week? I know a few people who have a setting that if people comment after seven days then they have to use a captcha. That is quite reasonable I think.

  15. The Old Fossil

    I use Blogger like you do, Delirious, and I set the time for moderation of a comment at anything longer than seven days and turned off captcha. So far, I am having no particular problem with spam. Well, other than the fact that the spam filter always thinks shackman is spam, which he most assuredly is not!

  16. Rummuser

    This IS the single most annoying aspect of commenting on blog posts. I can understand the need for captchas, but why make them so difficult to read?

  17. Grannymar Post author

    I am hoping that the conversation between Delores and Fos might help others using captchas.

    Ramana – I wish I knew.


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