“Captcha” added to protect against automated comment spam

On the advice of my hosting service, I’ve added a “captcha” plug-in which will require you to retype a word or phrase when you leave a comment (or when registering as a user, or doing a few other things).

Most of you have likely dealt with these before. They are designed to prevent automated spam robots from submitting an overload of comments and overwhelming a site, as happened here earlier today.

I hope that you’ll be okay with this. My few options included requiring everyone to register with a valid email address, but that would make anonymous comments much more difficult.

So I’m going to give this system a try.

Please report any problems you have with it. There are several similar plug-ins to choose from, so some trial-and-error may be in order.

Thanks for participating in these online discussions.

6 responses to ““Captcha” added to protect against automated comment spam

  1. Hi, Ian,
    using the captcha is a small price to pay for defeating spammers. I am appalled that you were targeted — and I hope you track them down and name them!

  2. I hate to be paranoid, but did you read Glen Greenwald’s article from yesterday, posted today on Reader Supported News:

  3. A tax forum that I participate in was taken down by spammers last year. It got so bad, the site was down for about a month while the owners tried to clean things up.

    Prior to its take down, the two monitors said they spent several hours a day just trying to keep up with the spam. One of the things that was recommended at least two years prior to the take down was a CAPTCHA. They still haven’t implemented it and continue to put the site at risk. You’re smart to at least try it.

  4. Given recent and ongoing advances in artificial intelligence, I give it two years max before machines will make this obsolete.

  5. My website has been attacked continuously since Sept. 2012, logging several thousand spambot hits per month. Blogger.com works differently, and it was simply exceedingly annoying–I had to sort out the real comments from the spam, but I did that with a Baynesian filter.

    Ultimately, I put in the Captcha code–and I still get 3-4 a day.

    There are algorithms that can solve some captchas, and a whole industry (in India, for example) where people are paid a small sum to solve captchas. One can even subscribe to those services to solve the captchas received in a web browser. So what we have is kind of a captcha war, I think. Oh, well. There are certainly better things to do than fight spammers, so I hope your countermeasures are successful.

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