Monday, March 12, 2012

My word verification hell




I have wrestled long and hard with my conscience before posting this. I feel like an old guy in a grubby rain coat who has spent the last 50 years keeping a dirty secret to himself: "Psst I get off on surgical casts."

Thankfully this is not my confession but it's almost as embarrassing. OK here goes. I regularly fail word verification.

I'm not sure if I'm alone in this but the letters are often so funny and jumbled they are hard to read. Somebody is clearly having a laugh. What's most alarming is there's a spiel that says you have to go through the ordeal of word verification to prove you are human, and by implication, not a robot.

(Pause to remove a small aerial from the back of head).

This is unnerving because robots are generally not sympathetic sorts of fellows. Ash in Ridley Scott's 1979 movie Alien was a robot and he lacked the quality of empathy that humans can occasionally display. Ash was also played by Ian Holm who was later to be cast in the role of another sinister character with hairy feet to boot (or rather no boot),  - Bilbo Baggins.

Ash is eventually deactivated. He's also decapitated. But his decapitated head is reactivated to provide the crew the truth about the bloodless one. Ash tells the crew the company installed him on board the spaceship to ensure the creature was brought to them, and the crew's lives were expendable, all of which sounds about par for the course for your average US company, even if it's not spelled out in the manual on the day you meet the nice man from HR.

After informing the crew all they know about the creature, that has already wrecked John Hurt's lunch, Ash tells the crew, "You have my sympathies," regarding their chances of survival.

The crew don't appear to believe Ash's head is any more sincere than the rest of him was. Ripley pulls the plug on Ash and Parker burns his head.

And nobody lives happily ever after. The excursion into Alien took me some way away from word verification, but you get the drift.

Normally I don't have much to do with word verification. I'll avoid your blog like a mild bout of the black death if you have word verification on the comments. It's not personal.

But in the wonderful world of marketing I find myself coming across word verification on numerous occasions. None of them are pleasant as the wall would be able to testify if walls could testify.

I really can't see the point of this torture. The official line from Blogger on word verification is: "What this does is to prevent automated systems from adding comments to your blog, since it takes a human being to read the word and pass this step.

"If you've ever received a comment that looked like an advertisement or a random link to an unrelated site, then you've encountered comment spam. A lot of this is done automatically by software which can't pass the word verification, so enabling this option is a good way to prevent many such unwanted comments."

Grudgingly I concede there's a point to it but I'll take the unwanted comments. They must be lonely if nobody else does.

I'm also scratching my head about why the letters need to be so bizarre looking and illegible. Surely there's a better way. I'm sure it was easier to make out the writings on the side of a pyramid.

A few days ago I discovered there is something of an alternative in that a voice can instead tell you what the characters are.

The trouble is the voice is tinny and sinister and guaranteed to completely put you off your stride. It sounds a bit like Ash telling me: "You have my sympathies."








19 comments:

  1. Word verification is pretty annoying, although it is funny to see the combinations of words sometimes. I actually don't even know if I have it on my blog. I don't think so. My blog isn't big enough to have the problem of spammers hitting it all of the time, but I imagine it would get old after awhile. However, it wouldn't be that hard to just delete the few spam comments one may get occasionally.

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  2. I get those damn letters wrong all the time-not a fan of word verification.

    Love the Alien tangent.

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  3. I know Tara - I did have it here but killed it. haven't had much spam since. True it sucks Tim

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  4. I am terrible at the word verification thing. On the "captcha" ones, sometimes I have to get it to give me a new one 2-3 times before I get it. Sux!!

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  5. Agreed. 100% agreed! And they are only making it harder to read now. Were the robots learning to read it the first way? Should we be worried that they're getting smarter? I think so.

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  6. I hate the word verification too, especially this newest version on Blogger. It is a real pain to get the letters right. I took it off of my blog comments, but now I'm dealing with endless spam comments every day. They are really getting annoying too. I'm pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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  7. Yes, there have to be more effective measures to decipher human from robot, than to require a person to type out letters that are indecipherable to the human eye. And what's the problem with a robot following someone's blog anyway? I'm just grateful I'm not sent to the Principal's office for all the times I've failed.

    xoRobyn

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  8. I fail at it all the time.. pain in the butt for sure. I do get some spam, but not enough to be a bother and I do have my blog to require annon. comments to be moderated so they don't get posted anyway. i find most spam is posted by this anon dude.

    Ticketmaster and the like us WV..drives me nuts cuz the time you to put it in and pick the tickets.. grrr

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  9. The old wv was much easier to use. Why did Blogger change to captcha, does anyone know?

    I hate it, I know that.

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  10. I'm so glad you said that because I detest word verification. I also fail regularly at it!!! Surely mid-to-late 30s is too old to be failing such things?? I don't use it on my blogs. I'm just quite vigilant with spam and delete it immediately.

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  11. You have my sympathies too, David. Word-veri. Ack! Hate it. Won't do it to my readers!

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  12. Ummm you are not alone at all. I fail that crap all the time. What's worse is that last week I encountered a word verif when I was buying concert tix with Rian. I could not for the life of me figure out the letters. They were all distorted and jumbled. Rian got impatient and was like "it's obviously J, O," etc. Of course he got it right. I felt like a legit dumb ass.

    I don't have word verif on mine. I refuse.

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  13. for sure Valley Writer - I have failed at least four times on occasions. Could be it Vinnie - the robots will always win in the end.

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  14. That's weird Daisy - I removed mine some time back and I haven't had many problems with spam, I guess yours is more popular.

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  15. I don't think mine is more popular, David. I think I probably just have more posts overall. The more posts, the more spam. Most of the spam for me lands on very old posts of mine, and the spam comments are very obviously robot generated. I don't know how they find my blog, but I'm pretty sure it's not because it is popular.

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  16. four real Robyn. I'm fine with a few robot followers to boost numbers. I'm with you Vodka. Enough to make you hit the bottle

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  17. oh you are more up than me on it Sarah. Does seem harder now, tho. Yep think I struck a goldmine of ill feeling, Emm.

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  18. which is cool with me, Jayne. Lol, Jennifer - try it after a few beers.

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  19. Ah, so that's what word verification is! I don't come across it much. Not so bad when you touch type.

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