|Loneybu to you too! Is that a fraction?! Are you serious?|
Ahem. Sorry 'bout that. I got a little carried away. But if you find yourself with a permanent QWERTY face tattoo over the frustration that is word verification, you'll understand exactly how I feel about the whole thing. (Team Disable CAPTCHA over here)
So what is CAPTCHA and what purpose does it serve?
"A CAPTCHA is a program that can tell whether its user is a human or a computer...CAPTCHAs are used by many websites to prevent abuse from "bots," or automated programs usually written to generate spam."**
It's what you see when you leave a comment on a word verification enabled blog. Actually, what you see is a string of letters and numbers called reCAPTCHA. I'm not going to lie, the idea behind reCAPTCHA is really interesting. While it's keeping spambots from having a field day, it's also helping to digitize books and newspapers. Especially with old texts, computers still aren't able to decipher difficult to read fonts. That's where we come in. If enough people agree that this mess of letters says loneybu, then it's safe to assume that this is correct. Score: Humans 1 Toasters 0 (if you don't get that reference you aren't geeky enough). For more info on this digitizing text thing, see this video: CAPTCHA (Thanks, Colin, for directing my attention to it.)
Why are people so rabidly anti-CAPTCHA?
1) We all follow a number of blogs. We have limited time to swing by, read a post, and then leave a comment before moving on to the next blog. Having to type in CAPTCHA slows readers down and quickly becomes frustrating.
2) Lately the CAPTCHA words/numbers have been especially bad. (See photo above.***) On an average day, I have to re-type CAPTCHAs not once, but a number of times when commenting. And you know what? I have near 20/20 vision.
But what about the dreaded
About a year or more ago, I removed word verification from my blog, and I've gotten only about 2 or 3 spammy-ish comments in all that time. And it was completely harmless, nonsensical stuff. If you're concerned about spambots, you can always set up comment moderation (Settings > Posts and Comments > Comment Moderation) as an alternative.
Here's the thing...
It's entirely up to you whether your blog has word verification or not. I'm not here to bully you into removing it. What I am trying to suggest is that you might be missing out on comments because readers would rather not go a round or two (or ten) with CAPTCHA. Comments are one of the main ways that we know people are reading what we post, and it's how we connect. If it takes readers twice as long to battle CAPTCHA as it does to type up a comment in the first place, they'll be less likely to bother. Or they'll leave all grumpy-pants and that's not something I, as a blogger, want to cause.
So how do I get rid of CAPTCHA?
If you haven't actually gone to your settings and disabled word verification, you've got a raging case of the CAPTCHAs.
Here's how to cure it:
Go to your Dashboard, select SETTINGS, then POSTS AND COMMENTS, scroll to SHOW WORD VERIFICATION and select NO from the dropdown. That should do it. If you're worried it's still lurking, ask one of your commenters to let you know whether or not it's officially gone. Again, don't feel like you have to remove it. This is just my own opinion and you're free to disregard it. It's something to consider, though.
* Thank you, Vizzini for inspiring this.
** From the reCAPTCHA site.
*** This is a screenshot I took when I was leaving a comment on someone's blog one day. Seriously.