Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in Write | 16 comments

Am I the only one who can’t read CAPTCHA?

Am I the only one who can’t read CAPTCHA?

I read quite a few blogs every day, and I generally post a reply when I think a blog post has been particularly interesting or comment-worthy. But quite often, I’ve gone to the trouble of typing my entire response and hitting Post only to discover that the blog in question is “protected” by CAPTCHA, and that before my fascinating comment can be published, I have to pass the CAPTCHA test to prove I’m human.

Any guesses?

When CAPTCHA first appeared, I generally passed this test first time around and all was fine with the world. I think that CAPTCHA used real words then, so I had some hope of guessing what a particularly obscured letter was. But the real words seem to be long gone.

Something, butter?

These days, it’s not surprising for it to take two or even three attempts before I type the correct sequence of letters. Tonight I actually gave up trying to comment on one blog because I failed the CAPTCHA test three times. Apparently I am not human enough this evening. Is it an “i” or a “1” or an “l”? A “q” or a “g”? A “w” or a “ur”? Groan.

But before I feel too sorry for myself, I should spare a thought for the people employed by spammers in some parts of the world to beat CAPTCHA systems. According to the CAPTCHA article on Wikipedia, spammers pay between $0.80 and $1.20 for every 1000 CAPTCHA’s solved. Oh my God. I dread to think how long it would take me to solve a thousand of the things! What a nightmare of a job! At my current rate, I’d be lucky to earn a dollar a day!


  1. 🙂 Love this one, Lisa! :)) So very often I’m frustrated that I can’t understand other people… and than i see the captcha……. :))

  2. Last week I spent about 15 minutes trying to prove I was human (I REALLY wanted to post that particular comment!) but eventually had to give up as it became clear that I was never going to succeed in reading the thing correctly. By the end I was almost beginning to wonder myself whether I was in fact human.  But if I was an automated program I’m sure my house would be cleaner than it is….

  3. mjjhuy?

    captcha (or at least some similar program) uses actual text, scanned from old documents. They’re crowdsourcing OCR correction. Often if they show you two words, the first is one they have a correct answer for, and the second one they’re building a database to establish the correct answer.

    •  So would I be right in thinking that we now have the easy stuff done? And all that’s left is the stuff that no one can figure out! That would explain a lot!

      •  Oh look! It even explains it in the screenshot that I took of the reCAPTCHA widget. Goes to show how much attention I pay to those CAPTCHA boxes!

        • I have been reading some blogs about CAPTCHA’s and I was redirected to this article. Since this blog is powered by WordPress, you have better protection from spammers, but you really cannot blame those people (bloggers I mean) for availing difficult to read CAPTCHA’s since being bombarded by comment spams is really irritating. I personally do not like to comment on blogs with comment spams. So let’s just be more understanding.

          It really boils down to us if we still want to post that comment despite several attempts, I mean, is that blog really worth it? If it is, then your extra effort won’t be wasted. 🙂

          •  3 attempts! That’s my limit – no matter how good the blog is! 🙂

          • Well, I suppose it’s good enough… and I also would not like to try it five times anyway. 😀 That’s just one good comment gone because of security reasons. I was just at the idea of “cooperating with security procedures at malls even if you are not a terrorist (or you don’t have any explosive or gun with you)” because it will eventually do you good too. That’s basically the idea of CAPTCHA anyway..

  4. Tried five times yesterday to solve the CAPTCHA so that I could pay the annual household charge. Finally gave up with the site logged me out for too many failed attempts.  

    • Five times! You have far more patience than me! Does the household charge site allow you to listen to the audio version?

      • It does but my sound card was disabled – willl give it another go later

  5. I’m the same, I’m terrible at getting them, it’s the way it’s always in a wave or half covered that gets me. I mean I can read two words just not when one’s playing hard to get!
    I tend to refresh until I find one I’m pretty sure on, but again after 3 or so times I’ve been known to give up. I get why they’re used but still grrrr sometimes!!

    •  I think giving up after trying a few times is totally understandable! That’s what I tell myself anyway!

  6. This is me. I absolutely loathe captcha. It’s even harder for me to get it right because I’m usually reading blogs on my phone while holding a sleeping baby. So, more often than not, if I see captcha I don’t bother to leave a comment, which isn’t good of me, I know.

    •  I think reading and replying on my phone may be part of my problem too. I’d say I do the majority of my blog reading on my phone, and definitely some formats make it more difficult than others to reply when you’re using a mobile device.

%d bloggers like this: