Monday, February 20, 2012

nuts and bolts

This is a message for the authors of all the blogs I follow.

One of the few rewards of maintaining a blog is the possibility of a dialog with readers. That dialog can be hampered by excessive security measures including moderation and captcha features. I turned off moderation from the beginning, meaning that comments on my postings immediately appear. I have not seen any ill result from this decision to date, though blogs with more controversial content may show a different result.

I have also today turned off the captcha feature which requires commenters to type in some nonsense words which are displayed on their screen before a comment will be recorded. This seems like a good way to avoid robot spammers, and it probably does discourage them. However, the captcha feature on blogger has recently become excessively burdensome in my opinion. One is now required to discern and reproduce two nonsense words that are often very hard to interpret. It routinely takes me three or four tries to get the captcha message right when I leave comments on blogs. That has got to be cutting into the exchange of ideas. Of course, if I now start seeing massive spam attacks on my blogs, I'll have to reconsider my decision. In the meantime, I hope others will give it a try. You can always revert to heavier security if it is really needed.  Note too that Blogger has built-in comment spam detection and will flag suspicious comments and hold publication for your express approval.

Since blog authors don't see the captcha feature when they make a comment on their own blogs, they may not be aware of how irritating this feature can be. If you check it out and want to turn off captcha, it is easily done, but you may have to reactivate the old blogger interface if you have switched to the new one. Here is a helpful set of instructions for doing that which I found in the blogger help forum from "Late Night Guy":

Unless DarkUFO knows of a way on the new interface, there isn't one. You need to go back to the old interface to turn off word verification. From the new Blogger dashboard page, click the gear symbol under your profile picture and select "Old Blogger interface." On the old dashboard page, click on "Settings" then click on the "Comments" link below the tabs. That will get you to where you can unselect word verification. Click "Save Settings" at the bottom of that page when you are done. there is a link in the upper right hand corner of the old dashboard page so you can get back to the new interface. I hope this helps.

I still have the policy in place and after nine days it seems to be working fine.  Comments with links, usually to some Viagra pitch, are automatically routed to my email inbox where they can be easily deleted.  So the Google/Blogger spam filter seems to be working fine as far as I'm concerned.  Since I also have the ability to delete comments which I deem inappropriate for whatever reason, I feel I am still in control of the situation.

1 comment:

robert said...

Thanks, I didn't realize it had appeared on my blog too. It's turned off now so commenting should be painless.