Sunday, March 24, 2013

Have Some Site News. That's Almost As Good As a Review, Right?

I actually finished Anthropology on Saturday, but I'm having trouble figuring out what I want to say about it for the review.  So, rather than rush that out, let me update you all on a change I made to the site: I've added a word-verification step to comments.

I imagine that most of you are reacting to this news with either an apathetic shrug and a "So what?" or an eye roll accompanied by a muttered "It's about time."  Spam's been a problem in the comments for almost a year, but it's really gotten ridiculous in the last couple of months, and I'm tired of cleaning up posts multiple times a day.  I'm guessing those bot posts aren't any more popular with you all than they are with me.

Still, this is something I really didn't want to do, because it creates a barrier to entry.  Having to read and retype a few letters isn't a big barrier to entry, sure, but that doesn't mean it's not real.  I don't like it when other sites use Capcha or similar services, and I know it makes me less likely to post on sites that do; I've lost lengthy comments to a bad guess on a word-verification challenge before (I really should save my comments before submitting, but who remembers to do that?), and just seeing that such a setup is in place makes me less likely to toss in my two cents.  I don't like the thought that someone could read one of my posts, type up something intelligent and insightful, then lose it to the ether and not bother to re-type it.  I hate the idea of losing that dialogue because I put up a roadblock to conversation.

But, I also hate the idea of conversation being impeded by a cadre of robotic hustlers, and it looks like I have to pick one or the other.  Anyway, we'll see how this goes.  Hopefully people don't feel shut out and spam goes away, but if that's not how things work out, I'll try something different (what?  I don't know.  Something).  And at least this way, I can (hopefully) preserve anonymous commenting--almost everyone who comments here uses an account, but I can't, don't, and won't feel comfortable telling anyone who doesn't have gmail, openID, or whatever that they aren't allowed to have an opinion.  So, here's to giving word-verification a shot: may it solve more problems than it creates.

15 comments:

  1. Testing, testing. First, two, three.

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    1. Eh. That wasn't so bad.

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  2. The spam was funny at first, but it has been getting pretty annoying lately. Is there a way to only have word-verification for anonymous commenters? That would mitigate its negative impact

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    1. One problem I've been having: the numbers are too darn small! I can just refresh though, so it's not too big a deal

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    2. As a fun fact for anyone else having said problem: Instead of the numbers, you can actually just type in... anything. For example, I got the word, "ersamef," and the blurry number 206, but instead just entered "ersamef," then the word "pony". Still worked. Ersamef is all that matters. I don't know why, but that's how captchas work. One of the words is always fake.

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    3. You're impeding science! Well, actually just Google Maps, but still

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  3. Between the risk of a couple of people losing their comment and the reality of a bunch of annoying spammers, I'd say adding the captcha is a good choice.

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  4. So..is the review coming out later today, or Wednesday?

    Either way, as unfortunate as it is to have to take this step, it's gotten pretty bad with the spam lately. I log in, hoping to see what new comments the wonderful and smart people who read this blog have to offer, and instead get barraged with offers for penis flashlights and pizzas.

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    1. There was pizza?! Dang, I could've gone for that :(

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  5. Heh, I expected Anthropology to be easier for you. And I wasn't expecting a terribly positive review. I like it, but I'm aware of its many flaws. Of course, I like Background Pony to, so I may just have terrible taste. (And, no, not everything I like is Lyra centric. :-)

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    1. Oh, and the CAPTCHA doesn't bother me at all. I run sites that get spam as well, so I'm sympathetic to the problem, and the CAPTCHA here, RECAPTCHA is pretty good while simultaneously doing good work creating digital copies of out-of-copyright books.

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  6. I had just recently been noticing the uptick in spam (I follow comments to this blog via RSS, so I get everything) and was wondering if it wasn't time for you to put your foot down somehow. I think this is a far more egalitarian solution than outright denying anonymous comments. You'll likely find that it doesn't affect commenters quite as much as you think. :)

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  7. Yeah, probably a minor effect at most. I've long since learned to copy comments before posting, thanks to the intermittent downtime that plagues Ponychan at times.

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  8. I've used several sites before that make use of captcha, and it never bothered me there. In fact, on those sites it was a tremendous positive because it meant idiots generally didn't have the patience to go through them all to shitpost anymore. Then again, that was a site with a large idiot population, whereas just about every non-spam comment here is usually rather insightful, so I don't think much idiot filtering is necessary.

    Spam filtering though definitely is. So I have no problem with this.

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  9. I can so seldom:

    Think of anything to say that when I do, no mere word puzzles will keep me from it! I sometimes have a little trouble getting my peculiar eyes to decipher the things, but as long as it gives me a couple chances, well, what could possibly go wrong?

    Mike

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