So last week, on my personal blog, I had an experience with a website that prompted me to write an email to a company, and then write about it on my personal site (which, I only just started, so bear with me on that). I wrote about My Pre-Coffee Email to yfrog.
There is a brief explanation in that post about CAPTCHA’s, and I’ll copy it over there.
“Trust me, you know what that is. It’s that completely illegible picture of words some websites make you fill out before you can click the submit button for ANYTHING (look at that picture on the left). And you fill it out 5 times, cussing the whole way, and either your post or message gets through, or you give up in frustration and leave the site, still cussing up a storm.”
And that, in essence, is a CAPTCHA.
Frankly, there is a lot of debate in the web development community on the pros and cons of CAPTCHAs. My personal feeling is: if you have an email address, you will have spam, accept that. If you have a website, you will have more spam, accept that. A lot of the common methods used to fight spam tend to annoy your site visitors more than they stop or even slow the amount of spam.
I’m not saying give up and don’t fight spam. I’m saying: be realistic and pick your battles and your methods. And stop complaining about spam. I almost never hear anyone complain about junk mail in their home mailbox. But you mention spam and the average person will suddenly develop something that looks a lot like what people like me call “nerd rage”.
Those of you who use WordPress have many tools at your disposal to stop spam. My husband has a high-traffic, popular humor site. So trust me, we know what kind of spam a high-traffic site could get, much less the average person’s website.
We used to use CAPTCHAs. But we finally got rid of them and thanks to other spam-fighting tools, we haven’t seen an increase in spam comments. And his site visitors are now more inclined to leave a comment.
My own thought is that most database driven websites have ways that can be incorporated to not require CAPTCHAs. I admit, there may be cases where, for whatever reason, that could be the only answer or it may be absolutely necessary. But my own experience is that by and large, they are not. Certainly not for the average website.
For all of you DIY WordPress folk out there, next week: the long awaited security and spam fighting WordPress plugin list. Have a great weekend!