What would you do? I want to know! Let’s talk about comments, CAPTCHAs and comment spam and I’d like you to tell me what should be done.
First, let’s talk about the CAPTCHA. Typically it appears as a distorted series of characters that you need to enter to prove you are a human. I know you hate them. I hate them too. Yes, I know it can be difficult to type it right even when you are a human. So my question is not if you like CAPTCHAs or not because I already know that answer. The problem is what happens when I turn them off.
What happens? I get bombarded by comment spam on the blog. To be more exact, I get at least 25 completely spammy comments. The goal of those leaving this junk is to get a link to their Web site. No, this isn’t something even remotely related as I don’t mind links if they are relevant. Don’t believe me? Look at the sample below. I’ve included it as a bitmap (a screenshot from my e-mail) to avoid the spammer getting any credit for it.
You’ll notice that many of these comments start out by praising the blog or asking a somewhat relevant question. Yet they all end with a link to something totally unrelated. These comments are not made by humans. It is all software driven. Dealing with all of these bogus comments takes at least a small part of my time to make sure they don’t get published. Google does filter out almost all of them, but I still have to check to make sure.
I can make the comment stop immediately by simply enabling the CAPTCHA. Unfortunately some of my loyal readers are unable to post legitimate comments when I do this. So do you think the CAPTCHA should be on to prevent the spammers (and make it harder for loyal readers) or off to allow them to waste my time?
Many of you receive the blog via e-mail each day. For those who don’t, you should consider signing up for free! Rather than posting a comment, they simply reply to the e-mail. I don’t mind hearing from readers via e-mail, it simply means that the conversation (about the blog post) is only seen by two people. So if you are an “comment e-mailer”, would you please think about posting a comment on the blog instead? If I’m getting more legitimate comments, the spam doesn’t seem as annoying.
How do you comment from the e-mail you receive? Below is a screenshot sample of the top of the e-mail for the blog post Clipart Unleashed and ROMCat Team Up to Find Right Artwork.
I have circled the post title in red. Just click on the title in your mail reader and it will take you to the blog post on the Web site. Then simply scroll to the bottom of the post and enter your comment.
Why should you post a comment rather than sending an e-mail? First and foremost it does help the blog receive more traffic. So I definitely appreciate it! Just as important is that everyone can see your comment and you do have important information to share. Sometimes you add to what I’ve said, other times you challenge what I’ve said. As others read the post and the comments, they can chime in with more information. In times when I’m asked for more information, my answer is seen by everyone instead of just the person who sent the e-mail. Also note that many times it is a comment that gives me the idea for future posts.
Go ahead and give it a try on this post. Let me know what settings I should use for the CAPTCHA, and why.