As a follow-up to the captcha post, I think I’ve implemented a near-ideal solution to allow fast and easy commenting while still blocking the spambots.
I took the advice of Andrew Wooster, linked by Simone Manganelli in comment #3 on the original captcha post, and created a personalized spam blocker using an additional field on the comment form. I also tweaked it just a bit, to provide some benefit to registered users. So as of today, here’s how comments will work going forward:
- If you’re logged in: There’s no change from how things worked before. Just fill in your comment and submit it. I’m going to assume that the spambots aren’t going to take the trouble to register prior to spamming the site :). If that turns out not to be true, I may have to make the below process apply to everyone.
- If you’re not logged in: You’ll see one new field on the comment submission form. This field is required, and it’s a text field to hold the answer to one of five very simple questions. How simple? They’re so simple that the answer is given in the questions themselves. Here’s a sample question: “What is Tommy Sample’s first name?” Type in the answer, and the comment will be published just as before.
I think this is about the most painless spam solution available, so let’s see how it works. Registered users will feel no pain at all, and everyone else will have just a slight (a few characters typed into one text box) hassle, with none of the captcha’s side effects. Please let me know if you have any troubles with this new solution.
Update: There are now five randomly-presented questions, as well as a cleaned-up layout. Hopefully the questions are all as simple as they should be; if you’re thinking about the answer, you’re trying too hard!