Sunday, 7 May 2006

Blogger comments: audio word verification

Though it's been available for a little while, Blogger have only recently officially announced an audio option for word verification when you're trying to post a comment on a Blogger blog.

Maybe they were swayed by Kirk's trenchant rant about the impossibility of reading some of the squiggly stuff they put up there. But now, if you can't read the word verification captcha, you should be able to click on the little blue wheelchair icon next to the word verification box (why not a pic of ears though instead??)
- and it's supposed to read out some numbers to you, which you then type into the box, by playing a WAV audio file, so that you can login and publish your comment.

The only problem is, whatever they're using has a fair amount of background noise, and furthermore they're saying it a bit fast to type in one go, for me anyway - I have to listen to it at least twice myself before I can type it in properly. I mean, listen to this. Or maybe I'm just harder of hearing than I'd like... It's good that they've provided some further help for those who have trouble using the audio verification, but personally I think the best thing to do would be to eliminate the background noise and have the numbers read out more slowly, myself.

Nonetheless, it's obviously a good thing that they're trying to tackle the illegibility issue.

I still get comment spam occasionally though - I haven't yet figured out if the spammers' robots are able to read the CAPTCHA much better than us mere humans, or if it's actually humans posting the comment spam. Now if they could only come up with something which genuine readers find easy to solve but spammers can't get round.... but of course that's the Holy Grail of captcha.


Avatar said...

too bad that as i wrote in one of my posts, this has been shattered by bots already.

speech recognition is actually way way way more easy to break than visual recognition..i have one of the preview softwares for MS new speech recognition upgrade, i passed the audio of a captcha, i installed talktypist and it was not only recognized, talktypist wrote it pefectly.. soooo. well you see the problem..

as i say, the future relays for me on a very simple concept i have thought about after looking at the kittens thing: Iconographic distintion.

for the simple reason that a machine can actually recognize a photo with filtering and layout mapping, etc. but cannot recognize a abstract concept.

kirk said...

I was thinking that the audio would be easy to crack. To keep it from being easily recognized by software, they'd have to do the same thing they do to the normal captcha, add distortion and such, which ultimately makes it unusable at a certain point for humans. Bah!

I think the kitten captcha looks better all the time. :-) I mean, kittens!

I wonder how long before the audio captcha cracking commentbots crank up?

Oh, too funny. I had to make 3 tries through the captcha to get my preview through...maybe I just need new eyes.

the Finnie's said...

We use Blogger's 'Comments Moderation' and so far it works 100%, we control what comments do or don't get posted.

Using this, we turned of the word verification to make commenting easier and have had no problems.

Avatar said...

well, D,p & J, yeah but moderation in most cases kills participation to a 50%. the impulse and the drive of instant gratification is what drives the comments in most blogs.

Improbulus said...

Kirk you're right as usual. I'm sure the spammers crack it soon - well they certainly seem to have cracked the visual one. That's funny, that you couldn't get that comment through at first. Catpchas do appear to be more human-proof than bot-proof!

D P & J - I agree with Avatar that it's better for legit users if moderation is not enabled. I lead a very busy life and I barely have time to blog sometimes, never mind moderate comments, and I tend to deal with comments in batches every so often - I don't want my readers to have to wait too long before even seeing their comments appear on my blog and I'll live with having to delete the occasional spam.

Avatar said...

"I'm sure the spammers crack it soon"

They HAVE.

I even did it myself...