Captcha Killed the Internet Star

Many websites use what’s called ‘Captcha’ to make sure those filling out comment forms or user registrations are actual humans.  It is the annoying little ‘type the obscure word you see in the scrambled picture above’ bit.

Well, we were getting quite a large number of spam bot user account attempts (The user account has to have a valid email address so none of the attempts really worked, but it was a problem) .  A few days ago I turned on a Captcha for the user registration page.

This morning I checked the new user list and noticed the spam account attempts were stopped dead in their tracks after turning on the Captcha.  But… so were the ‘real’ human accounts.  We didn’t have a single new user sign up for three days at TJP.  I tested it myself with a dummy account and sure enough, it gave an error and wouldn’t let me sign up.

I immediately emailed Phreadom (our resident code genius) and he quickly fixed the problem.  Within an hour or two we had 18 new signups (all 100% human).  There must have been dozens if not hundreds of people trying to sign up during our Captcha down days, but no one complained.  If you were part of the silent majority, sorry!

I’m just happy things are working again.

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