An Important Update

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If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Comments, Owner Choices, And Reader Choices

Much of what we do in life - and what we do when using Blogger - is based upon, and limited by, choice.

Some choices we get to make, for ourselves. Other choices are made for us, by people who make their own choices.

Some blog owners do not want their readers to have to login to Blogger, to comment on their blogs. Other blog owners do not want their readers to have to solve a CAPTCHA, to comment on their blogs.

A few blog owners do not want their readers to have to do either.
It seems anyone who wishes to leave a comment, will have to do some form of login, either via Google or a CAPTCHA, to do so! Is there a reason for this, would it not be easier, for anyone to just leave a comment?
And the answer here is simple.
It would be easier, if neither were required.
But reality - involving activity by spammers, and activity to counter spammers - leaves some of us with less choices.

Long ago, Blogger allowed anonymous comments, without a CAPTCHA to solve. Spammers benefited from that possibility.

Later, Blogger added the ezCAPTCHA, to be required at the owners decision. Some owners chose to not select the CAPTCHA, because their readers were inconvenienced. Spammers continued to benefit from blogs which allowed anonymous comments, and no CAPTCHA.

Recently, Blogger added the non optional reCAPTCHA. This requires anybody not logged in to have the choice - login, or solve a CAPTCHA.

Unfortunately, the latter change made the third party cookie filter issue more critical. People who are already logged in, but are subject to third party cookie filtering, have to login, or solve a CAPTCHA. This requirement may vary, according to the variant of the commenting form, used by the blog.

Now, a blog owner has 4 choices, to control anonymous comments.
  1. Don't allow anonymous comments, and don't require a CAPTCHA. People who are not logged in will have to login, to comment.
  2. Don't allow anonymous comments, but require a CAPTCHA. People who have not logged in will have to login, and solve a CAPTCHA.
  3. Allow anonymous comments, and don't require a CAPTCHA. People who have not logged in will have to either login, or solve a CAPTCHA.
  4. Allow anonymous comments, and require a CAPTCHA. People who are not logged in will have to solve a CAPTCHA.

Some people will have to either login, or solve a CAPTCHA, to comment. Depending upon what choices are made by the blog owner, the readers may have any 2 of 3 choices.
  1. Solve a non owner optional reCAPTCHA.
  2. Solve an owner optional ezCAPTCHA.
  3. Login.
You'll like the ezCAPTCHA a lot more than the reCAPTCHA.

People who are logged in to Blogger / Google, and are not subject to third party cookie filters, may not see a CAPTCHA - and will not have to login to comment. People who are logged in, but are subject to third party cookie filters, will have to either login, or solve a CAPTCHA.

Owners of blogs which attract readers, who choose to maintain their cookie filters, will benefit more from the new CAPTCHA, than owners of blogs which attract readers who do not choose - or do not care - to maintain their cookie filters.

To make the choices easier to understand, Blogger would have to make "Require CAPTCHA" a binary option, for at least 3 comment authentication levels.
  1. Anonymous.
    • Require CAPTCHA.
    • Don't require CAPTCHA.
  2. OpenID.
    • Require CAPTCHA.
    • Don't require CAPTCHA.
  3. Google account.
    • Require CAPTCHA.
    • Don't require CAPTCHA.
  4. Members.
    • Require CAPTCHA.
    • Don't require CAPTCHA.

If Blogger were to offer this binary option, too many owners would select "Anonymous" / "Don't require CAPTCHA" - and spammers would continue to flood the spam filters - as they were, before the latest update.

As long as spammers choose to do business - and choose to target our blogs, in their business - our choices, as blog owners and readers, will be limited.

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Dude, hit me with a comment!

Angelina Lenahan said...

Here is the conundrum: If the person leaving the comment wishes to follow-up to see if the blog-owner commented on said comment, s/he would have to leave an email address and/or check the blog for follow-up comments. or am i misunderstanding the process? because, after all, it should be bidirectional: the blog-owner has the person's email address...

Chuck Croll said...

Angelina,

In order to check the "Email follow-up comments ..." box, the person leaving a comment must be logged in with a Blogger account.

In order to receive the follow-up email, the person leaving a comment must be logged in with a Blogger account that is associated with a working email address - and is not subject to mysterious filtering.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2014/09/confusion-from-email-spam-detection.html

scrappystickyinkymess said...

I am hugely frustrated by this and if you check out the bit on my blog you will see why. I knew, with a high degree of certainty, that I was typing in the numbers right. I am HAPPY to type in the number verifications, I can read that 80% of the time - ok, once it was just a green blur with no number on it at all, but for ones like that a refresh fixes it and I can carry on. And yet it kept kicking me out to word verification, which I find impossible to read. SO to make sure it wasn't me, I started grabbing the verifications so I could see what was what. And sure enough, I typed in the RIGHT NUMBER and yet Blogger told me that I did it wrong and kicked me to Word verification. You can see it here.

http://scrappystickyinkymess.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/woyww-285-got-it-figured-out-i-think/

I have determined that if there is a cookie that Google places that makes it Word Verification rather than number, it expires in 24 hours. The next day I am back to numbers and can carry on until Google decides to stop me in my tracks. Shifting to another browser doesn't usually work but I was able to go back to number verification by going back to a no longer supported Safari (but not a no-longer supported Camino, more's the pity.

They should take a leaf from Wordpress' book. 60K spam comments washed away in 5 years and less than 10 REAL comments caught in the filter.

I'm just sayin'...

Mary Anne

Chuck Croll said...

Mary Anne,

I'm not so charmed by it all, either.

I have, however, had numerous conversations with various Blogger Engineers - and I can read between the lines.

They had a real reason for throwing the new CAPTCHA out there, even as half ass as they did.

It's even possible that they used two different CAPTCHAs, so they can observe which CAPTCHA is showing up, in what cases. It's the same as putting "trace" statements in code.
Print "Break 1"
Print "Break 2"
Print "Break 3"
etc

So, let's keep identifying the problems, as objectively as possible, in hopes that they will fix the problems.

And WordPress 60K spam comments may not be all that much, compared to Blogger. 60K is probably an hours worth, maybe.

scrappystickyinkymess said...

LOL! I have hit my limit for the day and WV only but I am going to struggle thru it to comment here. :)

It is clearly linked to the number of comments I make on Blogger blogs. After about 3, the numbers get longer, then blurry (sometimes just a blur with no visible number) and then even the RIGHT number gets kicked to word, as I captured in that post. I could live with the added step of the number verification if it STAYED that. WHY can't it?

And bloody hell! 60K in an hour?? No wonder they felt like they had to do SOMETHING.
I just wish it would all settle down.
Thanks for commenting on the issue.

Mary Anne

Anonymous said...

I can see that Blogger engineers felt the need to add captcha. I can see that they also apparently are making some other somewhat hasty changes that make us lose comments.

What I don't understand is, if I have comment moderation enabled, why can't they just let me (and their spam system) sort through the spam if it's my desire to do so rather than lose readers and comments? I actually get very few spam comments and they are very easy to spot, meanwhile the moderation seems to cut out unproductive conversation and encourage productive commenters...

You're the best, Chuck. Thanks for another good post...

Anonymous said...

i just posted something and solved the captcha. Did it disappear?

Abdul Basith said...

Even i select the show verification as "No", it still shows captcha when comment location is selected as "Full Page" or "Pop-Up Windo", even for logged users including Authors and admins.

How to solve this?

Chuck Croll said...

Abdul,

I see it, thank you.

Now reporting it.

Nance said...

Hi, Chuck. It seems that I'm having now the same problem as Abdul Basith, above. I have set my comments preferences to allow no verification, and even when I am logged in as an administrator, I must solve the captcha to answer comments on my own blog.

Changed setting to allow Anon comments; still the same. Hating the captcha.

Got around the spam by modding comments on posts after 14 days and that made captcha unnecessary for me. I'd like to go back to that, but Blogger has decided otherwise?

Chuck Croll said...

Nance,

You see the CAPTCHA. But what happens, if you fill in your comment, and Publish - without solving the CAPTCHA?

Chuck Croll said...

I see the CAPTCHA, too. But I did not solve one, to post the previous comment.

Chuck Croll said...

Or the previous comment.

Nance said...

I never tried that. It seems silly that one would appear and not have to be used. Trying now.

Nance said...

Wow. Okay. I guess I'll pass that along...?

Thank you.

(But I wish it didn't appear at all, especially since I've asked it NOT TO.)

Abdul Basith said...

Yes! Even it shows captcha, we don't need to solve. But readers won't know that unless we inform in comment template.

Note: I didn't solved this captcha. :)