Most of you reading this have probably noticed that Blogger has recently changed its word verification method. Until this change, if word verification was switched on, people wishing to leave a comment on a blog post had to copy a nonsense word into a box before publishing their comment. This is to prevent automatic spam and deter human spammers, which is definitely A Good Thing.
Now word verification presents us with two oddly distorted words to copy, so oddly distorted that many people, including me, have great difficulty deciphering them. Thankfully Blogger has removed the contrast bit behind one of the words, making them slightly easier to read, but I still often find myself having to click at least 2 or 3 times before I get a couple of words I can read well enough to type.
Interestingly, the new system has a very laudable aim besides that of preventing spam. The words presented to us come from books and newspapers which are being scanned to digitise them and thus make them available online. Many of these are old and have non-standard typefaces and the digitisation process has problems verifying whether individual words have been correctly scanned. By using these scanned images for word verification in blogs, the reCAPTCHA system makes use of millions of blogs to help verify these dubious spellings and move the project forward.
Unfortunately, for many people the sheer difficulty of deciphering the words is beginning to deter them from commenting on blogs, thus adversely affecting one of the most popular aspects of blogging. The Blogger Help forum is full of posts complaining about the new system and asking how to turn it off. This is where my word of warning comes in.
For those still using the old Blogger dashboard to write their posts, turning off word verification is easy. However the new dashboard does NOT offer the option of turning off word verification and to do so involves going back to the old one temporarily. Before very long, whether we like it or not, Google will be switching us all over permanently to the new dashboard, and unless they add the option to control word verification, it will no longer be possible to turn word verification on and off.
This means that if you want to be able to switch off word verification in order to make it easier for people to comment, you shouldn’t leave it too long to do so, or you may lose the option.
If, like me, you still use the old dashboard (and in my case I will only use the new one when finally forced to do so) all you have to do is to click on the Settings tab, choose Comments and scroll down to Show word verification for comments. Click on No, save your settings and word verification will disappear.
You will almost certainly start to get a bit of spam after this, but Blogger’s spam filter is very good and since I turned off word verification a few weeks ago, no spam has made it onto my blog.
If you have changed to the new dashboard, but haven’t made it your default, you can get back to the old dashboard by clicking on the cogwheel in the top right-hand corner and choosing Old Blogger interface. If you have made it your default you will have to untick Make Blogger draft my default before you can choose to go back to the old dashboard and follow the instructions for switching off.
Part of me feels bad about grumbling about the new word verification system, especially with its positive side-effect, but like a lot of bloggers I’m not getting any younger and neither is my eyesight, and life is just too short to waste it squinting at unreadable words. Sorry, reCaptcha. L