To my great surprise, thanks to Tobias Sjösten, I found out that commenting was broken on blog.bigsmoke.us. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact problem, but it must have been introduced with some WordPress upgrade somewhere along the line. I never noticed it because it did work for logged in users. (If I must really guess, I suspect a silent ReCaptcha version compatibility problem.)
Upgrading WordPress and wp-recaptcha to their latest versions (3.3.1 and 3.1.4 respectively) seems to have solved the problem.
If you’ve never heard of reCAPTCHA before, reCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to digitize books, newspapers and old time radio shows. I’m using reCAPTCHA on this and other blog to protect myself from automated spam comments. I’m also using it on some of my MediaWiki sites to protect myself from wiki spam.
The great thing about reCAPTCHA is that it solves two problems at once. First, the OCR problem: it uses user time that would otherwise have been wasted solving meaningless capchas to aid the digitization process of public texts, to fill in the gaps where OCR fails. By doing so it solves the automated spam problem by challenging website visitors to proof that they’re human. We can be pretty confident that someone is human if they’re able to recognize characters that the best OCR software cannot.
Anyway, enough about the serious stuff. I’m blogging about this now because Wiebe sent me a few links to funny reCAPTCHA combinations. Here’s a nice example (from the I Am Not A Robot weblog):