A CAPTCHA for Internet Access
April 4, 2007 8:22 PM   Subscribe

A CAPTCHA to weed out certain potential users of the internet.
posted by exogenous (76 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you for this; sorely needed. You might also mention that repeated visits yield different tests.
posted by dickyvibe at 8:27 PM on April 4, 2007


OMFG its teh lame!

Cute...but quite limited.
posted by davidmsc at 8:29 PM on April 4, 2007


Excellent.
posted by notmydesk at 8:35 PM on April 4, 2007


Some people prefer to take a pedagogical approach to the problem.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:38 PM on April 4, 2007


Internet spell checkers have saved the right-wing from further embarrassment.
posted by Brian B. at 8:39 PM on April 4, 2007


Some people prefer to take a pedagogical approach to the problem.

That's ridonkulous.
posted by chrominance at 8:41 PM on April 4, 2007


I refreshed it a few times... are any of the iterations proper use of the apostrophe?
posted by porpoise at 8:54 PM on April 4, 2007


Way to weed out the blind. Asses.
posted by banished at 8:57 PM on April 4, 2007


Awesome! I got it on the second try!

Seriously though, can we have one of these? Please?
posted by lekvar at 8:59 PM on April 4, 2007


It isn't a sufficient determinant of how to remove your unwelcome riffraff from the Internet. How do I know? I passed.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:04 PM on April 4, 2007


Funny, but I think it would be better if successful answers redirected here
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:10 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pretty inaffective. I mean, once your passed the captcha, you can just revert to you're preffered spelling.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:14 PM on April 4, 2007


Alas, poor image! I knew him, mathowie: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is...
posted by taosbat at 9:18 PM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Have we seen the hot or not captcha? The cat captcha?
posted by puke & cry at 9:19 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


drjimmy, How is grammar "rote factual knowledge"? It's not just a series of facts, like a set of dates, it's part of the system of language.
posted by piratebowling at 9:24 PM on April 4, 2007


I refreshed it a few times... are any of the iterations proper use of the apostrophe?

Yes, there's one on there vs. their vs. they're.

And for anyone bitching about it: it's from a humorous blog. Unclench your asshole.
posted by kyleg at 9:32 PM on April 4, 2007


The grammars are plots by librul intellectual commonist eleets!
posted by ladd at 9:32 PM on April 4, 2007


Defective Yetifilter! Woo! All shadowkeeper, all the time!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on April 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


I guess I'm a bot... I can't pass the hot-or-not captcha.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:34 PM on April 4, 2007


Even if you hadn't give either of the correct answers, your still classified as a human. That bug's me somehow. Too rediculous.
posted by thecaddy at 9:45 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


the new grammar: u r vs. ur
posted by dvdgee at 9:45 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


dvdgee, I'm pretty sure that's the same old illiteracy.
posted by omarr at 10:19 PM on April 4, 2007


I especially enjoyed the one that asked "I would rather be a democrat [than|then] a republican", as it weeds out bad Internet users in two ways.

I keed, I keed
posted by davejay at 10:24 PM on April 4, 2007


The cat captcha would make my wife resubmit whatever form she was on like 40 times because she wanted to look at cute cat/dog pictures. Has anyone actually seen it "in the wild" so to speak?

Also, is there some kind of deaf-blind CAPTCHA bypass, or are a lot of websites headed for ADA lawsuits like Target? Plaintiff BJ Sexton; it sounds like he belongs to the church of fellatio or something.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:28 PM on April 4, 2007


UNFORTUNATELY IT'S NOT CASE SENSITIVE.
posted by jeblis at 10:33 PM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's a lot like the KOL chat challenge:
The ghost of the English language looks up at you.
"You have already proven yourself literate! Go forth, then, and avenge my death!"
posted by arruns at 10:34 PM on April 4, 2007


About that apostrophe thing, though, sometimes they are used correctly to form plurals, i.e. of single letters, e.g. "mind your p's and q's" and if a pluralized form of a word is unfamiliar or is likely to be misread, e.g., "which's and that's." As well, some authorities still prefer this form, "three C's, S&L's, PhD's," rather than without the apostrophe.

Such is the bastardization called Business English that I am forced to accord with at times, e.g., "The Gregg Reference Manual," sections re apostrophes.

Still doesn't explain things like "Banana's on sale." (Just one?)
posted by Listener at 10:54 PM on April 4, 2007


arcticwoman: I can't pass it either. Actually, I lie. I can tell the hot -women-, but men I fail miserably 9 out of 10 times. WTF? My taste is -not- that bad.
posted by po at 10:59 PM on April 4, 2007


Way to weed out the blind. Asses.

Actually, this is probably a better solution than normal CAPTCHAs for accessibility, since you can reliably get the right answer without having seen any of the images, so long as you're up to snuff on your spelling and grammar (though if you've been blind since birth, do you have a concept of how a word is spelt? maybe not?). Some sort of prompt that indicated you were supposed to spell the word in the field would help, but I'm not an accessibility expert.

In any case, blind people are thoroughly screwed by normal CAPTCHAs, so it's not as though this solution makes things worse on that front.
posted by chrominance at 11:18 PM on April 4, 2007


It seems to be missing "should/could have" vs. "should/could of".
posted by uncle harold at 11:18 PM on April 4, 2007


The hot or not captcha confounds me because I can never find more than 2 people I consider hot in either the male or female category. I can find plenty of myspace teenagers who think they're all that and are making kissy faces at the camera though.

Do today's youth even say "all that"? God I'm getting old. Get off my lawn.
posted by hindmost at 11:47 PM on April 4, 2007


About that apostrophe thing, though, sometimes they are used correctly to form plurals

Completely agreed. There are some pluralizations that look abhorrent without an apostrophe. For example:
I was born in the 70's.
I was born in the 70s.

Look at all those IBM's on display!
Look at all those IBMs on display!
"No, no!" I'm certain some will say, "You are completely incorrect!" Yet when pluralizing single characters, the correct method is to use the apostrophe. Thus,
Mind your P's and Q's
Mind your Ps and Qs.
And what does the Queen have to say about single numbers? Again with the apostrophe!
Binary uses 1's and 0's
Binary uses 1s and 0s.
In both cases, the use of apostrophe is to avoid confusion: binary doesn't use "one ess" and "zero ess". You needn't mind your "pee ess" or "que ess". The apostrophe is a verbal cue, much like its use in conjunctions.

I don't care if the Queen disapproves. For plural abbreviations and numbers, the apostrophe stays!.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:52 PM on April 4, 2007


Contraction comma. I was born in the '70s.
posted by acro at 12:08 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are some pluralizations that look abhorrent without an apostrophe.

In each of those cases, the latter looks better to me, C_D, for what little it's worth. Abhorrent is in the eye of the beholder.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:12 AM on April 5, 2007


Abhorrent is in the eye of the beholder.

Yes, I probably should have prefaced my tirade with a YMMV, since the minutiae of English grammar can get so personal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:21 AM on April 5, 2007


I am in support of placing apostrophes on I's and A's.
posted by seanyboy at 12:34 AM on April 5, 2007


Oh, great. Now I'm never going to break my bad apostrophe abuse habits.

Though I am terribly guilty of said crimes against the language, I must state for the record that Civil_Disobedient's suggestions are filthy and wrongheaded and entirely queer and should be avoided at all costs. You will find no such examples in Strunk & White or the MLA Handbook.
posted by loquacious at 12:59 AM on April 5, 2007


I agree with loquacious's opinion regarding Civil_Disobedient's suggestions.
posted by maxwelton at 1:06 AM on April 5, 2007


clever. now all they need to do is install this at wifi gateways.
posted by time to put your air goggles on! at 1:09 AM on April 5, 2007


I'll agree that an apostrophe is needed for single character plurals. But the first two of Civil_Disobedient's examples look better without the apostrophes and don't need them.

Also, it's probably excessively prescriptive, but I'd guess that some authorities would recommend a rewrite to avoid such single character reference plurals. (Note that C_D possibly should have made the use/reference distinction in his sentence with quotes or italics.)

→ Binary uses the numbers 0 and 1.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:34 AM on April 5, 2007


I don't really care about apostrophes on acronyms. I'll use them myself, but that's mainly because of the number of mixed case acronyms I come across. I also think the apostrophes look better on words like DVD's and CD's

Surely though, most people would agree that this is a purely stylistic argument.
posted by seanyboy at 2:22 AM on April 5, 2007


Civil_Disobedient's suggestions are filthy and wrongheaded and entirely queer and should be avoided at all costs

Success!

But (just for the sake of argument), what does the MLA have to say about abbreviations? Hmm? I'll tell you what it says: abbreviations (with periods) get the apostrophe. But acronyms that are supposed to be abbreviations? "Oh no, no apostrophe on those!" As if there's any difference between...
Look at all the I.B.M.'s on display! [MLA: Correct!]
Look at all the IBM's on display! [MLA: FILTHY!]
Bah! says I.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:30 AM on April 5, 2007


Of course, I'd like the POTUS's opinion on this one.
posted by seanyboy at 2:37 AM on April 5, 2007


Civil_Dis, you are only partially correct about using apostrophes for plural letters. It is only for lower case letters. See this page from Purdue.
posted by about_time at 3:33 AM on April 5, 2007


ur fav grammer rul suxx0r LOL
posted by ardgedee at 3:52 AM on April 5, 2007


Great for people who are competent in written English. Suckful for the rest of us, especially those for whom English is a second language. And lord knows there are very many smart, clever, worthwhile people who will fail this particular shibboleth tester.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:04 AM on April 5, 2007


For years now I've been campaigning (under my breath in muttered expletives) that the Internet should be read-only until you complete a written exam that tests your ability to communicate coherent thoughts and ideas in a polite way in an anonymous text-based forum.

Or maybe an age limit for full write-access.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:14 AM on April 5, 2007


I like it. It reminds me that the meanest thing I ever saw an editor do, was re-print a letter with all the grammar mistakes intact.
posted by lordrunningclam at 5:17 AM on April 5, 2007


How is grammar "rote factual knowledge"? It's not just a series of facts, like a set of dates, it's part of the system of language.

No, 'fraid not. Real grammar is indeed part of the system of language, and for that very reason would be useless for tests like this, because no one (no native speaker, that is) would get it wrong. I am go to the store violates the real grammar of English, so no one would say it or think to ban it. What's being discussed here is spelling rules, which have nothing to do with grammar. As an editor, I'm grateful for the opportunity to earn a living (scanty as it is at the moment) enforcing the rules on apostrophes and the like, but they have nothing to do with the English language.

I'm particularly bemused by attitudes like Civil_Disobedient's; I understand rigid insistence on What the Book Says, and I understand let-it-all-hang-out looseness, but I don't understand rigid insistence on a standard that is not supported by any authorities. Like it or not, the rules are what the manuals say they are, and "I was born in the 70s" and "Look at all those IBMs on display!" are correct by those standards, which are the only standards there are.

That said, the linked site is hilarious, and I'm glad for the post.
posted by languagehat at 5:27 AM on April 5, 2007


(sigh) Since languagehat struck me down on my point, I concede. I was pretty tired when I wrote that anyway and woke up expecting to have people tell me wrong.
posted by piratebowling at 5:44 AM on April 5, 2007


Heck, if that thing was implemented it would reduce the number of comments on YouTube by 90%. And MySpace would be a ghost town.

This needs to be implemented as soon as is practicable.
posted by chlorus at 5:45 AM on April 5, 2007


I was going to plagarise languagehat from here, see if I could get him to disagree with himself. But languagehat scares me.

Basically, all this shit is arbitrary, especially apostrophes; we make rules about where to put them out of a sense of orderliness that seems to have grown up in the last few centuries, and then we get attached to the rules and blow them out of proportion and pay people to make sure they're observed.

But I can't be bothered. I googled this around a bit and it's interesting to see that the NYT changed their style guide in late 2006 to move from CD's to CDs.
posted by seanyboy at 5:49 AM on April 5, 2007


Cat captcha? For real? Not some April 1 thing?
posted by Zinger at 6:24 AM on April 5, 2007


So, too, I had thought about correcting piratebowling. But then I decided that he didn't really think that spelling was grammar.

I like to talk about language usage because I enjoy dealing with the complexities of deciding between prescriptivism and descriptivism.

Someone online described Columbia Journalism Review's Evan Jenkins1, author of the Language Corner column, as a "rational prescriptivist". As I understand that description was intended, I think it applies to me, as well. I support prescriptivist rules when I think they have a high enough degree of utility.

I prefer not using apostrophes on these plurals we're talking about because I strongly suspect that it contributes to the confusion that so many people have about the proper use of apostrophes. Especially the impulse many people have to use an apostrophe on non-possessive plurals that are regular words.

This sort of utility evaluation is why I'll fight some descriptivist trends in usage. For example, the trend toward making envy and jealousy synonymous, about which I disagreed with languagehat recently.

1. Ev has visited MetaFilter before after his column was posted. He also has a book on usage out.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:43 AM on April 5, 2007


For the effect/affect one, using "impact" instead should work, no? That's what all the cool kids do now, right?
posted by bonehead at 6:45 AM on April 5, 2007


I make websites, and probably one in two sites involves a client insisting that I "correct" something by adding pluralizing apostrophes, usually ones I've stripped out of their copy myself.

I clicked to see a few different captchas. Didn't see one for my pet peeve, "Could of".
posted by autodidact at 9:02 AM on April 5, 2007


I'm not nearly the editor that EB or languagehat are--nor, I hope will I ever be (because I are an educator now), but they clearly have a grasp on those principles that we teach right out of the Gospel According to Joe Williams.

The rest of y'all can go suck egg's.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:22 AM on April 5, 2007


his sort of utility evaluation is why I'll fight some descriptivist trends in usage. For example, the trend toward making envy and jealousy synonymous, about which I disagreed with languagehat recently.

I don't remember the disagreement, but once again I'll point out that the fact that I recognize a change as happening doesn't mean I support or like it. I too think the distinction between envy and jealousy is a useful one, as is that between uninterested and disinterested. All a descriptivist is saying is that these changes are happening, you can fight them if you like but it won't do any good (except make you feel better, which is fine), and when they're complete it's pretty silly to insist that you're right and everyone else is wrong.
posted by languagehat at 9:37 AM on April 5, 2007


"All a descriptivist is saying is that these changes are happening, you can fight them if you like but it won't do any good (except make you feel better, which is fine), and when they're complete it's pretty silly to insist that you're right and everyone else is wrong.""

Sure, but it's not clear to me when the change is complete nor that fighting it can't possibly alter the outcome.

It's also worth pointing out that I rarely correct other people but I do carefully decide on my own usages on the basis of what I think is a good balance between simple descriptivism, contextual prescriptivism, and a general utilitarian prescriptivism. Which is just another way of saying that I deny prescriptivism as a principle, accept it as a contextual guide, but choose which of prescriptivist rules and descriptivist usages I accept and utilize with an eye toward utility. As is my general ethos, I prefer acting as an example to being interventionist.

"I'm not nearly the editor that EB or languagehat are..."

I'm extremely flattered that you would say this, beelzbubba. I'd never expect it because the sorts of editorial skills we're talking about are not skills I possess. I wish I did. I'm so far from being competent as a copy-editor that it's embarrassing. I've had to work in my adult life to learn and conform to usage standards.

However, I get involved in these sorts of discussions because, as is typical for me, I've found I'm extremely interested in the ideas involved in the descriptivism/prescriptivism discussion.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:58 AM on April 5, 2007


For years now I've been campaigning (under my breath in muttered expletives) that the Internet should be read-only until you complete a written exam that tests your ability to communicate coherent thoughts and ideas in a polite way in an anonymous text-based forum. - slimepuppy

We used to have it, back in the day - The internet/bitnet/arpanet cabal was in the hands of a somewhat homogenous crowd of university staff, scientitsts, students, random people, what have you - secuirty by obscurity. The really fun folk were the university colleagues from overseas. You either got online via work or school. It was all text, in amber or green and we liked it!*

We would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids, Bill and Al, nattering on about an Information Superhighway.

Suddenly the rabble was everywhere, polluting the lists with useless flirting, writing grafiti all over the place, and putting up the online equivalent of pink flamingoes('s?) called "homepages".

It was around then (1994?) I left the mailing lists. I couldn't take it any more.

Now we're all wired, all the time. I'm on a few lists, participate in a few online forums, and ignore the rest.

-----------------------------

*Oh, occasionally a mailing list would go nuts (I remember a furious battle over someone's sig, and she didn't respond for over a day, because she said she'd just gotten a new job. That silliness resulted in a spin-off list, and most people on the first list stayed on both), but nothing like we see today - that sort of thing was kept at the BBS level, where people would eventually work it out over (root)beer and fries.
posted by lysdexic at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2007


defective yeti is extremely funny. can we have a defectiveyeti.metafilter.com that just autoupdates whenever defectiveyeti has a new post? with an rss feed, thanks.
posted by shmegegge at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2007


All a descriptivist is saying is that these changes are happening, you can fight them if you like but it won't do any good

What do you mean by 'won't do any good'? Surely there are several agents which succeed in altering or slowing down particular changes in language. You can't be saying that the popular usage books, like Gowers and Fowler, and the style employed by newspapers and editors has no effect on language change? Were usage books and newspaper style guides to cease to exist tomorrow, language change would presumably happen at a much greater rate.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 10:58 AM on April 5, 2007


You can't be saying that the popular usage books, like Gowers and Fowler, and the style employed by newspapers and editors has no effect on language change?

Yup, or next to none. I know it's well-nigh incredible, but language change does not happen in newspapers and books, it happens every day, every minute, in millions of individual speech acts all over the English-speaking world. The number of such acts even marginally affected by usage books is minuscule. Language change happens at the same rate whether there are such books or not, in fact whether the language is written or not. Hard to believe? So is what the physicists say about the universe, but you take their word for it instead of saying "Ah, they're full of shit, I know the sun goes around the earth, I can see it myself." Linguists get no respect.
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on April 5, 2007


The grammars are plots by librul intellectual commonist eleets l33ts!
-fixed
posted by MtDewd at 11:16 AM on April 5, 2007


This is rediculous. Morans.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:18 AM on April 5, 2007


I've no doubt the readership of usage books is minute as a proportion of the population as a whole.

The number of such acts even marginally affected by usage books is minuscule.

What about examples like split infinitives? I gather that there's no particular logic behind (in English, at least) the prescription that infinitives ought not to be split. But several generations of Britons have been brought up believing that split infinitives are a dreadful solecism — indeed, it was a newsworthy event when the Queen's speech contained a split infinitive a few years ago. Goodness knows how many people have rewritten sentences to comply with this arbitrary prescription.

It's less widely observed nowadays, but a rule that is observed by most educated writers for about a century is hardly insignificant. Surely this is an example of a prescriptivist rule that has affected language over a prolonged period of time?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 11:26 AM on April 5, 2007


Once again, you're confusing edited text with "the language." Prescriptivism has had considerable success in keeping split infinitives, singular "they," sentence-ending prepositions, and the like out of official publications (for no discernable purpose, but that's another story). They have had no effect on the general usage of English speakers, which is why their desperate jeremiads have to be repeated constantly. As I have often said, the point of such proscriptions is not about language at all, it's to provide an arbitrary demarcation to separate sheep from goats. "Tsk, that person split an infinitive/talks with a Brummie accent/doesn't wear the right spats—we need pay him no mind."
posted by languagehat at 12:52 PM on April 5, 2007


This would definitely raise the level of discourse on the Internet, no question about it.

I am also in favor of Submit buttons that force the sender to read what s/he is about to post.
posted by Down10 at 12:55 PM on April 5, 2007


Amateur that I am, I considered edited text to be rather a major part of the language. But if the question is 'what effect does prescriptivism have on everyday speech', then I agree with you.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 2:01 PM on April 5, 2007


I love edited text. Hell, I edit edited text. And sure, it's "rather a major part of the language"—just not nearly as major as we literate folk tend to think. Or put it another way: it's major in terms of influence on other edited text and on the mindset of the literate/cultured part of the population, but it's a drop in the bucket of the vast sea of language use, and it is the latter that is "the language" in terms of linguistics. Language change happens in that vast sea, and the plucky little boat of textualists can keep up or curse futilely.
posted by languagehat at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2007


question, lh: do you ever have to call an author and ask "hey, i'm not sure if this is a typo or you being 'clever.' should i put the correct spelling or what?" or do they put little notes in the margins for you saying "NOT A TYPO?"
posted by shmegegge at 2:41 PM on April 5, 2007


All us copyeditors tend to put "OK as is?" or some such in the margin; that sort of thing comes up a lot. Of course, the more dickish editors just change it to what they think it should be, which is why so many authors froth at the mouth about editors.
posted by languagehat at 2:45 PM on April 5, 2007


You say prescriptive, I say descriptive.
Leds kal ze hole thin ov.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:00 PM on April 5, 2007


Yeah, as a linguist in training, I am wholeheartedly descriptivist. Give the human mind some credit for the incredible task it performs in learning how to plant its own thoughts accurately in other minds via the bizarre media of vocal-cord twanging, inksplatting, handwaving, and what have you.

But that's as a linguist. As a thinking, communicating person, I am rather more prescriptivist. I do not subscribe to all the prescriptions that are in circulation—some of them are just shibboleths, after all—but I do ardently support the ones that improve communication, more particularly standard mechanics (punctuation, capitalization) and the principles of style (ask Orwell, Strunk, White, or Joseph Williams).

Which is to say, I wouldn't mind seeing some grass-roots spelling reform (grass-roots, because official language reform attempts are almost invariably ridiculous for reasons that l'Sprachchapeau has pointed out), if it were well-harmonized with existing orthographic patterns in English (scroll 90% down for 'Ozzymandias' in reformed spelling). But your/you're preserves a useful distinction between two different grammatical functions, and if you're typing on a full keyboard there's really no excuse to mess it up.

I will grudgingly admit ur if you are using one of those awful input methods that device-designing idiots presently insist are the best choice for portables. Grudgingly. Don't get me started on how Jeff Hawkins solved this problem fifteen years ago, and the Xerox lawsuit jacked it up, or how predictive text solves it again, or ... *raves half-intelligibly about chorded keying, statistics, ergonomics, and the Invisible Hand being a jackass*
posted by eritain at 1:14 AM on April 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't understand rigid insistence on a standard that is not supported by any authorities

Standards are created for a reason, 'hat, and it's not just for consistencies' sake. For example, the rule for the pluralization of single letters used to require an apostrophe, regardless of capitalization (ref), but over time it has been dropped. Why? Because the original intent was to avoid confusion (As or A's?) When it comes to language I am stodgy-utilitarian: if good reason exists to do something a certain way, do it, otherwise defer to traditional convention.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:21 AM on April 6, 2007


Fair enough, and I'm feeling so full of goodwill I'm going to assume that "consistencies' sake" is a deliberate reference to the various consistencies (ideas of consistency?) that underlie the different usage manuals.
posted by languagehat at 5:09 AM on April 6, 2007


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