November 8, 2007 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Every day tens of millions of "captchas" are solved by humans, using undreds of thousands of man-hours of work. But what if those person hours could be used for something beneficial? They can be. (you may have noticed recaptcha being used on some notable sites)
posted by delmoi (23 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Took me a while, but I solved undreds.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:25 PM on November 8, 2007

This is a good idea, but I can remove or change letters from both words, including the known good word, and still get a "Correct!". They do resubmit it to different users, though.
posted by stavrogin at 8:28 PM on November 8, 2007

In other captcha news...
posted by gwint at 8:35 PM on November 8, 2007

qwint: that's old news, security experts speculated about that sort of attack almost as soon as captcha's appeared on the web.
posted by delmoi at 8:46 PM on November 8, 2007

this is pretty cool...
posted by schyler523 at 8:50 PM on November 8, 2007

I had always tacitly assumed that whoever came up with captchas had patented the concept, spun it off into a private company and was rightfully rich from licensing fees after such a million dollar idea. I am rather surprised that it's all freely available.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:57 PM on November 8, 2007

posted by Reggie Digest at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

BTW, did Blogger ever fix theirs? I don't know how many times I've written huge long comments before realizing I couldn't post them since the Word Verification thingy was busted.
posted by Reggie Digest at 9:05 PM on November 8, 2007

Wow! I just learned the term captcha today, and voila! Instant more captcha!
posted by humannaire at 9:15 PM on November 8, 2007

captcha fatigue
posted by blue_beetle at 10:04 PM on November 8, 2007

It's a captchaesque nightmare! And a very good idea.
posted by Abiezer at 10:55 PM on November 8, 2007

We can leave the security part out and rethink captchas as small favors and generally beneficial tasks that only humans can do. 'Post comment' -> 'Please brush your teeth first. Click ok when done.' Automated goodness.
posted by Free word order! at 1:25 AM on November 9, 2007

It's a very good idea, using words that are know to be hard by the best OCR around, not even sure why they further distort the image. But it seems fairly anglo-centric. They should start helping digitize books in other langauges and target it by langauge as determined by either the website or IP address.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:28 AM on November 9, 2007

Great idea, cheers for sharing.
posted by triv at 6:07 AM on November 9, 2007

I wish I knew how to integrate this into my oft-spammed blog. But I'm on Movable type with no inclination to potentially mess up my google rank by switching to WordPress.
posted by BrianBoyko at 7:30 AM on November 9, 2007

not even sure why they further distort the image
Seems to be so folks can replace their normal captchas with theirs. The distortion adds security.
posted by exogenous at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2007

As an illustration as to why IP-based language selection wouldn't work in my opinion:

I'm Dutch and based in the Netherlands; I just logged in using the new CAPTCHA (I'm at work, so temporary cookies), and one of the words I could swear was "roer", which is a word in Dutch but AFAIK not in English. Now, I know I *saw* that word and it could hardly be mistaken for any English word, so I had quite a hefty bout of cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile these two notions. (Perhaps I did misread after all, or perhaps it was an archaic or non-English word, but that is beside the point.)

Additionally, there will of course be people in a given language area's IP range who don't actually speak that language.

So it could work, sure, but it would have to be based on the website's language, moreover (and this is more important than some people tend to think) the interface and instruction absolutely need to be in the target language. Framing is important.

Carry on.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2007

When I saw the MeTa post about the new login, I thought, "Oh, Matt saw that from the same MeFi post I heard about this from." But there wasn't one.

I could have FINALLY made a good post! I read about this a month ago!

dammit dammit dammit
posted by solotoro at 8:07 AM on November 9, 2007

I could have gone a couple of months without knowing this, since I rarely have to log in. So I tried it and then I wondered how (if they were using me to translate) they knew I typed the right thing.
Jeez, I had to RTFA, damn you.
posted by MtDewd at 11:10 AM on November 9, 2007


What if we could make positive use of this human effort?

Can someone explain to me how this makes positive use of human effort that's already being expended? Because what this appears to do is to roughly double the amount of human effort and make use of half of it.
posted by gurple at 12:00 PM on November 9, 2007

The amount of wrongness you can have in your answers makes me kind of dubious about how good this is as a captcha.

Also, I feel like a complete tool when I say "captcha". It's like capture, but with extra dumb. Why can't things have reasonable names?
posted by blacklite at 12:24 PM on November 9, 2007

Now Playing: Frank Captcha's It's a Wonderful Life.
posted by eritain at 2:31 PM on November 9, 2007

John F. Kennedy captcha'd the Democratic nomination in 1960.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:46 PM on November 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

« Older Teen saves life, with help from Mythbusters.   |   In the Shadow of Lal Masjid Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments