I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Removing Captcha

Photo: Dominic Sayers
Captcha (the technology that uses squiggly words for security reasons on various websites) helps to keep comment spammers – people who are paid by companies to post spam in the comment section of blogs with links back to their products – at bay.

I’ve used the feature here at Little Nuances for a long time and rarely does a comment spammer sneak a comment through it. But like any other security feature, it also makes it more difficult for everyone else. I received an e-mail a while back from a radio broadcaster who wanted to comment on a post but couldn’t get past the captcha. And I’ve received several e-mails since then saying the same thing.

So, yesterday I removed the captcha feature from the comments section of Little Nuances and within five minutes someone left comment spam. Within the hour someone else left more spam. By the end of the night, more than a dozen spam comments had been left and I finally had enough, so I re-enabled the captcha feature.

As I was thinking about this though, it made me wonder if I have inadvertently enabled captcha in other areas of my life. I’m introverted and shy so I don’t show my emotions externally in groups of people. That causes some to wonder if I ever get mad. It probably also causes them to wonder if I am ever happy. Of course, I experience both emotions and I exhibit both.

I’ve been going through a difficult situation recently and when I couldn’t get answers from somebody who has the answers, but just didn’t care enough to give them to me, I got angry. And happiness for me comes from the small pleasures of life – talking to family members, reading a good book while my cat is curled up on my lap, enjoying coffee with friends; they all make me smile.

But in group settings my calm demeanor sometimes comes across as being unfriendly, or worse, standoffish. It’s captcha in real life. I don’t mean for that to be the case. My demeanor is a product of being introverted, shy and not wanting to be noticed. When you are shy, and overweight, all you really want to do is to blend in – to be normal, to be accepted as part of the masses.

The thing I think I’ve often missed though is that being part of the masses means interacting with the masses. It means engaging in small talk. It means smiling at strangers. It means searching for common ground. I’m better at searching for common ground than I am at initiating contact. I’m at work in progress when it comes to that. But we're all in a work in progress in some way or another.


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