Captcha enabled and we’re really, really sorry
Sadly, it’s also necessary at times.
What is Captcha? That awful bit of technology was developed in an attempt to make it impossible for nasty, automated bots to show up and slam comments sections on sites such as First Arkansas News with Spam.
Just about everyone has seen Captcha at work. It’s that obnoxious little application that forces people leaving comments or filling in other forms on sites to interpret a bunch of squiggly, twisted letters and type them. Interpreting a Captcha block is an effective way for a commenter to prove he or she is a human being instead of a spam-spewing bot.
By the way, the preferred format for Captcha appears to be all caps, meaning the folks behind this thing like to see it identified as CAPTCHA. Pretty much any organization, technology, company or anything else you can imagine that is identified in ALL CAPS will annoy all who come across it. Write that down and commit it to memory — it’s just a fact of life.
Now, seeing how this site is built on the excellent WordPress platform, First Arkansas News has been running since the day it was started with a plug-in called Akismet. That handy application is very good at keeping spam out of a comment section.
Akismet has been working overtime lately. First Arkansas News started in April and Akismet kept about 5,000 spam comments off this blog last year. Just this month, however, Akismet has protected this site from 11.364 spam comments.
On Wednesday, this site was hit with a bot that both overloaded Akismet and slowed this site down to the point where it was virtually unusable for about two hours. The bot simply pounded our comment section with post after post with links that would send people over to sites selling “legal” methamphetamine, Viagra substitutes and other terrible things.
Fortunately, the good people at our hosting company — Just Host — were able to ward off the bot so that we could again receive traffic. They advised us to install CAPTCHA to protect the site and we took that advice.
Still, CAPTCHA is annoying and it’s unfortunate that we have to use it. It would be great if our visitors could leave comments without having to interpret a bunch of distorted letters and numbers to prove they’re not bots, but that’s how it is. That’s a shame.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.