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A change when adding comments – please read

Posted by Admin on November 24th, 2012


This site currently receives over 65,000 spam comments each month. The vast majority of these (>99.9%) are intercepted by the excellent Akismet spam filter and so never appear on posts but they are still an unwanted drain on server resources.

I have therefore introduced a Captcha that will need to be completed before a comment can be submitted. No, not one of those that uses impossible to read distorted letters (particularly on hand-held devices) or silly drag-and-drop games, just a simple arithmetic sum as shown on the screenshot below. I felt that this was a better option than requiring you to register at the site and then having to log in before being able to add a comment.

Until you get used to the change, I strongly recommend that before you click on the ‘Submit Comment’ button you right-click and pick ‘Select All’ (or use Ctrl+A) followed by right-click ‘Copy’ (or Ctrl+C). Then, if you forget to fill in the Captcha, you can paste your comment back into the empty text box (right-click ‘Paste’ or Ctrl+V). If you forget to fill in the Captcha, after clicking on the ‘Submit Comment’ button you will receive an error message and you will then need to use your browser’s ‘Back’ button to return to the post.


18 Responses to “A change when adding comments – please read”

  1. Paul B says:


  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Paul B. You drew my attention to the fact that I hadn’t modified the ‘Preview’ plug-in so that the site matched the screenshot I generated earlier.

  3. Derek Lazenby says:

    It would be less missable just above the Submit Comment button, especially if one doesn’t scroll down far enough to see it.

    Presumably you will change the sum with some frequency?

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    OOO look! It HAS changed! Belay previous question!

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Derek
    “It would be less missable just above the Submit Comment button, especially if one doesn’t scroll down far enough to see it.”

    I agree. In some WordPress themes it appears above the text box but with the one we are using, which I don’t want to change as I rather like it, it comes at the end. I could possibly change this if I edit the relevant theme file but at this stage I would prefer to concentrate my efforts on other methods of reducing cpu usage.

  6. Rishi says:

    No problem, Gaufrid.

    The arithmetical captcha that you use is different from the one that I have seen elsewhere. Here one of the numbers is in words (or should I say ‘is a word’).

    But it is quite easy and so I can cope.

    Now let me prove that I am a human.

  7. Gervase says:


  8. Gaufrid says:

    Derek @3
    Further to my previous reply, I have added a reminder to scroll down above the text box.

  9. bagbird says:

    A well thought out and sensible solution.

  10. nametab says:

    simply testing

  11. cholecyst says:

    …me too.

  12. Ally says:

    The spammers really ruin everything don’t they! I am glad you went for the sum kind of CAPTCHA, I can just about cope with those. My eyes aren’t what they used to be so I had to download some CAPTCHA bypass software called RUMOLA to read the regular kind! They just look like a rather lumpy motion blur or something half the time and make me feel ancient. Thankfully arithmetic doesn’t have this effect.

  13. anax says:

    If the Captcha device reduces spam, it should prove much more effective than losing so many posts from the first page. After all, the page content is only text, so the difference between displaying 10 posts and 50 should be unnoticeable.

    On one or two occasions over past couple of days the site has been very slow to load or has failed to establish database connection (on other occasions it’s been very quick). With Captcha and reduced page content in place, it looks like the webhost is still providing a, ahem, ‘less than perfect’ service.

  14. muck says:

    If the catchpa ia part alphabetic and part numeral, eg two + 8, can the answer be either alphabetic ie ten or numeric ie 10 ?

  15. muck says:

    It appears that the answer has to be numeric

  16. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Anax @13
    I would agree with you which is why I am actively looking into a change of hosting company.

    Hi muck @14
    The solution box will only acceprt a maximum of two characters so it has to be numeric, as you have determined. Part of the Captcha is alphabetic in an attempt to fool the spambots. From the stats for the past couple of days this is not entirely successful. However I am loath to change to a traditional, often unreadable, Captcha nor the alternative of a childish drag-and-drop game.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Gaufrid, have a look at the Captcha on my Messages page on my web site. It is wiggly characters but not unreadable. My message board is provided from, maybe if you mail them they would tell you where they got from, or if it is their own, whether they make it seperately available.

    However, just looking at the HTML/Javascript for that page, I could be wrong, but it looks like all the code is present on that page. Might be worth a look. I can sort of do HTML/Javascipt coding, but I prefer to leave it to others as it’s not my area of programming expertise.

  18. muck says:

    The spambots are too *deleted by me* clever
    But please stick with the present Captcha unless things get worse

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