You (yes very) precious few visitors to this blog may notice that I have implemented a captcha form on my comments area. CAPTCHA means (and I discovered this only today) “Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart.”
I did this not because I think there are robots among my very precious few readers, but because of reCaptcha.
To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being photographically scanned, and then, to make them searchable, transformed into text using “Optical Character Recognition” (OCR). The transformation into text is useful because scanning a book produces images, which are difficult to store on small devices, expensive to download, and cannot be searched. The problem is that OCR is not perfect.
—What is reCAPTCHA?
Comprehension and the human eye are more reliable than a scanner’s optical character recognition software. So everytime you provide the answer to a captcha code before submitting your comment, you are actually helping reCAPTCHA digitize books two words at a time.
So I beg your patience for the additional step you need to take before submitting a comment, but I assure you it’s for a good cause. Allow me to explain the three icons that you can see on the form.
Clicking on this icon will bring up a new captcha image in case the current one is much too illegible for you to decipher.
Clicking on this icon will start the playback of a voice reading off eight numbers, and you need to enter the numbers that the voice dictates into the box.
Clicking on the question mark icon will bring up the small help screen as a pop-up window.
reCAPTCHA can be implemented as a plugin for WordPress blogs, as well as other widely used CMS software.
In addition, reCAPTCHA has something that can help you cloak your email address, a technique which you can use for your signatures in forums and websites.