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In which CAPTCHAS are not so much a cure that's worse than the disease as a disease in their own right.

While I was on a Moorcock essay tip, I went to the Michael Moorcock's website to see if his short essay Epic Pooh actually did have some sort of a sequel as promised*). Multiverse.org is largely built on forum software, which is a less than ideal way to manage a website to start with, but still I was more than a bit surprised to find that I had to fill in a CAPTCHA before said software would show me search results.

You read that right. I had to prove that I wasn't a bot before I could search. What the fuck? I know from bitter experience that spambots can be a cancer on even a well-protected website and that spam can take down a server. And yes, spammers will post into any text box in any web form. But as long as you don't post search terms to anyone other than the searcher's results page, and there's no reason why you should, I don't see how bots carrying out searches are the sort of problem that can be solved by harrassing legitimate users with CAPTCHAS. Not that there is any problem for which CAPTCHAS are the solution, but this particular use of them takes the bakery.

*) Answer: Yes. "Continued" didn't look clickable but it was, and clicking it caused the next page to show. The printer-friendly version is probably more convenient to read.


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