Open Letter to Bloggers with Word Verification

If you agree, please insert your name and link to your blog on the linky list below. Then I want to ask that you please refer as many bloggers to this as possible, because I really want this blight on the blogging experience to stop. Let’s try to wake people up?

*  *  *

Dear Word Verification User,

I love blogging. Really I do. It’s just wonderful to read people’s inner thoughts and respond to them, potentially starting a great relationship with them.

But here’s the vital word.


There’s also another vital word I am yet to mention, but it’s probably even more important to me.


See I (like most of my blogging friends) have full-time jobs. Some are full-time parents. Others are artists. Some work for their own or other business etc. Jobs take time. And what’s left goes to writing, spending time with those we care about and doing things important to us.

One of those things is blogging. And by that I mean posting our own blogs AND commenting on others’ posts.

We do NOT have copious amounts of time in which to do this. Think about it. I’m pretty sure you don’t either.

So imagine our incredible annoyance and frustration when we take time to comment on your blog. While we could zip through your writing and disappear without a trace, we think about what you wrote. We consider our own opinion to this. Then we write something meaningful that could have inspired you. It could have uplifted you. It could have given a point of view you were yet to consider. It could have introduced you to someone new and exciting.

But it doesn’t.

It doesn’t even get posted.

All thanks to this little tool you have activated on your blog. Word verifications, no matter what they say they do, serve absolutely no purpose if you already have a spam filter (which comes standard with most blog platforms). But they’re incredibly difficult to comply to, even when one isn’t sight impaired. More importantly, it’s impossible to do fast.

Did you know that if you fail the word verification more times than allowed, the comment just disappears? Do you honestly think someone with a limited amount of time and many blogs to visit will take the time to rewrite the comment? What about when you own the hundredth blog on a blogfest list to disregard the organizer’s request to remove verification?

If you say yes, stop reading here, because I don’t think I can appeal to your reason.

Looking at this from another point. You want lots of readers, yes? Does it make sense to aggravate every new reader wanting to comment on your blog?

Word verification kills blogging. We bloggers need to respond to comments, because that’s what it’s about. If, however, it’s too difficult to do, we’d probably move on to other social networks to get our interaction fix. If everyone does that, no one will be interested in reading the posts.

Let’s prevent this from happening before it’s too late. It matters to me whether blogging will survive, because while other networks give me interaction, I find it lacks a certain depth that can only be found in a blog.

Does it matter to you?

If it does, here’s what you can do.

New bloggers: Most blogging platforms come with word verifications turned on by default. You will not know until you check on your settings. Please do that. And if they’re on. Turn. Them. Off.

Those fearing the spam apocalypse: Please just turn the verification off for a week. Rather turn on comment approval. It’s much easier for a blog reader to stomach the fact that you’re going through a comment to check if it’s spam. At least you’ll get a chance to receive the comment. Or live on the edge. Turn both off. I did. In all this time, less than 10 comments made it through the filter.

But please. Just do something. It really ruins the experience for all of us.

Thanks in advance.


54 thoughts on “Open Letter to Bloggers with Word Verification

  1. I have Word Verification off, but comment approval on. That is one not because of censorship, but because somehow I've managed to get to a place where I have about 150 spam comments per week. Ugh.

  2. I couldn't agree more! Although, I get TONS of spam comments. So I've considered turning on word verification now and then, but I haven't. I just delete the spam.

  3. So… how many blogs with word verification do you visit (consecutive or not) before giving up on visiting more?

    If you keep going, I'm impressed, because I have neither the time nor the inclination by the time I've gone through 10. 5 on my tablet.

    My record is 20 in one day, I think, and that's only because I REALLY want to reach more people.

    I don't think most people starting out to blog want to waste their time with verification when they could do twenty status updates on twitter, linkedin, facebook etc. in half the time it takes to do 10 blog comments. NOT even including reading.

    And except for that. How many promising new blogs have you visited that stopped because it existed for months only to average 1 or 2 comments? I know there are other factors involved. But from all the new blogs I've visited that died within months of beginning (and I've been to a few) many more than half had word verification activated. I don't think it's incorrect to assume the authors gave up writing for what seems to be themselves. I remember how hard it was in the beginning. And I had single digit comments for MONTHS because I didn't know the verification was turned on.

    And here's the thing. How many people who stop writing blogs do you know who continued to comment and read blogs?

  4. AMEN is right! I never ever get those right the first time, and it is SOO frustrating. And when it eats my comment, I never retype it. I just don't have the time. And whenever I see a blog with that…I just get totally annoyed.

  5. I have both turned off and I've had no problem with spam. I dislike the word verification so much that I now only give it two tries. If my comment doesn't post within two tries. I quit. No time for this frustration.

  6. Oh MAN!! Im SOOOO glad and thankful someone is finally posting about this! i get SO frustrated when I come to a blog, read the post, and want to share the love and comment on it, to realize that it has Word Verification!
    So frustrating, and as you mentioned, time consuming!

    I do work full time. I am also a mother to a 11 month old and 6 year old. And when I can find time, I try to write, and when im not writing, Im reading…
    so what Teeny tiny ammount of time I can squeeze out to blog should NOT be wasted on Word Verification!

  7. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out some of the letters or characters because they are sometimes difficult to read.

    I don't allow anonymous comments anymore and that took away the spam (for me). I don't think that people who allow word verification are aware of the power of disabling the anonymous comment button.
    Great post, Misha.

  8. I'm with you. I stopped anonymous comments on my blog and I have the owner approval thingy set for old posts – between those 2 tools, I rarely get spam comments (maybe 1 or 2 a year – really rarely). There's just no need for it for most people.

    I do know two people who have been on the receiving end of some vicious comments so I understand why want protection, but I think moderation would work as well as the verification phrases.

  9. I agree so much on this topic — word verification is annoying and a complete waste of time! I signed the petition\agreement but didn't see it come up on the list 😦

    I had word verification on for the first month just to make sure I'm safe and then, turned it off and I was still safe and sound without it on. I DO moderate comments and that's way better than word verification.

    I will make mention of this on my blog as soon as possible and make it known!

  10. It did show up. The website I'm using did say it might take a few minutes for a link to show up.

    BTW anyone needing their names put into the list, but can't, just let me know and I'll do it. 🙂

  11. Ugh. Yes. All of this. You know, I swear it didn't use to be ~this bad~. The words used to be clear and not-nonsensical. But then they started using blurry foreign words that take a million attempts to get right. I probably ended up dumping 1/5 comments on other blogs.

    I'm always happy to comment, but when I hit that “comment” button and a captcha pops up? I groan. And then I wonder if the blog owner even knows this is on / it's probably not helping much.

  12. Oops… Well, I'm kinda guilty. I don't have word verification, but I do have a wait time for the “Approved” legit comments. For whatever odd reason I get spam every day, but since they arrive in my Spam Folder maybe I can set my blog up so that the comments that arrive in my other legit folder can appear immediately. Since I'm a technical twit I'll check with my friend who helps me with my computer stuff and see if I can do this.

  13. Nothing worse than something that interrupts your flow, even if sometimes it comes up with cool words, how is re typing blurred jibberish supposed to stop spam?

  14. Misha, now that I have a blogger bog I don't use word verification, but when I had wordpress I had too. I had my spam filters set as maximum as possible and still got spammed to the point it would fill my page.

    …If a blogger's word verification annoys me (and sometimes it does) I just don't leave a comment.

  15. If you have to use word verification on wordpress blogs, there are verification tools available where the commenter can copy/paste the code into the window.

    I don't mind doing that in the least.

    As for not leaving a comment. It's easy to say, but 90% of word verification I've encountered is hidden. So by the time I have to choose whether I have to comment or not, the comment has been ALREADY WRITTEN.

  16. I allow all comments, including anonymous comments. I do not use the word verifying thingy. My blog's been up and I've gotten a total of three spam comments, and the filter caught every one. Repeat – I have NEVER had a spam comment post.

    When I see a word verification on a blog, I give it one shot to post, then I move on. It's very annoying.

  17. No worries I know what you mean.

    Especially when you've REALLY gone through the trouble to write a deep and thoughtful comment. And I try to do that as often as I can.

    I guess that's part of the annoyance. The people who are neutral about verification clearly don't hit too many blogs. So… If they hit one it's “Oh… ugh” *enter verification code and don't care.*

    But I try to hit at least 40 blogs in a day. Can't do it these days, because verification is turning up EVERYWHERE. And when I've hit my 10th blog comment where verification is required, I'm indecisive between whether I want to scream, pull out my hair, gnash my teeth, or punch my computer screen.

  18. *10th comment in one day blah blah blah.

    I blame the fact that I'm dealing with ANOTHER annoying social media issue.




    Hopefully that one I can cure by creating twitter lists.

  19. Thanks Misha for this post. Word verification is driving me up the wall. For one particular blog with word verification on, I had to try four times to get the word right. I was so cheesed off that night I just did not want to visit that blogger again.

  20. I hate those %$#*% things! My eyesight's not very good, and having to enter them over and over is a real PITA!

    Anyone can simply delete spam or unwanted comments–or set their blogs to moderate. Nobody has the time to waste on them if they're following and commenting on several blogs.

  21. It's the reason I never enabled that feature when I started my blog, and though I haven't posted recently due to familial obligations, when I get back to it I certainly want to hear from others!

  22. I took word verification off my system early on. I don't have a problem typing them in- I rarely get them wrong- but I can see why they annoy people. When I get spam, I just delete it if it makes it past the spam filters, which is very rare.

  23. I discovered that if I don't allow anonymous comments, I don't get the spam..because all the spam comes from anonymous comments. And why is this spam even allowed to exist? It's the weirdest stuff that nobody would listen to anyway.

    I don't think word verification would be so bad if they didn't make it so hard. I swear the last time I had to use it, it took me five attempts before I got it right. Are the spammers so smart they have to make it impossible for humans to enter it right? I dunno….O.o

  24. I'm glad I saw this today, because I hate them abominable captchas. I can't really read them very well they run the letters together most of the time and even when I'm sure that I read & typed it right it still comes up wrong. And then my eyes hurt for several minutes after looking at them.

    Sure enough my blogs had that setting turned on. I had done that a long time ago and forgot that I had. When I had turned it on it was meant only to be left on temporarily. Man stuff is way too easy to forget when there is just so much going on.

    I have very little time to spend on commenting on blogs, and it does get very discouraging…

  25. So true. Another thing to take into account when deciding on activating verification is the fact that not all our readers have good internet connections. With verification the blogs have to load up to THREE times if you don't make a mistake during verification.

  26. Interesting post Misha. The problem is, this – like any preference – depends on the person. Personally? I'd rather deal with word verification than have to log in via WordPress or Google. Half the time I think I'm logged in and my comment does post, but the link to my blog gets lost. (Yeah, that could be user error on my part!)

    Also, I know I have a bunch of followers who are not bloggers and would not want to be bothered setting up these accounts just so they could comment. They like only having to enter their name and email.

    But I do know word verification does drive some people batty, so I had my IT department (dear Hubby!) update to a version that only asks for verification if the plugin thinks the comment is spam. This is a happy medium, I think. 🙂

    (I too have WordPress so it was interesting to read another commenter say that WordPress does tend to have more spam. I thought I was just a spam magnet!)

  27. I know what you mean. Especially with WordPress. When I have to log in. I actually have a wordpress account. But sometimes it takes so long to log in that it actually times out before I can publish the comment. >_<

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