The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Testing a reverse captcha

Back when you could sign up to get email notifications of updates around here, I noticed some spammers were attempting to abuse the script, and after playing around with it, I decided to scrap that feature, but later mused on using a reverse captcha to keep spammers at bay.

But while I dont' have comments, I do invite comments on another website I control. And that form is now getting spammed (and like my former Obligatory Email Notification, the only one who sees anything is me).

Heavily.

And when they're not hawking 3″ mortgage extensions, I get incomprehensible stuff like:

Name
embohette
Email
gorgiovgit@list.ru
Comment
<a href="http://salihome.info/show/index.html">Three hip-hop artists have key parts in American Gangster.</a><br> <a href="http://oscines.cn/myspace-layout/index.html">Andre 3000 takes a turn with Charlize Theron in Battle in Seattle.</a><br> <a href="http://myspace-layout.tripod.com/">Robert De Niro and Al Pacino reunite next year in the crime drama…</a><br> <a href="http://rigolu.cn/sex-portal/main.html">MORE big screen… </a>
Submit
Panic

So I decided to put my “reverse captcha” theory to the test. I added a non-displaying <TEXTAREA> to the form, and if it's changed in any way, I ignore the submission. I'm curious to see how long it takes the spammers to adapt, if any bother.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

http://boston.conman.org/2000/08/01

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

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