Civil Rights CAPTCHA Technique Fends Off Spambots with Human Empathy

Love 'em or hate 'em, CAPTCHAs remain one of the most valuable tools for website owners to help keep comment spam to a minimum. While figuring out exactly what a CAPTCHA is trying to tell you can be frustrating as a user, the alternative is to peruse a comments section littered with spam, scams and other garbage. That's not to say that the CAPTCHA idea is perfect, however, because it certainly isn't.

Simple CAPTCHA's can be easily broken through by bots, and if you tweak the settings too much, it suddenly becomes a real chore to those legit users who have to use them. But if you can easily understand the words being presented, then a bot can read them even easier, theoretically.

There have been many spins to the typical CAPTCHA over the years to further improve things from both the commenter and spam side, but few have taken off. The latest to hit the Internet, however, might just be compelling enough for some Web admins to pick up. It's called "Civil Rights CAPTCHA" - one that requires you to align yourself with the "right" mindset in order to bypass it.

A typical question seen with the Civil Rights CAPTCHA

Instead of offering a simple display of words that need to be typed in, Civil Rights CAPTCHA presents a question with three possible answers. An example: 13 human rights defenders in Cambodia were released from jail after far-reaching national and international protests. How does that make you feel? The possible answers here are Shy, Delighted or Unhappy - only the middle of which is deemed correct.

The answers to each question may vary slightly, but ultimately, you'll have to choose the option that most makes you look like an upstanding citizen to the general masses. That being the case, this system might also become loathed by those who have to use it. Few people like being forced into an answer, and even if you do agree with the "right" choice, some might consider it to be a form of preaching. When just wanting to visit a website or comment, that can be a bit off-putting.

Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see if this particular CAPTCHA catches on, or if variants of it will come about. This in essence combines both a CAPTCHA together with a Q&A test, so the potential to rid spammers should technically be far stronger - something very appealing to the website owner.