New CAPTCHA Has a Moral Twist

CAPTCHAs seem to be a dime a dozen these days, right? They are everywhere, demanding you decipher their often cryptic words in order to pass go and collect $200. Some are for a good cause such as every time you successfully complete a CAPTCHA you help digitize a classic book. Others ask you to look at photos instead of garbled, nearly impossible to read words. While they began as a well regarded method for blocking spam bots, these days they have become more of a nuisance and annoyance than anything else. The newest version seeks to change that trend but it has an interesting twist that some people may find even more annoying.

Introducting Civil Rights CAPTCHA. This version presents the user with a serious question like this:

“The parliament in St. Petersburg recently passed a law that forbids ‘homosexual propaganda.’ How does that make you feel?”

The responses are a collection of positive and negative such as “good”, “troubled”, “angry”, “pleased”, and so on. The trick is to pick the one with the most empathy and compassion. If you do you pass. Which response do you think is the right one? The answer a bit later.

Civil Rights CAPTCHA is the brainchild of Civil Rights Defenders, an organization whose mission is described on their website as: “We defend people’s civil and political rights and empower human rights defenders at risk.”

They are hoping this new CAPTCHA raises awareness of social issues and marginalized groups. Will it be successful? That remains to be seen. It certainly seems promising as far as its spam blocking power but will legit users accept it or find it the most annoying CAPTCHA ever? What do you think? Is it a good idea or does it go too far?

In case you’re wondering, the answer to the Civil Rights CAPTCHA question above is “troubled”. Did you get it right?

Written by Sue Walsh


  1. Maria Ortiz · October 10, 2012

    The idea wasn’t very original – there are many captchas that require to enter the answer to a question or to sum/subtract numbers in order to pass. Still, the Civil Rights captcha does stand out from the crowd. I personally am not annoyed by it, though I might be if I can’t guess what the correct answer is supposed to be.

  2. Jack Montgomery · October 14, 2012

    I really have no problem if the idea is original or not, as long it does its job—that is, reduce spam by preventing robots from manipulating comments. What I don’t like is when the CAPTCHA becomes unintelligible. I understand it should be hard to detect, but I’ve encountered too many of them that are no longer readable! Seriously, we’re not Androids; we’re humans whose ability to see letters and numbers are highly dependent on the size of the text and brightness of the screen. I wish there will be more audio CAPTCHAs, though. I think they’re more effective than the regular ones.

  3. Quinn White · October 18, 2012

    Well, I’ll be very honest. I really don’t care about the evolution of CAPTCHA. I wouldn’t even mind writing down “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Yeah, it’s a mouthful, but like I said, I wouldn’t mind as long as it keeps those intruders at bay and scratching their heads on how they can beat the new system. I also wouldn’t mind as long as the letters and worse are readable, which then reduces the chances of me committing a mistake when inputting the letters in the blank space. Otherwise, moral or not, unintelligible CAPTCHAs will always annoy me to hell.

  4. submarinejet · October 23, 2012

    The answers are subjective so all are correct and none are incorrect. Worse than pointless, these type of CAPTCHAs are attempting to force opinions onto people. Roll on the thought crime police state.
    “How does that make YOU FEEL?”
    Doubly subjective…

    P.S. My answer is pleased.

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