By Richard Cobbett on May 22nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm.
Very little bodes quite as ill as an attempt to make something boring ‘fun’. Learning. Taxes. Opera. It doesn’t really matter. At best, it adds an increasingly ignored diversion to an unwelcome task. At worst, the added glitz makes it even more irritating.
In unrelated news, Are You A Human is attempting to make CAPTCHAs fun.
Yes, CAPTCHAs – officially known as “Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart” by people who don’t quite get what acronyms are, or “Those Stupid Bloody Things That Don’t Bloody Work” by site-owners everywhere. Since Those Stupid Bloody Things That Don’t Bloody Work don’t bloody work, they’ve gone from simple ‘type in the word’ irritations to gut-wrenching stupidities in the last few years, where you’re somehow meant to sift words from a pile of chickenscratch that no human being this side of a HP Lovecraft story would be able to decipher, all in the name of going “First post!” or “LOL!”
Are You A Human puts a different spin on it – asking you to play a random game instead. Put the drinks in the cooler. Drag a sports car to the parking space.
Engage and defeat Sartharion the Onyx Guardian with three drakes. Catch some butterflies. Each only takes a few seconds to master, meaning that only humans and Wario will be able to get through*.
(* Unless the system becomes popular enough to be gamed, obviously.)
It’s not a bad idea, but it doesn’t go remotely far enough. For starters, a system that only permits humans to enter or comment on a site completely ignores that most humans are smelly and horrible. These games should really be stealth tests of character and experience, taking a few cues from Kingdom of Loathing’s Altar of Literacy. Forget dragging fish into ponds – I want to see people dragging apostrophes into sentences! I want quick-fire trivia questions that casually slip in “Have you ever commented on a Daily Mail article?” and forward the failed IP addresses straight to the ban list. You know how annoying it is to have people leap to comment while still hot and spewing rabid foam? Put a few rounds of Puzzle Bobble between them and having their say, and enjoy the new era of calm, civilised conversation. You know it makes sense.
And at the very least, they need to add CAPTCHA The Flag.