Do you have problems commenting here?

Someone wrote in complaining that their comment was lost  because of a wrong answer to the anti-apam-quiz.

Said commenter presumed it was a cultural reference they weren’t getting. Actually the answer can always be found in the post. The idea  is that a commenter responding to a post they haven’t been reading carefully enough actually is spamming.

That’s the theory, but said commenter spent serious time here, and then was engaged enough to complain through the contact form. So maybe it’s really easy for new visitors to miss one little detail in the post. Also, there are apparently no second chances; pushing the back button on a failed entry brings you back to an empty comment form. I see how that would be annoying. I can’t easily change the no-second-chances thing, but I could change the quiz or use other anti-spam-measures entirely.

So, questions:

Is this an isolated case or do other people have problems with my anti-spam-quiz?

Have you ever lost a comment?

Would you prefer I used captchas or math problems?

If there was no human-proof at all, but innocent comments occasionally spent a day in the spam-queue  before I rescued them, would that be better or worse?

Have you ever been unable to comment because you just didn’t get the question? Or has the right answer ever  not worked?

Would you comment more if there was no quiz?

If you already comment, would you put less thought in it if there was no quiz?

Do you have other points on comments, moderation, and spam control you might want to share?

For obvious reasons, there is no anti-spam-quiz on this post. Update: Sorry, after 13 deleted spam comments, I decided to bring the quiz back even on this post.  Also sorry to the guy who actually did write a comment and will have to wait another day for an answer because I wrote this instead.

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3 Responses to Do you have problems commenting here?

  1. Gilbert says:

    So 25 minutes before I had to delete the first spam comment. Clearly some kind of protection is necessary.

  2. Nick says:

    I considered commenting on one of your posts, and knew the question offhand (which is nice btw, because I use the word fora too), so presumably I wouldn’t have had trouble with the question. That said, I guess I may have accidentally misspelled it or something.

    I find captchas really annoying if usually necessary, so I recommend no on those, especially if they cause us to lose posts as well. Math problems would be interesting, but if I was confronted with a topology problem or something and really wanted to comment I’d probably cry.

    Having all the comments be approved might work, but that’s extra work for you so as long as lost comments are very rare I don’t see much benefit.

    I would not comment more were there no quiz unless the question was bizarrely difficult (“What German word did I deliberately misspell in the ninth paragraph?”), but I don’t think you’d do that to your commenters anyway. Though to be fair this is the first post I’ve commented on and it has no quiz.

    How about a compromise? Keep the questions but add in parentheses after each one “Don’t forget to copy (ctrl+c) your post in case you miss this question!” or something.

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