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Blogger Implements Visual Verification Option to Fight Comment Spam and Exclude the Blind!

August 24, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow

Google has recently decided to implement an option for users of their Blogger service to require visual verification in order to post comments. The idea here is to prevent a problem known as “comment spam” where irrelevant, unwanted and occasionally offensive unsolicited comments are inappropriately posted to blogs, sometimes through the use of automated scripts. Fortunately, the visual verification is turned off by default, but we can surely expect a large share of blogger users to enable this security feature, immediately leaving the blind out of the ability to participate fully in yet another area of the Internet! As long as Google continues to deliberately insist on a visual verification scheme without accessible alternatives, this represents yet another example of the clear and present danger most of these systems represent for those of us who are physically unable to see. Check out the article straight from the source. After following the link in the article explaining the technique Google refers to as “word verification”, note that Google intends to differentiate between humans and automated computer programs. In fact, what Google is also doing with its inaccessible visual verification is differentiating between blind and sighted humans, targeting us for discrimination and exclusion, placing the blind in the same classification as automated computer programs and other nonhuman entities.

Obviously, despite recent incidents of “comment spam”, Blind Access Journal will definitely not enable visual verification. We urge all Blogger users to leave “word verification” turned off so as to avoid discriminating against and ultimately excluding their blind readers from equal participation!

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3 opinions on “Blogger Implements Visual Verification Option to Fight Comment Spam and Exclude the Blind!

  1. Darrell,

    You are constantly on the back of Google about their visual verification system and for this, I say, “Hurrah!” Hold their feet to the fire!

    With the latest advent in Blogger’s visual verification policy in regards to posts, my question to you is will you keep your blog at Blogger? In any other situation, would you continue to do business with a company who seems to have total disregard that their policy excludes consideration of blind people?

    I am also totally blind and have previously attempted to begin a blog with Blogger. I had to correspond via E-mail with their techs to set up the blog, but find it difficult to post to, so it sits idle. Meanwhile I have an accessible blog at Live Journal called
    One Graham’s View.

    Darrell, I think you offer a particularly unique insight on two fronts– one to the tech community of what blind people can do and a second view to the blind community about your experiences through your professional endeavors, both of which you communicate through the Blind Access Journal. Your blog is your forum and you are a advocate for your rights as well as those of other blind people through its use. I was just wondering if you will keep it with a blog provider which seems to marginalize the concerns of blind people.

    Regards,
    Ron Graham

  2. Ron,

    Aside from visual verification, I have actually found Blogger to be the most accessible such service among the several I have tried: Live Journal, WordPress, Xanga. Live Journal has so many of those annoying “clickable” links that I’ve never really done anything with my account there. I have, from time to time, considered researching and switching to a different blogging service. I may still do that. The possibility is most definitely on the table. Thanks for your encouragement and feedback.

  3. Darrell, nice job! Actually I’ve found Blogger to be quite accessible thus far. There are also some blogs I visit which use Moveable Type, and I find that service to be very accessible. Check out http://www.tabinc.org/sim , a blog set up by the folks at eSight Careers Network in collaboration with The Associated Blind, Inc., I think of New York. Just an idea. Thanks for your great advocacy efforts on behalf of visually impaired people. They’re really paying off.
    Jake

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