Our hope and desire, in the writing of this blog, has always been to remain open to comments and conversation. From the beginning, we intended this to be a vehicle to connect us to the wider community. Unfortunately, the decision to leave this place freely accessible to comments means that we have to deal with the two biggest hassles of the blogging world: comment spam and what my friend, Paladin, refers to as "Spite Trolls (those evil subhumans that seem to take delight in the drive by nasty comment)."
I've never figured out what to do about the Spite Troll phenomenon. I have, at one time or another, ignore them, confronted them, and attempted to identify and out them. None of those strategies is entirely effective, and for the most part, I have simply made up my mind to the fact that the occasional visit of the Spite Troll is a cost of doing this kind of writing.
Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
The biggest issue with captcha options is that it discourages people from making comments. I know that I have sometimes tried to leave a comment, and missed the fact that I also needed to complete the captcha puzzle. Wondering where my comment has gone has become a commonplace occurrence as more and more blogging friends have resorted to this method of protecting their websites. Too, I know there are times when I have to try two or three or more times to make the captcha thingy work. On a day when I am not feeling very determined, I can just throw up my hands in frustration and give it up. So, captcha, I know from personal experience, can discourage people from commenting.
It is a dilemma. More and more spam means more and more time spent defending my blog from these nuisances. I wish I didn't have to do it. I wish Blogger's spam filters were more efficient/effective. I wish there was some way to screen for comment spam that was friendlier to my human friends and neighbors. I found one product from a company called Are You a Human, that looks like a viable option, but it does not seem to be compatible with Blogger. So... At least for now, I will continue to delete spam comments by hand and leave this place open and easy for humans to comment as they will.