Many of you will have noticed that there’s now a new system for comment posts in place here in UKIP Daily. For most of you, all that’s required now is to tick a box declaring yourselves to be human (“I am not a robot”).
However, we had complaints from some comment posters that they now have to choose between pictures, and that these pictures are getting more and more frustrating.
“Mr Bav” sent me a screenshot – which I cannot reproduce because this would make his email public – and I was horrified. I’ve not had this problem, and neither did apparently most of you. What was going on?
Our excellent IT man explained to me that this new software we’ve now installed is based on a machine-learning system and is designed to keep out what are called ‘spambots’, i.e. machine-generated posts trying to sell something. If you check out your spam filter in your email account you’ll know what I mean.
Apparently, depending on your IP (Internet Provider), this new comments software generally regards you as ‘harmless’, but if you’ve been accessing many different websites, it may think you’re up to no good. Similarly, if you’re using different IPs, e.g. posting from your tablet or smartphone and then later from your PC at home, or from different PCs while visiting friends, or if you use some networks to protect your anonymity, this new software may think you’re a robot and then generates these picture puzzles which only a human, not a spambot, can solve.
I was told that you’ll get difficult pictures first, and when you can’t solve that puzzle, you get even more difficult ones. When you do solve them however, they will get easier until the machine-learning comments software has in fact learned that you are you and indeed not a robot. That means in effect: don’t give up and do persevere. The more often you do so the quicker the programme ‘learns’.
But: are there alternatives? And what are they?
We could for example go back to the old system where you had to fill in the Captcha Code … This was something many of you found very hard. We had numerous complaints, some rather vocal, and that was the reason we changed to this new system.
We could go to a system where you’d have to log in, creating an account, and then just post comments.
Before you say ‘let’s go for that’, here are some reasons why this is not such a good idea: in the first place, anybody at all could then register, leaving the site open to trolls such as “Mrs Merton” or “Cap’n Mainwaring”, if you can recall them … and we editors would then have to painstakingly remove them and all their posts – after the fact.
Secondly, such ‘open’ system would generate more comments (surely a good thing …?) which would still have to be moderated by the same tiny handful of UKIP Daily editors. That moderation is a must is shown by the current BoJo saga where comment posts on his facebook page, posted by whoever wants to post with a facebook account, has now left him open to further accusations of racism and islamophobia.Think what would happen if or rather when Momentum and HnH get cracking on such open system where us editors would be overwhelmed by mass comments.
Of course, if we had two or three extra “moderators” for every day … (anybody volunteer? Just one won’t hack it …), that might alleviate such mass invasion, but would leave us open to accusations of censorship when we delete such comment posts en masse. Also, please do keep in mind that ultimately your Editor-in-Chief’s neck is on the block, both with regard to UKIP HO and the MSM and other vested interests who are bent on smearing us, so moderation is a must.
So – what to do?
Go way back and make everybody solve arithmetic puzzles before they can post?
Go back a little and reinstall the ‘Code’ Captcha, i.e. the hard-to read (on purpose) numbers which so many of you hate?
Keep this one?
Use ‘disqus’ and let the chips fall where they may? (Disqus also needs to use moderators on top of moderators which are sitting in the USA …)
Anybody know of a better system?
Over to you!