Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The New Stumbleupon CAPTCHA helps decipher books!

As of March 11, 2008, Stumbleupon users will now have to enter a CAPTCHA code when entering comments on some websites. The decision was made with the intention of cutting back on spammy comments left by fake users and in an effort to help decipher scans of old books. To do this, Stumbleupon has teamed up with

The interesting aspect of this new decision is how reCAPTCHA is using the deciphered codes. On their "About Us" page, reCAPTCHA states:
Over 60 million CAPTCHAs are solved every day by people around the world. reCAPTCHA channels this human effort into helping to digitize books from the Internet Archive. When you solve a reCAPTCHA, you help preserve literature by deciphering a word that was not readable by computers.
Don't worry, they claim they're legit... According to their FAQ:
"Are you a spammer using this service to break other CAPTCHAs? You found us out! Ok, just kidding. No, we're not spammers trying to break other people's CAPTCHAs by funneling them through our service and getting our users to solve them for us. reCAPTCHA is a university project with funding from reputable sources. If we were spammers, our department would fire us!"
Since the codes seem to be rather difficult to make out at times, there is also the option to hear a series of number read via audio, that the user can then type into a box below.

Wanna try it out? Then just try to comment on this page with your Stumbleupon account by clicking here. It seems that the reCAPTCHA code appears randomly, so it might not work this particular time. Happy stumbling!