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Re: Captcha and inaccessiblity

From: Tom Croucher <tcroucher@netalleynetworks.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 16:16:02 +0100
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <oprw8vc0vou930jj@mail.icet.co.uk>

Agreed, exceptions are not good. I was one of the people who argued against 
them for advertising.

However this isn't about spam persay. It is about a company such as Yahoo 
having to choose between running a free service like Yahoo mail with a 
captcha or closing it down because without one so much spam is sent through 
their systems it becomes unecconommic.

The problem as I mentioned with a text based system is that it is much more 
in the realms of classic AI and NLP. This makes it difficult and unwieldy 
to perfect. I think it is a solution for the near future but not one for 
the today. Visual captchas are proven, audio are just about there (from 
what I know) so they are two solutions already available, better we 
advocate getting as close as people can to a 100% accessible solution than 
slam the door on them.

Tom

On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 11:08:14 -0400 (EDT), Charles McCathieNevile 
<charles@w3.org> wrote:

> On Sat, 18 Oct 2003, Tom Croucher wrote:
>
>>
>> Charles,
>>
>> A couple of points, firstly yes it might be inaccessible but I am trying 
>> to
>> be pragmatic. If we can help find soltuions and offer advice to 
>> companies
>> that feel they need this feature that can only help. Companies for 
>> example
>> could argue that it is uneconomic to not use captchas. How many of use 
>> have
>> recieved spam from yahoo or hotmail or aol addresses. Yahoo uses 
>> captchas
>> to attempt to address this issue.
>
> Sorry, I am not arguing that reducing spam is bad thing. It would be 
> helpful
> to work out how to do something like this, but my point was that even 
> having
> the options of image and audio would still lead to problems - and that if
> that is the case it should automatically follow that such a solution 
> could
> not pass the guidelines.
>
> I think it is generally known that I think any kind of exception to the
> guidelines based on something other than accessibility is a huge mistake.
>
> I think your idea of questions can help provide alternatives. I disagree 
> that
> text is universally accessible - it is a requirement of anything 
> universally
> accessible that it be available as text, but that's not enough as a rule. 
> But
> being able to put it in ways that are hard to automatically treat can 
> help
> for a while.
>
> by the way there is a theory in security, which basically says that club
> locks won't work because everyone will need to get one before they stop
> people from stealing cars, whereas car locator beacons work because even
> though you can steal the car you will get caught. Stopping people sending
> spam through yahoo is like buying club locks - it means those who don't 
> do
> similarly will be better targets for spammers...
>
> cheers
>
> Chaals
>
Received on Saturday, 18 October 2003 11:16:08 GMT

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