The reCAPTCHAs have suddenly become almost illegible. I regularly have to change it four or five times before I find one I can read. I am tempted to just enter the known word (an easy guess), and leave the other. Can something be done?
Stack Overflow is a tech savvy community. If users are complaining Recaptchas are too hard to read (I for one can only solve 1 in 10), then the situation is beyond the pale.
NB. Users with high reputation are seldom asked captchas, hence are oblivious of the issue (edited to be civil)
Saw these today at https://meta.stackoverflow.com/captcha/. If you can solve even one of these, maybe there is no issue? Note that for some of these it would be difficult if not impossible to solve even one of the two words - and how many new users (you know, the ones that are more likely to trigger human verification) will have any idea that you only need to solve one?
(I especially like the "1 cm2" one which looks like they tried to redact it.)
If I can find those by hitting refresh for 5 minutes and seeing a bad one about every third or fourth refresh, I'm sure this is a pretty frustrating issue for users who hit this naturally. Requesting a new captcha is not a terrible hardship, but the output should always be readable, and should always contain characters I can enter using a standard keyboard. Giving me something I can't solve does not allow me to prove I'm human nor can it expose me as a robot.
That said, I don't know if there's much we as a site can do about this directly, unless there are other captcha services to consider. It seems we are largely at the whim of the quality that Google chooses to provide; even if we can drastically improve the algorithm which triggers a captcha, if you get more than a couple in any time frame, you're likely to get at least one of these that you can't solve.
I'm not sure how relevant it is to the discussion at hand, but it may be surprising for some people to hear that recaptchas are used to decipher scanned literature.
It is not only for spam prevention, and knowing this may make it a little less annoying when glitches like this occur for you in future. Essentially, knowing that it's not a complete waste of your time, you are helping a worthy cause.
I'm sure if enough people skip difficult captchas they'll stop being given.
If you don't know by now and can't solve these, captcha's are basically being used as a deterrent now. You'll probably notice the sites that the captcha is impossible to solve will also have a premium or paid feature of whatever you are trying to access. While others like signing up for an email account or something completely free you will easily be able solve. It's not rocket science. Sites now look for any way to make money. So they take something that was Imo a bad idea to begin with and use it to their advantage.
You can look at other uses of deterrent as well. Take a forum for example. There are many forums that have an absurd amount of "security questions" and captcha's that are very hard to solve and it so obvious they are really just using it to limit the number of members. And in the end there is no way to argue with it as its deemed "security" measures.
So really you take a form of security to let actual people in, then turn it around to actually keep people out. which is why the whole captcha system was flawed to begin with. Eventually you will only see it on some shady sites, even the sites now that implement the impossible ones don't stick around for to long.