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Audience Participation

Civil Rights Captcha Harnesses the Power of Empathy

I can be a cynical person, but I have to say, this is pretty cool. Swedish human rights group Civil Rights Defenders has created a new type of CAPTCHA that requires those who want to register for or comment on a Website to choose the proper emotional response to a human rights violation in order to prove themselves not a spambot.

I like this “empathy test” approach for several reasons. One: It draws attention to real civil rights issues from around the globe that many people may not know about. Two: Even if some troll does want to respond that they’re “fascinated” by the idea of gay people being beaten with sticks, well, they’ll still have failed the CAPTCHA test and won’t be able to post whatever (probably awful) comment they wanted to share. And three: The most commonly used type of CAPTCHA—where you have to retype a pair of words—can be damn near indecipherable. I can’t imagine that many of the emotional responses the Civil Rights Captcha uses requires the Greek lambda.

The Civil Rights Captcha, currently available in English or Swedish, is free and ready to be added to a site using a PHP library or an http API.

(via: Wired)

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  • Lily Queen

    Clever, but I hope anyone who installs it realizes they’re restricting their readers to highly fluent English-speakers. That doesn’t seem particularly equitable. (I assume it’s a gimmick, but since there are still people whose blogs have the black-out SOPA plugin…)

  • Jasmin Billinghay

    But what if you’re a sociopath? Are we saying sociopaths can’t use the internet now? Is that not a human rights violation in itself?

  • TKS

    Concern troll is concerned.

  • Jodi Rives Meier

    As an American college instructor for 20 years, I can assure you it will weed out far more Americans than anyone else.

  • Sara Sakana

    As long as 4chan, 9gag, most of Reddit, DeviantArt, or YouTube comments don’t use this, I see no imminent threat to the intarweb freedom of you or any of your other fellow sociopathic douchenozzles.

  • Weckiai Grandbergs-Duncan

    Can’t believe I’m the first to mention Blade Runner/ Do Androids Dream of Electric sheep.

  • Anonymous

    I believe people with anti-social personality disorder would know (maybe even more so than other people) what the answers should be, even if they don’t feel the same way themselves.

  • Tempest in a Teapot

    reCaptcha is frequently indecipherable because it’s also a crowdsourced scheme for clarifying wonky words in digitized old books. The program looks for the most frequent “translation” of a garbled word that’s been used in many Captchas. You can occasionally get by only getting one word right, but only if it’s a rather new word in the database; otherwise you get a pass if you match up with one of the answers already in the database.

    This is cool, too, but it’s a sneak attack of depressing like the Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials. I’d rather stick to translating old books.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if it would be possible for a computer to beat this much of the time with a list of positive and negative words, and positive and negative concepts. Not a programmer, just wondering.

    And it’s a bit silly, anyway. I trust that I’m not a sociopath lacking in empathy for other people, and even if I were, it’s obvious what the desired answer would be in any of the above examples. That doesn’t mean that my heart is going to go pit-a-pat in exactly the manner prescribed by the folks who designed this.

    Well, it probably does beat those indecipherable squiggles, at least.