I've just encountered a new level in online annoyance.
The dreaded Captcha is being replaced on some blogs by an innocuous check box saying "Please prove you're not a robot".
Up to now, on blogs I've visited this simply involves clicking on the box and posting the comment. This morning's, though was different.
When I clicked on the box, up popped a new form that at first I thought was an irritating pop-up advertisement for something to do with cookery. After a few second's hunting for a way to dismiss the intrusion, I realized it was part of the verification process.
I was presented with a dozen pictures of food, and the instruction to click on all those that involved pasta or noodles. Sounds easy, except the images were too small and grainy to confidently tell in many cases what they were pictures of. I tried, but didn't find enough to satisfy the beast and it gave me a new test. Ice cream this time. This was easier because they were more obvious, but there were clear cultural assumptions at work. Who outside of North America, for example, would know that a round carton with a big "DQ" on the side needed to be clicked?
In my view, this now officially surpasses Google+ and Disqus in the "pointless ways to piss off your readers" stakes.
I can guarantee that if your blog inflicts this on me I will not be leaving a comment.