If you manage, or publish, any sort of online community, you are fully aware of the Arrogant Comment Trolls, who come into your home and poop all over the furniture because they feel is their blessed right to tell you how to think and what to do and they love trying to cut you down in your own forum.
Finding ways to press empathy into those emotional anonymous trolls is an ongoing wonderment, and the Civil Rights Defenders website created a unique way to make venomous commenters reconsider their purpose in posting their vile bile on your website by creating the “Empathy Captcha:”
A CAPTCHA is a test to tell wether a user is human or a computer. They mostly come in the form of distorted letters at the end of comments on news sites, blogs or in registration forms. Their main function is to prevent abuse from “bots” or automated programs written to generate spam. Civil Rights CAPTCHA is unique in its approach at separating humans from bots, namely by using human emotion. This enables a simpler and more effective way of keeping sites spam free as well as taking a stand for human rights.
With over 200 million CAPTCHAs being solved everyday, we hope that by catching a tiny amount of those interactions we can help promote and empower our partners – brave human rights defenders, who often put themselves at great risk through their engagement for other people’s rights.
Here’s how an “Empathy Captcha” works and looks like in action.
Instead of visually decoding an image of distorted letters, the user has to take a stand regarding facts about human rights. Depending on whether the described situation is positively or negatively charged, the CAPTCHA generates three random words from a database. These words describe positive and negative emotions. The user selects the word that best matches how they feel about the situation, and writes the word in the CAPTCHA. Only one answer is correct, the answer showing compassion and empathy.
I know it is sad that we need to use Captchas to help remind us of our humanity — but what other choice do we have an an ever-crassening world where rudeness and nastiness are the new greetings of a darkening day?
If we ever hope to become greater than ourselves alone together, then we need to find new ways to forge us as one again in a way that doesn’t impinge on personal liberty, but that also protects our civil rights. Is it really that hard to be kind to each other? I don’t think turning the the other cheek works very well today because we don’t have enough cheeks to turn to go around — I think it’s better to never have a situation where a cheek needs to be turned in the first place.