Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Will You Captcha?

A while back on my other blog, Compost And Creativity, I introduced a creativity warm-up exercise called The Dictionary Game. This Two Red Threads challenge is based on a comment made to that post by Daryl Lancaster:
As I was typing the comment, I had a thought. Instead of using the dictionary, maybe you could do the same thing with the random word that appears that you have to type in order to post your comment. This word is insalsy. I can think of all kinds of places to take that one.
I bet you can, too. So here it is -- The Captcha Challenge. A Captcha is a type of "challenge response" used to make sure a comment is generated by a person, not a computer. In other words, to filter out spam. When you write a comment to a blog post, you'll often be required to respond to a Captcha before your comment can be published. I like the two-word Captchas you have to respond to before posting a link on Facebook, because they always seem to be somehow (if weirdly) related.
 Here's how to take the Captcha Challenge.
  1. Pick a color. Write it down. This will be the dominant color in your challenge piece.Why choose before you get your Captcha? Read about Connections, Constraints and Creativity over at Compost And Creativity. You might even want to pick a color you don't particularly like or that you never use.
  2. Pick a technique. Write it down. This will constrain you to one dominant technique in your challenge piece. It can be as simple (a quick paper collage or doodle) or as complex (all French knots, applique, a basket...) as you like.
  3. State your bid. Sorry for the card-playing analogy if you don't play cards. Anyway, enter a "bid" of how much time is reasonable for you to devote to this challenge. It may be 5 minutes, it may be 5 hours. It's up to you, but set a constraint.
  4. Hit the comment button. At the bottom of this post there's a link that says "Comments." Click that link.
  5. Comment 1-2-3. In the comment box, type your selections for color and technique and your time bid. Choose an identity option -- you can remain anonymous or use your name and share a link to your blog or web site.
  6. Hit "Publish." When you hit the button for "Publish Your Comment," that's when you get your very own Captcha. Before you type your response to the Captcha, write it down for yourself. 
  7. Define the word. Come up with a definition for the Captcha word. If it's a familiar word, write it backward (like in the Dictionary Game), and give the new backward word a definition.
  8. Go play. Using your Captcha and definition and the color, technique and time frame you've assigned yourself, go make something.
  9. Captcha an image. Take a photo with your digital camera or cell phone or scan your completed challenge project.
  10. Post a picture. I've set up a Flickr group here for images from the Captcha Challenge. You'll need a Yahoo ID for this, but it's free and it's easy and we'd all really, really like to see what you did. 
There's your challenge for February. I can't wait to see what you Captcha!


  1. lily lodge lady said... teal, looping and 1 hour 15 min.

  2. I'm really not trying to cheat, but I forgot to write the word down before I hit publish, unaware that the word WAS the word! great start ... the word - this time is CRANTI.

  3. KnittenJen, could that be alternately titled "The One That Got Away"? Thanks for the smile.

  4. After fiddling with my word for the better part of an hour, I figured that someone else had already invented this wheel and found this link -just enter your 6 letter word and out come the 720 possible variations thereof:


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