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CAPTCHArt is a word-image association game that involves drawing comics using a combination of two words randomly generated by reCAPTCHA, an automated challenge-response test used by websites to prevent spambots from creating posts or registering as a user.
The term “CAPTCHA” was coined in 2000 by Carnegie Mellon University faculty members Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper and John Langford. It is a contrived acronym based on the word “capture” and standing for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”
The practice of using CAPTCHA to create artworks dates back to 2009, when SomethingAwful user Bonk created a forum thread titled “What the hell is reCAPTCHA?” on May 20th, 2009. Due to the thread’s popularity, it was soon featured as SomethingAwful’s official “Photoshop Phriday” threads.
The CAPTCHArt became popular again circa July 2010, when 4chan founder m00t forced all users of the site to use reCAPTCHA to validate their posts. This decision was met by mixed responses from 4chan userbase, but regardless, many began posting their unique two-word phrases under various threads entitled “Write Your Captcha” with screenshots of the original reCAPTCHAs.
Soon enough, others started posting images relevant to the two-word combinations, putting their CAPTCHA phrases into context and creating an image based on the two random words. On 4chan, this action became popular amongst the drawfags, a slang term used to describe users who liked to draw. On July 28th, 2010, a Tumblr blog called Captchart began collecting and posting submitted artworks.
In 2011, CAPTCHArt also inspired Inglip, a Rage comic series centered around a stick-figure who often holds non-sensical conversations with his acolytes through the medium of reCAPTCHA, on Reddit.
SomethingAwful Forum – Draw things from randomly generated reCAPTCHA text!