Q: What is this and why is it on the screen?
CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart and it's designed to help this site cut back on spam posts. The reason why this is important is because more and more programs are being used to send spam messages to forums and other sites with user-supplied input in an attempt to place links on public sites to send people to their sites. Many of these sites illegally sell prescription drugs or pedal pornography.

In an effort to prevent that material from making onto the site and/or filtering it out before an admin can get around to screening submissions the Captcha is designed to reasonably determine whether or not you're a human and not a spam bot. Simply type in the two works that appear on the screen and if they match what the Captcha server thinks they are, then you're in!

Q: I've seen something similar to this on other sites, but this is different. What's the ReCaptcha project?
It's a program originally run out Carnegie Mellon University that actually uses the Captcha tool to allow everyone (you and me) to assist in the scanning and digitization of books. You can read more about how they use the input from the Captcha challenges to resolve difficult to scan words here.

Q: What if I am visually impaired?
There is a link associated with the Captcha control that when pressed will play an audio snippet from which you'll have to enter in some information that was communicated within it.

Q: How can I avoid this hassle altogether?
Simple - sign up for an account on Austin Explorer and when you are logged into the site there will be no need to determine whether or not you are a human. We'll give you the benefit of the doubt!