UPDATE OK, MAYBE IT'S FIXED NOW, GET IT ALL OFF YOUR CHESTS.
Special thanks to DT reader and dev wiz Chris who got all CSI:PNG with his suggestion to check gamma conversion settings, and BAM.
I swear, I can't figure out what's going on, but damn, those captcha images are dark.
What is up with that?
If you've tried or wanted to leave a comment on Daddy Types recently--you might have given up when you saw an illegible captcha text that you're like, "hah, I'm supposed to read that? Is this a joke?"
The worst part, besides annoying many of you, is calling my hosting company, and explaining the problem, and having the tech support guy go, "What, does that look dark to you?" Like I shouldn't be driving at night now or something? IS MY CAPTCHA ONLY ILLEGIBLE TO GUYS OVER 35? SHOULD I PROVIDE AN ALTERNATE VERIFICATION METHOD SUCH AS, WHAT, IDENTIFYING X-FILES CHARACTERS? IS MY ALLCAPS YET ANOTHER SIGN OF OLD MAN PROBLEMS?
Image::Magick is commonly mentioned as a source of problems in MT captcha errors, but I can't find any examples of too-dark images; usually it's broken or non-existent ones. Still.
I went into my static image folder and tried manually adjusting the background images. Then I made them completely white. As captchas, these should be increasingly useless at preventing comment spam, but at least they'd be legible again. I thought.
So that's the deal. The captcha system is running amok, darkening itself beyond my control, and seeking to shut down all your meaningful and insightful comments. And I am apparently powerless to stop it. If you have any suggestions, please email me. Thanks.
And first, and last, and most of all, thanks and apologies to all of you who have emailed your concern, your tips, and your comments in the mean time.