questionsdo you hate those scrambled word security thingsā€¦


Yes, I hate them with a passion. I had one recently where the word was upside down. WTF am I supposed to do with that?


I usually have to click the refresh button a dozen times before it is an image where each letter is recognizable. There must be a better way...


@90mcg112: Maybe turn your keyboard upside down? But, seriously, that is pretty funny. What do they expect you to do for that?


It's a kind of reverse Turing Test. Instead of a human asking questions of an AI to determine whether the AI response can be distinguished from a human response, CAPTCHA is a computer asking humans to prove they are not machines. The Revenge of the AIs. Alan Turing would have loved it.

And I fail them about half the time.


@adadavis: Thanks for naming it. I tried to google up the name for it but I couldn't come up with a query that gave me the answer. I love your response. The irony actually assuages my irritation.


Yes, but I see them being used less as time goes on. So now they're just a minor annoyance rather than the unholy bane of my existence that they used to be.


For reference, those things are termed CAPTCHAs.


I used to until I discovered the current application of the CAPTCHA. I saw a program on Luis von Ahn (NOVA Science Now). When we complete a CAPTCHA, we are actadecoding one of the thousands of classic literary works that has been scan for digital reading (and made free to us, the reader. Check out the transcript here:

Here's a portion:

LUIS VON AHN: There's a lot of projects out there trying to digitize books; Google has one, the Internet Archive has another one.

NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON: But there's a problem. Many of the books are old and faded, so when the computers scan them, they don't recognize many of the words.

LUIS VON AHN: For things that were written before 1900, between 30 percent and 40 percent of the words, the computer is going to decipher wrong.

MANUEL BLUM: They were written at a time when the type didn't line up always nicely, and what remnants we have of it are smudged.



NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON: Luis's solution was to take these hard to read words from old books and use them as CAPTCHAs.

But this raised a new problem, the computer would now present a word that it could not read in the first place.

MANUEL BLUM: The computer didn't know what the answer was. How is it to be able to tell what the right answer is?

NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON: Luis found a solution: to combine the word from an old book with a traditional CAPTCHA generated by the computer.

MANUEL BLUM: We'll give two tests, one that we know the answer to, one that we don't. And if the person can solve the one that we know the answer to, then we'll assume they can solve the one that we don't.

NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON: They called it reCAPTCHA. Now, every time you type a CAPTCHA, you may very well be working for Luis, transcribing an old book.

PETER LEE: Today, on the order of 125 to 150 books per day are being digitized because of reCAPTCHA. It's an amazing thing.

Feeling less annoyed? Worked for me :)


BTW, my solution is to make the screen much larger (hold down Ctrl and scroll) making them fairly easy to decode.


Yep. I do find it funny when it posts non-english characters though. Or when the scrambler makes it so illegible I cant tell a Q from a Z or an I. But I just refresh and after a few refreshes, it's something I can actually read or type.

It's not that big of a deal really, but they're a nuisance.


It only bothers me when it is a 10+ letter word that has questionable capatlization.


They've never bothered me too much, it's pretty rare that I get one wrong, and I don't think I've ever had to retry it more than once. One of my best friends however hates them with a burning fiery passion, apparently he has really bad luck with them lol.


I once got a word on a reCAPTCHA that was literally in Greek. I wasn't exactly sure how to go about that one, my keyboard is missing the "omega" key.


@oscaroni: so Captchas("Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart") are supposed to ensure that a response is generated by a person, but reCaptchas are to help machines read old text made for humans.
In summary: Captchas keep machines from reading computer text. ReCaptchas help machines read human text.


@sheetz: a lot of times those are tests. There is a legit word to type in and the other is just a marker. You can literally type in anything for that word w/ greek letters.


The "security" really isn't for our benefit but for the site's benefit. It prevents bots from posting comments and creating accounts.

How it also benefits us is that it also prevents bots from auto-purchasing all the tickets for a concert.

Yeah, it's a hassle but there is some good to it.


I can't stand them. They are very difficult to read, and I never know if they will be caps sensitive, or if I should try to replicate the "special" characters in them!

That said, they do server a purpose. I just wish there were a better way, today...


I understand them as a necessarye vil most of the time, but sometimes the letters are too close in color to the background, or the random non-character lines form what looks like a character.'s captcha's are brutal.


I) 4hA8T?E tH&eM))

Seriously though I'm just glad they aren't on a timer.


My daughter got this one yesterday. We don't have a Hebrew keyboard.


I hate Captcha. I have been known to abandon websites that use it and not return. I honestly wonder how much business is lost due to this abomination.


It's much, MUch, MUCH better than the alternative. Go set up a free forum that requires generic registration w/o out CAPTCHA security and post the link on facebook.

Now, do the same thing but WITH CAPTCHA. It's an amazing difference.

Try it out some time :)


I don't mind them when they're in English and mostly readable, but some of them are just ridiculous. Nonsense words and random letter combinations or words that are so distorted that no human could possibly read them. Sometimes I think they raise the bar a little too high.


They make me feel mildly like an idiot. I'm a teacher, and my students incessantly punch in their password wrong for Google docs, so it falls to me to figure out the ridiculous combination of letters and numbers so they can get in and do work. They always think it is funny when I miss one. I used to try the audio version but it may be even worse.


Ugh I just hate those things!


@ecwhitt77: Yeah, what's that about? I've tried the audio version expecting it to be clear and it was worse. Why is the voice version distorted? Are there spam machines listening to the internet as well as reading it? My post this morning was prompted by a site where I was simply trying to post a comment on an article. The CAPTCHA at the bottom was two words which were actually completely legible. I typed them in and it refused my entry and erased my comment. My comment was pretty short, so I retyped it and copied it. I tried again, two perfectly legible words on the CAPTCHA, but it wouldn't take it and erased my comment again. Thinking I'd outsmarted the confounded thing, I tried to paste my copied comment, but paste was not available. I made one more try, typing in my comment for a third time, and when it kicked it I gave up. I have no idea what I was doing wrong, but it was only dogged determination that had kept me going that long and it ran out.


I initially laughed at this question when I saw it. Then 5 mins later I was fighting one trying to buy Shinedown tickets.
I usually never have problems with them, till today.


I've learned that I only need to fill out one of the words in reCaptcha. I can just put random text in the second one. Telling which one is know is fairly simple (ie. it wont have numbers, symbols, punctuation, or be a different font).

Sure, it's kinda cheating, so I reserve that method to words I just can't get (for example there's no square root sign on my keyboard).

I wish more people would enforce Clickcha. It's secure and non-frustrating.


@moosev2: That's the first time I've seen clickcha. I saw another one recently that asked me to select the lemon out of a bunch of different fruits. That one was extremely non-frustrating as well.


@moosev2: You do know that sort of circumvents the the "good of mankind" part of the reCaptcha (that second word is one that scored low on an OCR test for the digitization of old books).

Anyway, I've seen clickcha like verifiers on a few sites, and they are about the most unobtrusive method of human verification.

Click on the picture of the dog :-)


i also hate this thing,it waste me a lot of time and even when i typed wrong,it tell me to retype again!


I hate them. Especially the ones you can barely read because the words been distorted so much like mixing paint colors.


@oscaroni, that is by far the most interesting thing I've learned in ages! Thanks for the info. Who knew?


@moosev2: I don't think you need to type anything for the blurred word. Just type the word that's easy to read.