Ellen Byron

I am NOT a robot, so verify THIS, you #$#%!

I’m all for internet security. God knows I get enough Facebook Friend requests from military widowers to justify NSA-level precautions on that site. I only download FB’s Messenger app when I travel because literally 99% of my messages are from strangers in Eastern Europe and read something like this: “Hello to you. I see your picture and you  pretty. How be you today?”

However, even given that there’s an absolutely need for the highest level of security on the Internet in general, I’ve come to despise those “Select all the images with (road signs, street lights, cars, etc.).” You know, these…

Because I NEVER get them right, even when verifying for my own website through Wix. Like the picture below, where you have to click each square where there’s a car.  This was my inner dialogue when I had to deal with this verification nightmare: There’s a little bit of the white car’s wheels in one box. Just a little, though. Does that count? You know what, I think it does, I’ll click it. Wait, it doesn’t count? You’re  making me do another round of this? And another and another? NO!!!

Capture - vehicles

These are so hard for me to that if I nail one on the first round I practically burst into tears.

And where are these photos shot? Are they in real countries? What language is this? Where are these streets? I must know!!!

Capture - yet more street signs

The location below looks like an interesting spot. I might want to visit it sometime. BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS!!!

Capture - more street signs

Sometimes you run into a sign that’s in English but doesn’t look like it’s from any English-speaking country you know of.  But another storefront sign in the same panel will be in a different, undecipherable language.  It’s like an evil, torturous psychology test.

And who are the people shooting this pictures? Was this their career goal? Did someone clutch their photography degree and then announce to their parents, “Thanks for spending a fortune putting me through college. I’m off to unrecognizable countries to take photos of signs, roads, cars, and storefronts!”

Capture - roads

Looking at the image above, with signs I’ve never seen in any country in my entire life, I’ve come to believe there’s a parallel universe that only exists to be photographed for verification purposes. The citizens of this universe are all robots and every time we click that we aren’t one, they laugh and say to each other, “Ha ha, not yet you’re not.”

Today, when I go about my internet day, I pray that the only verification request I get is one of ones where you just have to add one plus two.

Capture -easy

Easy pease, it equals three. Wait, that’s WRONG?! I’m not verified? I have to go through this again? And again and again??!


Readers, am I alone in having these pictures drive me nuts? Where do you think they were taken? Any guesses? Have you ever gone, “Wait, I’ve been there!”?


32 thoughts on “I am NOT a robot, so verify THIS, you #$#%!

  1. I am so with you on this, Ellen. I can handle those verifications that are basically a checkbox to “verify you are not a robot,” but when it comes to choosing boxes and deciphering blurry strings of letters and numbers I rarely get them right on the first try. And back when I first started publishing and figured I should finally get on social media, I made the mistake of responding to one of those “How are you?” messages, figuring it must be some friendly reader who had found me through my books (naive, I know, but back then I was sure my legions of fans wouldn’t be able to resist contacting me). I got back a three-page response about what this guy was looking for in his future wife. That was the first and last time I made that mistake!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Marla, we’ve all been there. That’s why I send a message now when I get a Friend request, asking for a bit more info. I’m sure some “widower” has slipped by, but it definitely helps weed them out!


  2. Oh I am so with you on these stupid images! I could scream every time I get one of those stupid captcha things that say pick out the cars or whatever, can we say overkill? Clicking a box that I”m not a robot isn’t annoying but spending 2-3 minutes just to get to something annoys me to no end. So glad I’m not alone on this!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. No, Ellen. You are not alone. The photo Captchas drive me nuts. I have the same questions. “Well, there’s only a corner of the sign in this picture. Does it count? No? Yes? I’m WRONG?”

    The math ones are nearly as bad.


    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m so with you. I especially hate it when you have to do it correctly twice. I just proved I’m not a robot. Why must I do it again?????

    Fortunately, I usually get the picture ones correct the first time, but it’s still a pain.

    The math ones always make me stop and think. Not sure what that says about this accountant’s brain. Of course, one of the numbers is usually in Roman numerals, so that is at least part of the reason.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Agree 100%. Why are there so MANY picture boxes? Who has time? Thanks for this post, Ellen. Now we don’t feel so alone in our inability to click all the right squares!

    I also struggle to a comment on any Blogger site that doesn’t have name/URL option. It will not let me “sign in” using either WordPress or the open ID thing. So I get caught in a loop of endless verification, including image boxes. I’ve had to give up!

    And Kathy, yes—-those are super hard to read!!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I think those photos were taken in a parallel universe! I have the same problem with them that everyone else mentioned.

    And yes, I have on occasion given up after a couple of tries. It makes me wonder sometimes if the blogger is really even interested in responses.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you for making me laugh, Ellen. Yes, where are those places? And the math problems – it took me ages that I was capable of adding 2 + 2 but the darn thing would time out before I could. The robots are having a field day with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I really dislike those Captcha things & don’t understand why we can’t have the check mark verification all the time. I especially hate the ones where they keep changing out the pictures as you click on the ones that meet the criteria.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Yep so with you! I always feel when I get the pick the boxes that they have singled me out because of something I have done, did I click the wrong things, have I clicked to rapidly through something?? What! What! What did I do. I cannot stand these things!!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Great post! I’m with you, Ellen. I spent forever one day trying to decide if one picture was a beverage or ice cream. These tests are one of the rare occasions in my life when I’d prefer to do math!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I tend to cuss when I see these stupid things. The most annoying ones I get are when you click the pictures, it’s doesmt say you did it wrong, but says now find more. Like, can I say FU instead? It’d just too much. If I mess it up twice, I know ther has to be a bug in it, and I scroll away!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. LOL — YES!! Your title had me laughing before I even read the post. And now I want to dust off that half-finished draft of my rant against open-ended password security questions!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Well, I feel so much better now! I thought I was the only one who couldn’t do those verification things. I get so steamed that sometimes I just give up and congratulate myself on being a robot. (Or by succeeding, do you get to BE a robot? Remember those, “Are you an artist? Draw Sparky and find out!)

    Liked by 1 person

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