The "Are you human" verification is required when performing certain actions on a Stack Exchange site we're not logged in to, such as performing a search.

Are you a human being?

We apologize for the confusion, but we can't quite tell if you're a person or a script.

To be fair, it's pretty quick and painless, just needing to click in a tick box, and it seems to last for the duration of that visit.

However, it would be much better if the scripts which request the verification could instead check if we are logged in to another Stack Exchange Network site.

Since the new login system already recognizes logged-in users and invites them to "join this community" (photo credit Normal Human), it's an obvious lie to claim "we can't tell if you're human".


Although status-declined, seems some recent changes in the code have inadvertently resolved this issue. I've not seen a request for captcha when visiting a site I'm not registered with and am logged in to another site.

Seems like the Unicorns defeat evil once again...


  • 3
    I'm not sure it's technically possible due to different domains. (but if it is, it makes a valid request) Jun 27, 2015 at 21:57
  • @sha I do not know either, but I would have thought it is possible given we can be auto logged in when visiting another site
    – James
    Jun 27, 2015 at 21:59
  • Despite the fact you're not suggesting you to auto-login, that's almost the same thing. I guess it would be too much efforts comparing just to the fact you can log in - or create an account if you don't have one. Also, probably there can be some kind of hack, but the cookies don't seem to be shared between different domains.
    – nicael
    Jun 27, 2015 at 22:00
  • I voted to close as "no-repro" as new login system stops this, but then realised I am an idiot and this will still be good for site's we've not yet joined.
    – James
    Jul 24, 2015 at 12:14
  • 6
    Indeed, I think the new login process makes a stronger case for this proposal.
    – user259867
    Aug 6, 2015 at 22:50
  • I would really really like this to happen. +1
    – MTL
    Aug 7, 2015 at 0:40
  • a) Are you aware that this function is to protect against compromised web sessions and cookies? b) Are you looking to save time or is there a deeper problem that's worth engineering another solution to the session problem and/or cleaning up potential damage to the site if this restriction gets removed?
    – bmike
    Aug 13, 2015 at 20:02
  • @bmike "Are you aware that this function is to protect against compromised web sessions and cookies?" Did you read my full question? I'm only asking to remove this function when we are already logged in to another Stack Exchange site - i.e. I have cookies/session/etc already established on another site so I must be trust-able :)
    – James
    Aug 13, 2015 at 20:23
  • I get that prompt as a moderator when I'm clearly logged in to the same site as I moderate - so I think I get what use case you wish to eliminate. This function is about not trusting the cookies that signify a user is properly logged-in in the first place. Feel free to question whether I didn't read your post, though. I was just trying to help you strengthen your case if you hadn't considered the multiple purposes that captcha was designed to address.
    – bmike
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:36
  • 1
    "I get that prompt as a moderator when I'm clearly logged in to the same site as I moderate" You shouldn't get that prompt on the site you are logged in to at all. Only sites you are not logged in to, which with the new cross site login, that now means sites which you have not registered with. My point is, if I'm logged in to serverfault, stackoverflow, MSE, codereview, etc, and I go to a site I'm not registered with (so not logged in) it's daft I'm not trusted!
    – James
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


The login system has been substantially re-written over the past few months; as a result, it should be increasingly rare for you to be logged in on one site and not logged in on another, assuming you have profiles on both.

In cases where this still occurs, there are two likely possibilities:

  1. The system can't determine that you're logged in, as if it did you wouldn't be shown the CAPTCHA. This also precludes any check that would eliminate the CAPTCHA.

  2. You don't have a profile on the site. Create a profile.

There are, of course, more esoteric possibilities; the likelihood of addressing any of them for this purpose and not for login is pretty slim.

  • 1
    I've noticed a disappearance of the captcha for sites where I'm not registered (which was the main issue) so seems whatever was changed has had a positive effect on this cheers (good job :D ) Tho... wouldn't that make it status-completed, rather than declined? Whatever was done seems to have provided what was requested, just take credit ;)
    – James
    Nov 14, 2015 at 21:38

This is not an answer per se; just an observation.

Perhaps this is a social engineering push to get more people to join all of those extra sites.

I personally don't have the time. I just want to be able to search any stack exchange site, with no friction, occasionally.

  • 1
    Hmm, I can really be a cynical old sodd but I think that's not likely. Stack are not like that, and even if they were they'd know that move wouldn't help anyway. People join new sites when they want to post or perform actions, and forcing people to join just to avoid a "catpcha" doesn't force them to be involved or do any more than they would without joining (i.e. just searching and reading).
    – James
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:05
  • Yes and No. There often seems the American way to monetize everything. Jeff Atwood I believe in no longer involved in the day to day running of the sites and he seemed to be the voice of open access etc. Stackexchange do have investors and investors tend to like a return on their investments. My cynical view of the world.
    – kingchris
    Oct 9, 2015 at 11:33

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