Hello, I am human, not a bot. Sometimes it is very hard for me to answer those captcha questions. Can you please use some other kind of question which would not require me to recognize letters?

Perhaps some simple logic questions?

  • 11
    How often are you seeing the captcha? If you have a registered account and a nominal rep, it should be pretty rare - I hardly ever see it... Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 6:32
  • 8
    It happens everyday at least one time / day...
    – psihodelia
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 7:57
  • 6
    What is wrong with you man/woman/person of indeterminate gender? What do you have against helping computers read books?
    – random
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 8:06
  • 2
    Keep in mind that you don't always have to be 100% accurate on these captchas. If you can't tell, odds are it's the less-well-known word pair, and your best guess will get past the captcha. Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 20:18
  • 7
    @Marc Gravell: if you edit your own post multiple times in short succession, the captcha comes up. I often get it.
    – delete
    Commented Nov 28, 2009 at 14:18
  • 2
    Then don't do that? Commented Nov 29, 2009 at 21:49
  • 2
    "Can you please make the captcha easier for humans?" OK, but we'll make it much much harder for the robots. So you'll need to tell us which you are, and no lying! ;-p (OK, I'm in an odd mood...) Commented Nov 29, 2009 at 21:51
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    @Marc Gravell: I don't see why multiple edits in a short period of time is a problem.
    – delete
    Commented Dec 6, 2009 at 6:06
  • About making it easier, the thing is, reCAPTCHA handles the CAPTCHAs, and it's highly unlikely that they'll make it easier for one specific site with problems.
    – Hello71
    Commented Jul 10, 2010 at 22:05
  • 1
    The real problem is that the captcha is presented for stupid reasons, like I took to long to do my edit (uhh, because I stopped and thought about it... or I went to get a fresh cup of coffee, or someone came in to my office/called etc... or any of a number of things real humans do). Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 18:40
  • So if the robot fails the logic question, he must be a human? =P Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 15:52

6 Answers 6


Sometimes they're a bit tricky, but there's always the "give me another one" refresh button somewhere on the right hand side - I very rarely get more than two unreadable ones in a row.

  • sometimes it's not easy, e.g. nn and m, l0 and 1o, etc.
    – psihodelia
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 9:32
  • 1
    Because CAPTCHAs rely on visual perception, users unable to view a CAPTCHA (for example, due to a disability or because it is difficult to read) are unable to perform the task protected by a CAPTCHA.
    – psihodelia
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 9:35
  • 1
    @psihodelia: That's why there's a loudspeaker icon, so you can solve a sound captcha instead of a visual one.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:24
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    but many people@job-place cannot use audio :)
    – psihodelia
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:32
  • @psihodelia: Not even with headphones, on the very rare occasions when you actually get asked for the CAPTCHA in the first place?
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:52
  • 12
    If Jon Skeet doesn't get bothered enough by captchas, then I really don't think it's a problem. He is after all, as close to the bot/human divide as any user of SO gets ;) Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 11:00
  • 7
    If you're visually impaired, and yet can't use audio in the workplace, how do you manage to work with a computer?
    – womble
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 18:10
  • We're splitting hairs, here, as womble correctly points out. Let's not overthink everything. You can't cover all the edge cases, there has to be a point where the reward is just too small for the resources invested.
    – alex
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 20:43
  • I think many people (including me) under-utilize the refresh captcha button
    – JP19
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 8:50

If you come across any problems with parsing the text/visual option of the CAPTCHA screen, you can reload it.

Or, you can click on the speaker icon to hear a snippet of sound for the audio CAPTCHA option.

captcha shot

If you fail both options, you are a robot. Why is the turtle on its back?

  • see my comment to Jon Skeet above
    – psihodelia
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:33
  • No speakers allowed (use headphones) or no soundcard?
    – random
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:35
  • speakers are allowed, but it is soooo long - take headphones, listen... it is also hard for someone whos native language is not english
    – psihodelia
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:45
  • So you want an even harder CAPTCHA system, one that uses riddles?
    – random
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 10:51
  • 3
    I suspect a non-trivial riddle might be a problem for someone whose native language is not English.
    – pavium
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 11:09
  • Nice hair-do, random. Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 12:01
  • I think if you have enough ear hair that you can comb it, that it is time to trim. Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 15:11
  • "My mother? Lemme tell you about my mother:" [blammm] Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 18:27

Some actual data from our daily W3C web logs.

Out of a million plus hits in a given day, here's how many times the page /captcha was served by IIS:

/captcha      1,252

For context, one particular element we serve on a lot (but not all) pages was served up 716,582 times in the same time period.

The data simply doesn't support the argument that the captcha is coming up a lot for people.


I'm having trouble parsing this.

It's difficult to read the letters, but doing a logic problem would be easier? The problem with logic problems (hah) is that you'd need to have a database of them. Lots of them. Or else there'd be enough repeats that a bot could still guess them.

I get the captcha every now and again, too; I also find it annoying. But making the letters hard to read is part of the point -- bots doing OCR will have difficulty with them, while humans (who have much fuzzier logic and are generally better at deriving meaning even from distorted shapes) will be able to make them out.

  • 1
    Emphasis on fuzzier. Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 8:38
  • Especially after a few drinks.
    – womble
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 18:12

Are you, or have you ever been, a machine?

Seriously, it used to annoy me a lot until I hit I guess 1000 rep. After that I hardly see it anymore. But it was annoying, not impossible.


There are other approaches to CAPTCHA that are much easier on people than those warped and distorted words. One called Confident CAPTCHA, for example, asks people to identify pictures of various things. It's very secure against bots, but a lot easier for most people to use. There are others that ask people to play a simple game, solve a riddle, draw a shape, etc. Websites should consider those alternatives when they're considering deploying a captcha on their site.

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