Monday, 17 May 2010

Captcha Coincidence

Captcha coincidence is the term given to typing in a comment on a blog post and discovering that the wobbly word verification, the captcha, is uncannily apposite. I know that this happens to everyone sometimes, but it has been so noticeable over the last few weeks that I am beginning to develop a paranoid suspicion that at the heart of the vast universe that is cyberspace there just might be SOMEONE watching us...

I have been jotting my latest captcha coincidences down in my blog book and this is the sum total of the last few weeks:

Nonsibs and trashi = both when I was (politely) disagreeing
Holytiam = comment on spirituality
Slyeeze= comment about David Cameron
Loutcro = Nick Griffin
Bluet = Avatar
Luber= (you can use your imagination for that one)

It can be hard not to take the wobbly words to heart, I really felt quite good when the captcha approvingly proclaimed “Abbess” at a recent post, but “sicko” seemed a bit harsh.
Of course, rationally speaking, what actually happens is that our minds “make meaning” over the captchas, the ones that are simply a jumble of random letters are soon forgotten, but those that by chance spell an actual word are remembered, especially if it is in any way relevant, complimentary or insulting.

I am almost certain that everybody experiences this phenomenon at some point and a quick google suggests this is so. The one featured below is not mine - but I do sympathise...


  1. No kidding.. I wrote a post on 'Do you believe in the devil' saying I don't.. but feeling a bit superstitious about it all.. and someone commented and at the end of it said:

    [Slightly freaked that the word verification for my post is "idamn"!!]

  2. I once googled "Anglican Mainstream" and the verification word was arsoles. Isn't God amazing?

  3. I was commenting just now on a blog post about how ministers feel stressed by the details of the job and the word verification was "prest."

    It's weird how often it happens.

  4. Thanks for the comments and I hope the wobbly words were good to you:)

    Lesley,I have to say that the sentient being at the heart of the cyberverse does seem perched on your blog at this moment in time - my comment on your post on women bloggers elicited "unblog" - and let's just say that is not the first time....spooky, huh?

    Hi LKT, nice to see you commenting, have had a peek at your blog and will browse more later.

    Rev Jensen - are you sure that that word from the Lord wasn't meant as "our souls"?

  5. Yes, similar coincidences have happened to me, when posting a comment on a blog. As with Lesley Fellows, some have been rather unnerving. I don’t know the workings behind how these words and phrases are generated. But it strikes me that if we understood why these coincidence occurred we be able to explain some of the weirder things that happen in the world.

    I’m sure you will remember all the fuss over bird-flu a few years ago, when the planet was sent to suffer a major pandemic? It didn’t happen, but what is curious is the aviary where patient zero (or in this case parrot zero) was identified in the UK, was across the road from the farm where the first case of foot and mouth had been confirmed, in that epidemic a few years earlier. What are the chances of that?

    One of the reasons why I am fairly guarded with strangers and don’t bare too much information or opinion about people is because so often I have found I have weird connections with total strangers...

    Spooky stuff!


  6. I wonder whether the word verification program is designed to use letters from your comments box to formulate its 'wobbly' word. It might be just as simple as that!

  7. That's a good idea and it would explain a lot (phew!) That's a bit of a "blind watchmaker" theory.
    Thanks for commenting- your first I think?

    I had a look at your blog. The post on the ascension was interesting. I nearly blogged on how I don't really "get" the ascension and it doesn't seem to mean much to me( hence I didn't go to any of the ascension services on Thursday.) Feel free to correct my ignorance or berate me, anyone!

  8. Suem, yes that was my first comment on your blog. I've had a sort out recently and have popped some new links (including yours) on my own blog.

    Yes, the Ascension is rather difficult and I was very surprised to find next to no mention of it in the early Church Fathers.

    'Blind watchmaker theory' - I like that.

  9. I've noticed attendance at Ascension Day services has fallen off considerably in the last 20 years, probably even more so in the 20 or so years before that. I wonder if it's at least partly because we know more about space than we used to, so the idea of Jesus ascending into the sky doesn't really capture our imaginations? Or maybe, with the huge influence the renewal movement has had, we just want to jump straight from the Resurrection to Pentecost?

    Iffy Vicar

  10. Perhaps the ascension is a bit too "beam me up Scottie" for us now - interesting to find that it isn't in the writings of the early Church fathers, Andy.

    I have linked back to your blog, Andy.
    I've been really busy this week, but will do a big catching up with blog posts this weekend.

  11. I think the apostles, the first Christians and the early Church Fathers really expected Jesus' return any moment. That is why Jesus' ascension wasn't really so important.

    It's like "He's coming back any minute and we are not really concerned with how he left us last time."

    It's only in the second century and beyond that the Church begins to think about the Ascension.

    Thanks for the link, I too will have to catch upon your story!