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0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:12 am UTC
by Jared the Great
Image

Alt Text: I hear in some places, you need one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.

I've noticed the email thing too. Everything else, they don't care about. Not even credit card information.

Re: 970: The Important Field

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:13 am UTC
by mr-mitch
If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:18 am UTC
by VectorZero
Jared the Great wrote:I've noticed the email thing too. Everything else, they don't care about. Not even credit card information.
The difference being if you get credit card information wrong, then the payment simply won't go through (and it should be checked against the name on the card, so there are still two points of failure). If you get contact information incorrect, you can't supply receipts, which I would imagine carries certain accountancy/tax/due diligence/whatever issues.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:22 am UTC
by Ozkaban
And how many times to you copy/paste your email address from one field to the next???

I've always thought this the most stupid thing on web forms. Right up there with the ubiquitous email disclaimers...

Re: 970: The Important Field

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:24 am UTC
by chridd
mr-mitch wrote:If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.
"Check" is the American spelling.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:27 am UTC
by SpringLoaded12
inb4 people not getting the joke: It's a light ribbing at the idea that on certain web forms, such as forms for account registration, you must enter your email address twice to ensure you typed it correctly -- similar to the same practice when setting or changing a password -- but don't need to retype arguably more important info, such as credit card information, or in this case, missile launch coordinates. Type an extra zero by mistake and suddenly you've started WWIII.

I always thought the email address retyping thing was stupid, but honestly I'd rather just check what I typed than type everything twice.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:35 am UTC
by hetas
Credit card numbers have checksums so they can be validated.

I actually try to type in my email in both fields if there's two. But I can't recall if I have ever typed either of them wrong.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:43 am UTC
by ManaUser
I do find that annoying, partly because I have a macro for typing the address, so there's actually no chance of me misspelling it. It seems like that was a fairly recent development to make us type that twice all the time. But I do see some logic in it. Like the password, your email address often acts as a "key" to the account. If you typed someone else's email address by mistake, they could easily steal your account in many cases. And conversely, you can sometimes be locked out of an account if the email address is invalid. Of course unlike a password, the email address is not normally obscured by stars...

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:51 am UTC
by sinx
eh it's actually good for me. I have a ridiculous email that sounds something like phosphogluconolactone (but a different one), so I appreciate it...

Re: 970: The Important Field

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:56 am UTC
by mr-mitch
chridd wrote:
mr-mitch wrote:If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.
"Check" is the American spelling.


I need to check my US dictionary twice next time.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:59 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Just make sure that you don't type your email address into the coordinates.

mr-mitch wrote:
chridd wrote:
mr-mitch wrote:If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.
"Check" is the American spelling.


I need to check my US dictionary twice next time.


Just out of curiosity, do you pronounce it 'dik*shun*ree' like in "Look Around You"?

The primary language difference I agree with Brits about is "aluminium", as all other recent elements end in "ium". No one says "Helum", "Sodum", "Uranum", "Lithum", and so on.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:06 am UTC
by ManaUser
CorruptUser wrote:The primary language difference I agree with Brits about is "aluminium", as all other recent elements end in "ium". No one says "Helum", "Sodum", "Uranum", "Lithum", and so on.

And platinium?

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:08 am UTC
by jpk
I think Randall probably understands what so far has been missed by all of the responders here but one: the email address is the hardest thing on that form to validate, and it is the most important thing on that form. If you screw up your credit card number, the transaction won't go through. Guess what happens then? Yes, you'll get an email, very good. Suppose you fat-finger your address - your postal carrier might well figure it out, that's something they're actually pretty good at, but if not it'll come back to the point of origin. Guess what happens then? You get a gold star if you guessed "you get an email". Maybe you're going to be a persistent user of the site, and you lose your password some day. How are you going to handle the reset? Gosh, I guess it'll probably involve the email that you provided when you set up the account, won't it?

Now, what happens if you fat-finger the email? Well, none of that stuff ends up working. And since the only way to validate an email address is by return confirmation, it seems to be useful to enter it twice. If you have it stored as a macro or if your browser remembers it, nothing's lost by it, since you just hit the macro twice or let the browser fill it in twice. If you're entering manually, it's unikely you'll screw it up the same way twice, so any other mistakes you make won't cause any real trouble.

I think the bunch of you have just been trolled... by a cartoon. Congratulations.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:19 am UTC
by RAGBRAIvet
Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:29 am UTC
by sotanaht
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).


Either you haven't been paying attention or you are talking about JUST hats, since the previous page is in full color, and I don't remember there being any red hats.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:29 am UTC
by SonicIce
So I'm taking it Randall is anti-gun?

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:30 am UTC
by Dinoguy1000
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).

http://xkcd.com/969/ (i.e. The One Before This One)

EDIT: ninja'd...

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:37 am UTC
by mr-mitch
CorruptUser wrote:Just make sure that you don't type your email address into the coordinates.

mr-mitch wrote:
chridd wrote:
mr-mitch wrote:If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.
"Check" is the American spelling.


I need to check my US dictionary twice next time.


Just out of curiosity, do you pronounce it 'dik*shun*ree' like in "Look Around You"?

The primary language difference I agree with Brits about is "aluminium", as all other recent elements end in "ium". No one says "Helum", "Sodum", "Uranum", "Lithum", and so on.


I'm not british?

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:52 am UTC
by softbuddy
It could be worse. I went to the pharmacist to get Zyrtec and they wanted to see some ID. When I asked why they said it was to make sure that I wasn't cooking crystal meth with it. I pointed out that 30 seconds previously the same pharmacist had handed me a bottle marked "Amphetamines" (generic for Adderall) without needing more than a signature.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:53 am UTC
by Wes Janson
SonicIce wrote:So I'm taking it Randall is anti-gun?


I'd be curious to know, but there's nothing in the alt-text that clearly indicates it..he's just pointing out a (possibly true) observation about gun sales.

As someone who sells guns for a living, I can state with 100% certainty that most places in the US just require an up-to-date valid driver's license to buy a gun. Payment via check depends on the store, but in my experience the'yre usually going to want to see the exact same driver's license anyways, so it's pretty much a given that if you can buy it, you can pay for it. Can't buy it, don't need to worry about payment anyhow.

Re: 970: The Important Field

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:00 am UTC
by Plasma Mongoose
chridd wrote:
mr-mitch wrote:If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.
"Check" is the American spelling.


In Australia at least, a cheque is something you can cash or bounce, while check is something you do with a box in a form.

Re: 970: The Important Field

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:13 am UTC
by Dinoguy1000
Plasma Mongoose wrote:
chridd wrote:
mr-mitch wrote:If it was meant to be cheque, then the alt text is hilarious.
"Check" is the American spelling.


In Australia at least, a cheque is something you can cash or bounce, while check is something you do with a box in a form.


As above posts have pointed out (or at least hinted at), it's the same in Britain as well (and probably several other non-American, English-speaking locales).

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:18 am UTC
by muntoo
Some web forms prevent you from copy & pasting stuff, like I do. Usually, if I have even enabled JavaScript in the first place, I will Inspect Element, remove the annoying JavaScript code, and paste my text into the form. (And very rarely will I remove the "password" from the HTML, so I can see what password I have typed in. Very rarely, though.)

(I think I can see well enough to determine whether or not I entered my email correctly... especially as I am a self proclaimed Grammar Nazi.)

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:46 am UTC
by DavidRoss
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).


Yes. It is clearly green (to those who can distinguish green from red), with perhaps a yellow badge. My guess is that it is a tip-off that GHG (green hat guy) is military.

On a related topic, I believe there is a special place in hell for the person who came up with (and got us all to standardize our HTML to) "let's obscure the password yet have it be case sensitive". I spend much more time moving to another field to check the capslock state (the light is not always visible in a bright room) and back to the password field than I do cutting and pasting my e-mail address.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:52 am UTC
by jpk
DavidRoss wrote:
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).


Yes. It is clearly green (to those who can distinguish green from red), with perhaps a yellow badge. My guess is that it is a tip-off that GHG (green hat guy) is military.

On a related topic, I believe there is a special place in hell for the person who came up with (and got us all to standardize our HTML to) "let's obscure the password yet have it be case sensitive". I spend much more time moving to another field to check the capslock state (the light is not always visible in a bright room) and back to the password field than I do cutting and pasting my e-mail address.


If you can't touch-type, you're clearly not using these machines for anything useful, so why would it matter how much time you spend doing anything?

(and, by the way, passwords were case-sensitive and obscured for a hell of a long time before html was even plausible... this is just common sense, not some device to torment the weak...)

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:14 am UTC
by carega
I don't know if you're doing it on purpose, but I think we're kinda missing the actual message from the comic. The web page is an example for how we are missing the big picture when taking importance on trivial matters such as ID verification for payments (or email verification, as is the case). Why are we not cuestioning the purpose of sending missiles or buying guns and instead require verification for correctly typing an email or making sure a payment can be made?

On a side note: I just created an account and it required me to write my email twice.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:36 am UTC
by dotancohen
jpk wrote:(and, by the way, passwords were case-sensitive and obscured for a hell of a long time before html was even plausible... this is just common sense, not some device to torment the weak...)


Logging into a server via SSH, there aren't even any stars! No visual feedback whatsoever. It is a fun game to play dont-bottom-out-the-cherry-keyboard while entering a password into an SSH login prompt.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:50 am UTC
by Dr.Buck
And to continue the irony a little further - this very forum is no different! As someone who signed up a matter of days ago, I can tell you that even here, the place that mocks said practice in the form of cartoon, uses said practice itself. :lol:

Well, unless my memory really is that bad, anyway....

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:52 am UTC
by TheEngineer
"But I don't know the target's email address ... Oh, silly me! ... my email address and the target's coordinaaaaaaaaaagh!"

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:56 am UTC
by Wooloomooloo
jpk wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).


Yes. It is clearly green (to those who can distinguish green from red), with perhaps a yellow badge. My guess is that it is a tip-off that GHG (green hat guy) is military.

On a related topic, I believe there is a special place in hell for the person who came up with (and got us all to standardize our HTML to) "let's obscure the password yet have it be case sensitive". I spend much more time moving to another field to check the capslock state (the light is not always visible in a bright room) and back to the password field than I do cutting and pasting my e-mail address.


If you can't touch-type, you're clearly not using these machines for anything useful, so why would it matter how much time you spend doing anything?

(and, by the way, passwords were case-sensitive and obscured for a hell of a long time before html was even plausible... this is just common sense, not some device to torment the weak...)

Nobody talked about touch-typing. The guy said the caps-lock light is not really visible therefore caps-lock status is always uncertain.

Also, I'd like to note that real fun begins with having multiple languages installed (I need 3 daily), which are more than happy to mix up Z with Y and all possible symbols for you, including automatic switching said layout depending on currently focused window, field, outside temperature and possibly sun flares (so you never quite know what you type for sure). I use Firefox's top-right search window quite often to type my passwords then copy-paste them into a field for this very reason.

Also-also, I'd like to hope that special place in hell for these guys is right next to the one for those guys who implement HTML login forms in such a way as to clear your probably-perfectly-fine username too when you screw up the password. They're just pure evil...

Finally, regarding the topic: sites that care so much about my email should just validate it as everyone else does, by sending me an activation link. Or else stop bothering me with the second mail field. I always copy-paste it.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:57 am UTC
by sheon
Dr.Buck wrote:And to continue the irony a little further - this very forum is no different! As someone who signed up a matter of days ago, I can tell you that even here, the place that mocks said practice in the form of cartoon, uses said practice itself. :lol:

Well, unless my memory really is that bad, anyway....

You're right, I just had to enter my email adress twice :lol:

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:17 am UTC
by Mirkwood
Wooloomooloo wrote:Also, I'd like to note that real fun begins with having multiple languages installed (I need 3 daily), which are more than happy to mix up Z with Y and all possible symbols for you, including automatic switching said layout depending on currently focused window, field, outside temperature and possibly sun flares (so you never quite know what you type for sure).


My grammar sense is tingling. Is "sun flare" an acceptable alternative to "solar flare"? Is Wooloomooloo perhaps referring to something else altogether?

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:45 am UTC
by RAGBRAIvet
sotanaht wrote:
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).

Either you haven't been paying attention or you are talking about JUST hats, since the previous page is in full color, and I don't remember there being any red hats.

I suppose one could say that I haven't been paying attention. My computer has been down for about a month and I just got back online. Looking back over the past ten or fifteen strips I now see that there have been some colors (other than shades of grey and blue) creeping into the strip.
My bad.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:48 am UTC
by tjunction
CorruptUser wrote:Just out of curiosity, do you pronounce it 'dik*shun*ree' like in "Look Around You"?


Many of us Brits do, yes. I guess the Received Pronunciation (the "Queen's English") might ennunciate the "ary" bit more clearly but many of us common folk would pronounce "tion" something like "shun" (protection="pro-tec-shun", reception="re-cep-shun", etc) and "-ary" as "-ree" (secretary="sec-ret-ree", library="li-bree", military="mi-lit-ree" etc).

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:01 am UTC
by Venetian Road
I think the issue with "British pronunciations" is that brits tend to speak at a quicker pace, so less noticeable syllables get more or less glossed-over. In any dialect, the "a" in "dictionary" is the least emphasized syllable in the word.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:12 am UTC
by madjo
I'd laugh at this were it not for the fact that I get (genuine) email not intended for me (not spam), on a daily basis.

"Hello Mayris, here is that report you requested" (my name isn't Mayris)
"Hi Michael, I hope you are doing well, here are our holiday photos." (my name also isn't Michael)
(these are probably not the faults of Mayris and Michael, but still, a lot of people don't really look at the email address they are sending their stuff to)

And sometimes there are dolts, who sign me up for their stupid newsletters. No I don't want Bakery's monthly.
And no I'm not pregnant, so you can keep your baby stuff out of my inbox. (the person, to whom this pregnancy email was intended for, had caused more inbox rubbish (name and home address matched with hers often). So when she had used my email address to sign up for a pregnancy related website, I logged in, saw her phone number on there and texted her to please look more closely at the address when she fills it in. Never got a response, but her flooding of my inbox did seem to deminish a bit. Probably scared her to death with the text too.

Did the same to the guy who ordered a pizza online. I texted him "Bon appetit, oh and be more careful next time when entering an email address. {emailaddress} isn't yours, it's mine."

A lot of the times, I get the home addresses, the phone numbers, bank account numbers, once even a social security number, from these idiots that can't remember their own email address. If I had bad intent, I could impersonate quite a number of different people, just by using the data gathered from these emails that I didn't even request.

Right now I'm collecting those emails, and looking whether there's a book in it or not. But I won't use it for bad stuff, identity theft is a horrible crime, I wish it to no one, and I won't ever do anything of the sort. But I could.

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:26 am UTC
by AvatarIII
ManaUser wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The primary language difference I agree with Brits about is "aluminium", as all other recent elements end in "ium". No one says "Helum", "Sodum", "Uranum", "Lithum", and so on.

And platinium?


there is never an i before the u in Platinum, even in British English
sotanaht wrote:
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Am I detecting a shade of green in that hat? First time I can recall seeing a color other than black (or red).


Either you haven't been paying attention or you are talking about JUST hats, since the previous page is in full color, and I don't remember there being any red hats.


in fact the last few months of xkcd have been more colourful than ever. Even going as far as including colour photographic elements to the strips!

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:38 am UTC
by wvoelcker
tjunction wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Just out of curiosity, do you pronounce it 'dik*shun*ree' like in "Look Around You"?


Many of us Brits do, yes. I guess the Received Pronunciation (the "Queen's English") might ennunciate the "ary" bit more clearly but many of us common folk would pronounce "tion" something like "shun" (protection="pro-tec-shun", reception="re-cep-shun", etc) and "-ary" as "-ree" (secretary="sec-ret-ree", library="li-bree", military="mi-lit-ree" etc).


I'm actually having a hard time saying the American way to myself, now. Is it "Dik-shun-airy" ?

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:24 am UTC
by Dave
sheon wrote:
Dr.Buck wrote:And to continue the irony a little further - this very forum is no different! As someone who signed up a matter of days ago, I can tell you that even here, the place that mocks said practice in the form of cartoon, uses said practice itself. :lol:

Well, unless my memory really is that bad, anyway....

You're right, I just had to enter my email adress twice :lol:


You're missing the point. It isn't the practice of needing to enter your email address twice that is being mocked. It is simply that of all the information the dude is having to type in, it is the email address that is deemed important enough to double check rather than the missile target. In his scenario, that doesn't make sense - they should, if anything, be checking both things twice.

Simply needing to enter an email address twice isn't the bit he is poking fun at. It is a perfectly legitimate thing to do to ensure your activation email and password reset emails go to the right place, to ensure your account is secure - for a forum, at least. It also asks you to enter your password twice (IIRC).

Were the forum asking you to supply an incredibly important piece of information, and only checking that once but your email twice, then you'd have a point (and you could argue that maybe username is important enough to check twice).

Re: 0970: "The Important Field"

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:00 am UTC
by tmesis
AvatarIII wrote:there is never an i before the u in Platinum, even in British English


Aluminium was "aluminum" originally: the Americans didn't remove the 'i', the Brits added it.