‘Are you sure?’ prompt boxes


Some things in life require an extra layer of confirmation; a nuclear launch for example. I’d be quite happy if, after having entered the launch codes and turned the keys simultaneously, a big monitor in the centre of the bunker flashed up with the message “Are you sure?”

It’s a valid question in such circumstances. And maybe, having been faced with such a succinct and direct challenge to this particular course of action, the President would pause for a moment of quiet contemplation, look up and see the tears in the frightened eyes of all around him, and conclude that there had to be a better way; that despite having lost the entire Eastern seaboard, condemning the entire world to annihilation just wasn’t going to make things any better.

But if I just want to log off the printer, such a failsafe really is an infuriating waste of my time.

Say that I had accidently logged off when I didn’t want to. Do you know how quickly I can log back in again? Really fucking quickly; I’ve got a swipe card and everything. Honestly, it takes the same amount of time to log back in than it does to confirm my unwillingness to log out. It’s a needless extra step in the process that I have to complete again and again and again, and it really pisses me off. At least the printer only does it once per interaction. My computer does it ALL THE BLOODY TIME!

If I’m about to lose a shitload of work because I haven’t saved, then fine – warn me about it. If I’m about to delete something permanently, then super – thanks for the heads-up. But don’t go out of your way to interrupt the utterly inconsequential thing I want to do by ominously flashing up a message that tells me I’m about to do the thing I wanted to do, and am I sure that I want to do thing thing that I’ve indicated I want to do? Yes, I want to do it! That’s why I clicked that button. To do it! Stop second guessing me!

Why can’t they program in something that learns how many times you answer “Yes” in a row and then stop flashing the damn thing up once the computer learns that ‘hey, this clever fucker knows what he’s doing’? If some computer-illiterate numpty is benefiting from being told that the button they pressed is going to have unforeseen consequences, then by all means spoon-feed them a steady diet of warnings and prompts. Hell, give them an extra layer of clarification in Word as well…


But leave the rest of us alone. You’re making me feel like I can’t be trusted to do anything right. I’m trying to close a web page, for Christ’s sake, not order a nuclear strike.


  1. Reblogged this on Sam Fearnley on Science and commented:
    Hehehee this was my life on the school’s computers…

  2. Yep, it’s annoying. But I have to admit that it’s saved me a few times, so I put up with it. *sighs*

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  3. HA! So true, funny, and vivid. Love this.

  4. SmilingCat01

    Every time I want to delete photos on my computer to reduce the memory space, the prompt box will always bug me and will make me NOT delete the pictures because I’ll not only delete the pictures, but also the memories. Love this entry 🙂

  5. I know, right? Yes, program, I’m sure I want to turn log off, that’s why I went to the drop down menu and specifically clicked “log off”. But you know what? I’ll just take another 5 minutes deliberating on it.

  6. Pingback: ‘Are you sure?’ prompt boxes | Why Should I Bother?

  7. The prompt is condescending, isn’t it, as if you were a senile uncle trying to drink lysol.

  8. As much as I hate to admit it, but this prompts are very annoying. But then again, it is quite helpful sometimes. It has its own merits and i am still grateful for it.

  9. I knew this would be funny because I get it, and its hilarious. The only thing more annoying is seeing how a non-computer-literate ‘person can completely eff up a computer in ways that will have you outside of the window of an “are you sure?” dialog box blasting love songs on Media Player… Not pretty

  10. I don’t know if you ever had the unfortunate experience of using Windows Vista for any period of time, and if you did I’m sure you like anyone who is smart enough got a new operating system asap especially decided to move forward to the world of Unix. This was the single most annoying feature imo about Vista and it has I think become the joke…those “Are you sure?” pop-ups that relentlessly popped everytime you clicked a button.

  11. feelingblind

    Many times there are also check-boxes on these prompts asking you if you want to be shown this prompt in the future. So if you are the type of person who doesn’t need that extra level of confirmation, usually you can disable them from appearing again.

  12. hatshot

    “Are you sure?” popups are very good, such as if you might accidentally lose info when logging out, especially if you are working on an unsaved file and accidentally hit the close button when you meant to hit it on another window, they are very useful. And please, stop swearing.

  13. Pingback: The Art of Snark: Creative Disagreement | The Daily Post

  14. ianbrettcooper

    Yes, it’s annoying. It has saved me a few times OUT OF BLOODY MILLIONS OF TIMES, and the times it saved me, well, in the grand scheme of things, none of them have mattered. Why do programmers put “Are you sure” confirmation boxes in when the proper way to do things is to TEACH US THE HARD WAY THAT DECISIONS MATTER! I’ve already learned this, because I’m no longer a fricken pre-teen! So I never need that fricken confirmation button.

  15. Ed Neicd

    it’s the same on android apps. drives me nuts when I shut off my wifi or data service to save data. I think I understand that after I’ve used my phone for a few months, what those buttons do. do all programmers think android users have memory loss? I came here to see if there was a way to put such messages in “their” everyday lives. lol.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: