back to article Computing's big question for 2023: How many more questions can we endure?

Would you like to use Edge as your default browser? How many of our cookies are you willing to tolerate? Do you want to buy more cloud storage for your phone? Can we move you to our subscription service? Hi, Elon here. Should I poison public discourse based on the result of a completely unscientific and easy-to-game poll? …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    And with this brillliant article, I wish you all a Happy New Year.

    May the best of 2022 be the worst of 2023.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Amen

      Luckily, most questions are answered with a fair and stern NO!

      All these questions are left behind. The very new and fantastic 2023 will not have any difficult questions(*).

      Have a nice celebration lasting just about 24 hours as our little planet rotates around its axis at the centre of life, the universe and everything.

      (*) we will have a new AI, called QueThé-42, to answer all future questions.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Amen

      Could you please restate the last sentence algebraically as I'm too drunk to understand it written in English.

    3. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Re: Amen

      Windows 10 asked me 3 times in sequence if I wanted to 'update' to Windows 11, I became really paranoid that on the last question, the options would just be yes, or later

      When I search google, I am often looking for something specific and nuanced. So when I see results with keywords I am not interested in, I use the minus symbol and the word I do not want to see in the results, this used to work brilliantly, but no longer. RIP quality search results

      Consumerism has totally killed the internet and any worth it once had.

      Too many webpages full of 'targeted keyword waffle', 2 seconds into landing on a page you're asked to subscribe, or give feedback or some other shit like.....Ugggh cookies, thank fuck for NoScript (give that man a beer!) and Ad blockers

      I think this article will resonate with a lot of you, especially if you have grown up with the internet and seen it go from a curious frontier, to a consumerism dominated arena, where money is at the heart of most of the endeavours.

      How I fell out of love with the Internet

      1. navarac Silver badge

        Re: Amen

        I remember back in the day of BBS and Prestel, and the start of the www, it was often said "We must keep Business Users off of this". How right it was. Now-a-days, read Marketing Business/Advertisers for Business Users.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A depressing list

    That was a very accurate and depressing article on the state of play. I would be happy if just one of those questions was resolved to my satisfaction:

    Why doesn't the software industry respect you?

    It seems to me that most of the rest follow from that one thing - lack of respect for users.

    1. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Re: A depressing list

      I have to assume the answer is very simple: It doesn't make them any more money.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A depressing list

      "That was a very accurate and depressing article on the state of play."

      I do like Edgy humour :-)

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: A depressing list

        Nuse! Nurse!

        he used the word "Edge"

  3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

      I have another question, why to people alway post youtube links rather than youtube-nocookie links, I guess, like industry, they don't give a shit about even minimal data privacy a no-cookie link might provide.

      Everybody's to blame, those who publish it, promulgate it, or just put up with it.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

        How do you post youtube-nocookie links? This is the first time I read that it is actually possible!

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

          How do you post youtube-nonookie links?


            Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

            You can take that link and stick it up your yeeah.

      2. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

        > I have another question, why to people alway post youtube links rather than youtube-nocookie links

        I'm as geeky as they come and just had to duck duck go the above... I guess that answers your question a bit!

      3. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

        > why to people alway post youtube links

        ... at all?

        When I'm searching for hard information I want it written down and searchable. I don't wan't to have to sit through a 10-minute video only to discover that it had nothing to say about the search terms I posted.


        1. a pressbutton

          Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

          What capt v said.

          I have been repeatedly asked when handing over some small bit of functionality for some docco

          Young people ask for a video.

          Two years later they ask for a document.

          You cannot search a video and good luck in capturing fields on a form.

          Old people ask for a document

          Two years later they ask for a document.

          Which is fine.

        2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

          That's why my links are either to very good videos, or jump directly to the point that matters.


          Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness


          Thumbnail has 13 red arrows.

      4. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Yep, American LOOOOOVE Officiousness

        youtube-nocookie links

        Probably because I just heard of them?

        There's also those YouTube and Twatter links with the mile-long string of tracking crap in the URL itself. I always have to trim back to the ampersand before trying it.

        Edit: and I've viewed the link. The first one has fortunately become a lost reference because they no longer allow those leaflet people in or around the airport, at least on this side of the pond.

      5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Link/Embed

        The article I found to understand what you are talking about draws a distinction between a link and an embed. With an embed, when the page it is on is displayed the browser gets a tracking cookie from Google without the user being offered the option to prevent it. This is a GPDR violation. The article goes on to explain how you can modify your website so videos can be embedded without breaking the law.

        A link to a youtube video does not have this issue. GPDR is not violated unless the user clicks on the link. The(U+1F414)Register avoids the issue by not allowing us commentards to embed.

        For me the issue is entirely moot as I have disabled javascript. Embeds get reduced to a link. I have not visited youtube since Google made the site completely non-functional without javascript. If I am curious about a video I can always ask youtube-dl for the title and then make a decision.

        If there is someone here who does not disable javascript I would be interested if you have a preference between the following types of link: killbot or killbot.

        1. Helcat

          Re: Link/Embed

          Is 'GPDR' anything like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR?) of Europe or the UK?

          I know - you're still recovering from Jan 1st. Or a touch dyslexic, but it's only the one word, so guessing it's Jan 1st that's to blame. So here: have another :)

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Why isn't everybody so tired of all these questions that things change for the better?

    Because the people asking the questions believe that if they ask them enough times, the answer might be 'yes'?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why isn't everybody so tired of all these questions that things change for the better?

      s/the answer might be yes/you might click the wrong button by mistake/

      Once upon a time, whilst focused on avoiding being tricked into an amazon prime signup, I was instead tricked into amazon music (or some similar thing).

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Why isn't everybody so tired of all these questions that things change for the better?

        Yes that happened to me a couple of years ago. Bought the wife a Kindle but the first time you use it you have to wade through lots of questions and I accidentally subscribed to Audible. Had to contact Amazon (with some faffing around) to get them to cancel it. If you just click through all the crap you find you've bought stuff you never wanted or needed.

    2. Czrly

      Re: Why isn't everybody so tired of all these questions that things change for the better?

      The *vast*, *overwhelming* majority just click the button that is visually styled, sized and positioned to entice them to click it and most of those who don't just click the button that makes it not appear the next time: same button!

      Those of us who even question the fairness of these things are simply outnumbered.

      Why do streaming sites not provide a useable interface for finding shows? Because that would present a choice between their current interface and an alternative and their current interface is entirely designed to squeeze addiction and subscription-renewals and binge-watching from everyone else.

      It's not because they hate anyone with an organized mind who cares to see content in categories or sensibly-sorted lists or in any logical way, whatsoever – they simply don't give a damn about us and, frankly, they're probably happy when people like me *cancel* their subscription: we're outnumbered and too difficult to bother with.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I think

    you missed

    "You've read 3 articles on our website. would you give us your credit card to read more?"

    Beer because its new year

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: I think

      I usually get "you've read 1 article, 2 left" no matter how many times I go to the web site. I presume that's NoScript and/or uBlock Origin, bot of which I have installed.

      1. T. F. M. Reader

        Re: I think

        Autodeleting cookies or allowing session cookies only, methinks.

        While we are at it, an excellent article to Register the new year.

  6. Plest Silver badge

    One thing or the other with you lot!

    We moaned when they forced their choices on us and we moan when they ask us constantly what we want.

    What we need is people in tech like your Mum, they know just the right questions to ask that will utterly embarass you enough that you never want to say anything ever again! Just like the mum who got out of the car next to ours while my family and I were parked at well known seaside, her 10 year old son came back from the public bogs and she said in a very, very loud and haughty tone, "Ah Samuel, did you do a poo in the public toilet? Did you wipe properly?". Nevermind the poor kid, the entire car park died of sheer embarassment!

    With that, Happy New Year to one and all!

    1. ocelot

      Re: One thing or the other with you lot!

      Prompted by that - I think that the best CEO for Elon Musk's Twitter who wouldnt stand for stupid nonsense should be somebody's mother who has a no-nonsense approach to parenting.

  7. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    One more Edge!

    Have this right RIGHT NOW, not yet clicked away:

    "Microsoft Edge Smartphone-all download"

    "Continue browsing with Microsoft Edge on your mobile device. Load the mobile App now. Option 1: <qr code>. Option 2: <my Microsoft Hotmail account - yes my MS account is THAT old>."

    Ticking "not now" right about now. Why is there no "stop annoying me!".

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: One more Edge!

      sed s/all/app/

  8. captain veg Silver badge


    "Are any cookies really absolutely necessary anyway?"


    That's why I have my browser chuck them all in the bit bucket when I close a session. This causes me no problems whatsoever.


    1. js6898

      Re: unnecessary

      To be fair to Edge, it does have that functionality

      1. trindflo Bronze badge

        Re: unnecessary

        The functionality it doesn't have is to refrain from loading every new tab with a boatload of dross.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: unnecessary

      Session cookies (or their logical equivalent) are necessary to handle "shopping basket" and forum posting workflows.

      Login cookies that last longer than a session can be useful, as they mean I don't need to log into El Reg every time I visit. I'm fine with a tickybox "remember I'm logged in for N months"

      All others are trash, and the answer is always no.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: unnecessary

        Well, the question was whether they are *necessary*.

        As you allude, alternatives exist to session cookies.

        Possibly foolishly, I'm perfectly content to let the browser remember my logins.

        So not necessary.


        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: unnecessary

          How does the server know it's you after you've logged in?

          Session cookies are necessary for any HTTPS login system to actually work at all.

          You could use something else (eg javascript local storage), but it would have all of the same problems. And probably additional issues, too.

  9. Wally Dug
    Thumb Up

    Excellent Article!

    Seriously, loved the questions! It's articles like these that give El Reg the edge.

    And talking of Edge, come on, I'm sure you'd really love to give it a try...

    Just a teeny, tiny try?

    No, stand back. Don't go too near that cliff. We don't want you going over [to] the edge now...

  10. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Then they give you the options "Install Update" or "Ask me later"

    Or it's horrid cousin "Not Now". How about "Don't nag me again ever"? Then provide a page with a list of updates and what they contain, so I can go there if I want to at a time of my choosing and choose any that look interesting / necessary.

    Of course it'll never happen, as every single development team thinks their new version of an app is the most vital thing in their user's lives and therefore it must be urgently forced upon them, and they know that most people will never bother to go and look for updates - but that shouldn't excuse them from at least making it an option.

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: Then they give you the options "Install Update" or "Ask me later"

      Personally I’m looking forward to the day the c€&@ who authorised that dies screaming in a burning wreck of a car crash with hundreds of on lookers, videoing it for tiktok/YouTube/whatever

  11. AndrueC Silver badge

    So f'in true. Almost every time I go to a website I first have to click through a GDPR inspired warning then like as not some dozy 'click to subscribe' drivel.


    Web designers need to either get a clue or grow some balls and refuse to implement these pop-ups.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      Thumb Up

      Get into the routine...

      There are only a few Cookie Preference, umm, what - services, plugins, whatever on the sites I visit with a mobe. I get really slick at Options>Reject All>Legitimate Interest>Object All>Save. Usually followed by NO! I do not want to sign in with Google!

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      99% of them are illegal

      There have already been a few fines, thankfully.

      Any that don't have "Deny All" equally prominent to "Follow me like a creepy version of Prince Andrew" are illegal.

      1. Winkypop Silver badge

        Re: 99% of them are illegal

        "Follow me like a creepy version of Prince Andrew"

        Surely that’s a tautology.

        1. WolfFan

          Re: 99% of them are illegal

          Surely he’s a prince. And charming.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > why isn't there a way to tell every website in the world I only want absolutely necessary cookies?

    Ghostery is your friend.

  13. Andy Non Silver badge

    With every Amazon order:

    10 Would you like to subscribe to Amazon Prime?

    20 Would you like your next gift voucher to be used for Amazon Prime?

    30 Get your order tomorrow with Amazon Prime.

    40 We'd hate for you to miss out on Amazon Prime

    50 Try Amazon Prime free for X days.

    GOTO 10

    (In tiny letters lost on the page) Place your order without the benefits of Amazon Prime.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: With every Amazon order:

      And what about the things for sale with free! delivery! but when you get to the payment it's miraculously turned into £5.95 and the free delivery is only for Prime members?

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: With every Amazon order:

      Gotta admit that until now I've scoffed at those whining about Amazon Prime invites. But FFS! Amazon's latest attempt means that after I've selected my delivery options I have to go back and select 'fuck off with Prime already'.

      I don't know what mentally challenged ass-hat at Amazon came up with this but it's not going to make me subscribe to Prime. It's just going to push me away from Amazon.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: With every Amazon order:

        It's already had that effect on me with the latest sneaky attempt to con you into subscribing with the "Use gift card voucher for Prime". I've abandoned my basket on a couple of occasions and bought the items on the high street instead or simply not bothered buying certain items anyway. Annoying the hell out of customers isn't a good way to keep getting repeat business and Amazon are really going out of their way to piss me off at the moment. There needs to be a checkbox: "NO, I DON'T WANT FECKING PRIME, NEVER ASK ME AGAIN. EVER!"

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: With every Amazon order:

          Yup. It just doesn't offer anything I want. I'm not interested in the video side of it and I don't care how long my parcels to arrive nor in what order. What I find is that free delivery typically gets them to me in a day or two anyway so why pay for next day? And if I order on a Thursday it's often next day anyway presumably because they are trying to get items out before the weekend hiatus.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          bought the items on the high street instead


          SO MUCH THIS.

          Support your local small business!

          I'll even forgive you shopping at a physical store for a big corporation if you're on a tight budget, because you're still paying a sliver of the salary of that store's staff, who also live more or less nearby (for regionally stretchy values of "nearby").

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: With every Amazon order:

        While we're complaining about Amazon, I'll join by complaining about how they've mixed in refurbished items with search results. No, I do not intend to buy refurbished hard drives. Other things, maybe, but not hard drives. Disabling this takes several clicks and will be switched back with the next search, and you will be doing multiple searches because Amazon's search system is terrible, relying on the searcher to filter out obvious crap. If I keep finding new things to complain about, it will get even more boring, so I'll stop with that one.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: With every Amazon order:

          Yes, plus their search is frankly crap. It doesn't seem to have any kind of intelligence. I'd also rather not have foreign language reviews (for whatever value customer reviews are anyway). Nothing snobbish or racist about it merely that I can't read them without a fair bit of effort (French) or translation (German) so there's just no point.

          By all means include their feedback in the star ratings but the text is a waste of screen space and bandwidth.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: With every Amazon order:

      "50 Try Amazon Prime free for X days."

      My wife does that every 3-4 months or so. She (and sometimes me) binge-watch anything new and interesting that might have shown up since the last one and she has a carefully curated calendar/reminder set up to cancel before any payments are taken. She also saves up her shopping basket to get the free/next day delivery options while the free Prime trial runs. She's very good and now well practised at cancelling it. It's a just learned skill like with any other problem. She says it's a bit like playing an adventure game :-)

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: With every Amazon order:

        On previous escapades with bloody Prime, I discovered that if you do inadvertently fail the challenge of doom, you can cancel it - not immediately, I think their computers don't talk to the same database so there is actually no option to cancel, so you both had and did not have Prime membership - but in a couple of hours or so.

        Which means you didn't have to remember to cancel in a month... and at the same time, you still had a month's free membership.

        Possibly they've closed this loophole since they last caught me,

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: With every Amazon order:


      I don't know why. I haven't been a student for 45 years.

      1. WolfFan

        Re: With every Amazon order:

        I have multiple .edu accounts, all of which still work despite my not having worked there for up to 15 years, because I have been known to do some ‘adjunct’ instruction. I keep a certain very old one around because it has a link to Microsoft’s Dreamscape/Imagine/whatever they call it now and that means that I can get _free_, non-subscription, access to almost everything Microsoft. This includes every single MS OS since DOS 6, inclusive, and all their server OSs, too. And Project. And Visio. And a lot more. Free. Some of the stuff expires after four years, but it’s trivial to get the latest version and install it again. And, as it’s linked to an ancient account, I know damn well when MS tries to dump ads or whatever. I normally don’t even check the mail at that account except when I use it for something, and then I just kill all the spam, which is 95% of the posts. I’m waiting for MS to figure out just how much free stuff I’ve liberated from them over the years…

    5. Wily Veteran

      Re: With every Amazon order:

      I ordered some toner for my laser printer a couple of days ago. First there was the question of whether I wanted to subscribe. No thanks, then on my checkout page: "We're giving you a FREE trial of Amazon Prime" and it took a while to find the only way to say no was to find the quantity dropdown menu (which was really tiny) on the Prime item and change the quantity ordered to zero. Talk about a dark pattern!

  14. TRT Silver badge

    The question is like to ask is what date time related bug is going to cripple Microsoft's software this year? All eyes are on midnight as the clock rolls over from 31/12 to 1/1...

    It'll probably undo some critical patch.

  15. jgard

    You Must Register to Continue....

    The worst examples are the subscription / membership notices that pop up on magazines and newspapers. I don't mind the legitimate ones - if you need subs to keep going that's fair enough, and at least you're being honest. It's the barefaced lies that piss me off! There are loads of places that do this, but The Guardian is one example that comes to mind. It asserts that "You must subscribe/register to continue reading", but scroll down a bit and you can choose "Maybe later". The truth is you never have to subscribe or register to read normal Guardian content, it merely helps them monetize readers. Again, fine if your visitors know and agree to it, just don't make shit up to trick people.

    1. WolfFan

      Re: You Must Register to Continue....

      When I see that kind of thing, I go to another site.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: You Must Register to Continue....

      I've been reading the Guardian daily for years - it's the only decent UK paper whose online version is free - across three platforms, and I've never yet seen the message you describe.

    3. Czrly

      Re: You Must Register to Continue....

      Or GitHub search!

      I have a GitHub account but my browser is typically not logged in – see, well, this very article for reasons why one might have set it to delete cookies upon exit – and, my GOD does it is enrage me when I'm punted to the Sign-In screen for searching what is actually Open Source code.

      The very essence of GitHub's existence and market dominance stems from the community that wrote that content I am trying to search. For the love of U+FEOE, ...

  16. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Missed another


    So of course these get a 1-star no matter how much I like the app or whatever.

    I got a "REVIEW THIS" after using the Google Android standard built-in phone app for God's sake! I left a "Please don't ask for reviews" and got a cheeky "Feature suggestions should be made through xxxx channel" response! I changed it to my now-standard 1-star "Leaving review as requested"

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Missed another

      The give us a review idiotic things that just turn you over to Trustpilot or whatever, which then requires you to give your life story to sign up to a new account.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missed another

      I picked up an RCA-to-HDMI adapter off NewEgg recently. It came with a QR code to scan to get the "free" 3-year warranty extension. The site it links to says to leave them an Amazon review and send them a screenshot, and then they'll activate the warranty.

      I think I may leave 1-star reviews on NewEgg **AND** Amazon...

  17. Binraider Silver badge

    Why, for all of the above reasons do most people still insist on using environments that insist on such tactics?

    A. Because most folks don't know any better.

    Tech evangelism only goes so far. You can lead a horse to water, etc.

    You would think with the cost of living mess, ads, and subscription-bloody-everything would be the first thing to rebel against and by far the easiest to cut.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irrelevant Questions.......How About..........


    Do you like Google slurping your medical records?

    - See:

    Do you approve of Peter Thiel and all his works?

    - See:

    Do you know that "anonymising" of slurped data is another "big lie"?

    - See:

    .....and much much more where that came from................................................................

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Careful guys, it’s a jungle out there…


  20. ICL1900-G3


    Can I add my question.

    Why no Dabbsy?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Interesting Questions...But Not To Be Found In The Original El Reg Piece......

    Why does NIST only mention 2048 bit prime numbers?

    - See:

    - See:

    How big a prime number does one need to know before the spooks break down the front door?

    - Sorry, no references available........but instances with tens of thousands of bits are currently in the cipher database!!!

    Did you know that cipher schemes exist where there are no persistent keys saved anywhere? (!!.)

    - See:

    Did you know that IMPORTANT PEOPLE do not want you to know that personal privacy is actually possible in the internet age?

    - See:

    ......and so on.......................................

  22. david 12 Silver badge

    I can see author is not an Edge user.

    If the author was an Edge user, article instead would have been "would you like to use Chrome" and "would you like to use Google"

    The questions I get asked in different forms, every f-g time.

  23. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

    Why isn't there a way to prevent Microsoft ever bothering me about Edge again?

    There is. Don't run Windows.

    (I realize that's not an option for everyone.)

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. DBJDBJ

    Dont push me , I am on the Edge.

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