I just needed to create a Yahoo! account for someone who wanted to be able to access some of my photos. This required creating security questions and answers, and as usual the questions available to pick from were really awful. It just got stupider, though, when I tried to pick answers that I would be able to remember. (Many security questions are horrible because their answers change over time.)

This was disallowed, because the nickname must be at least four characters. What?? Q: What is your youngest child's nickname? A: Rik Disallowed: the answer cannot contain part of the question. Q: What is the name of your favorite uncle? A: Uncle

Disallowed: you can’t have the same answer for both questions. Q: Where did you get engaged? A: Earth Q: Where did you spend your summers as a child? A: Earth How do these policies help anyone?

On top of this, the last time I needed to recover an old Yahoo! account that predated security questions, the help staff closed my ticket basically saying, “You need to answer the security questions.”

Thanks, Yahoo! You’re just as helpful as you’d be if Microsoft had bought you!