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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


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Well *exactly*. Next time Flickr "gets the hiccups" I just hope it hiccups up some of the $25 I paid it this year! At least Facebook is free, but then again who'd pay for something as flaky as that?

This has bugged me to death in the past:


I was thinking that you were referring to Twitter, which as far as I know is a synonym for up some of the time, down regularly. Though since I use Twitterific I can't tell if the server is returning anything funny, or instead it is returning nothing whatsoever. But I agree that services should be up so much that we can actually find humor in an error page we seldom see.

I was also thinking of twitter on monday, I was getting really frustrated with the twitter bird telling me "ooops".

So which is the more annoying Twitter error: the current upside-down bird, or the old lolcat?

Personally, I think they ought to use the whole-game Zork error page. Since Twitter errors so damn often, we may as well have the chance to have a little fun.


You're spot on as usual. I mentioned this first back in August of 2006 and later when LinkedIn played with the nonsense last March.

Web 2.0 Companies Play With Error Messages

LinkedIn Provides Another Silly Web 2.0 "Error" Page

Downtime is not funny.

I’m less fussed about the humour, and more about the missed opportunity. Mistakes are your chance to make a great impression via how you deal with them. I think all 404 pages should act like Google when you search for a typo: chances are someone’s just typed the URL in wrong, so guess what I was probably looking for.

For server error pages, information about what’s wrong and when it’s likely to be fixed would, I think, be the most appreciated. Tricky to do, especially when you’re in the Twitter situation of being bomarded by twice the number of users you had last Tuesday, but people will love you if do well when things go bad.

Well "Bloglines.com" has a funny plumber holding a wrench but they are rarely "down" so to speak - I think I've seen him twice, maybe three times over the years. And these guys are definately working towards Web 2.0 with their new beta.

The BeOS browser, NetPositive [1], used haikus as error messages. So, there is precedent of apps/OSs behaving in this way.
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetPositive

Are you sure you're not just angry with the service for going down? Funny photo or not, it's still going to be down.

I don't want to be the wet blanket here, but I kind of liked the Bloglines plumber. I could relate.

But then again, I don't use Bloglines anymore. ;)

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