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“Offline for maintenance” should not lose the link I tried to open

Really, this drives me insane. Every time there's an error of some sort, I get redirected from stackoverflow.com/foo to stackoverflow.com/error?aspxerrorpath=/foo . The page is served with a 500 status code, but there's two issues here:

  1. The page that actually has the error returns a 301/302, which is wrong - the resource hasn't moved.
  2. It ensures that no matter how many times I refresh the page, I always get the error page, because I've been redirected. To try again, I have to edit the URL - potentially, over and over.

I really thought terrible practices like this were restricted to sites far more poorly written than SO.

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meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/57412/… says you can just reload your page without removing the error path. –  systempuntoout Oct 9 '10 at 11:29
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@systempuntoout After the latest temporary outage, I can verify that this is not true. –  Rebecca Chernoff Oct 12 '10 at 23:00
    
I can also confirm this is still happening. I just got redirected to /error (presumably related to the server move), and only after a while of periodically refreshing did I notice that it redirected me rather than showing an error message in the standard way, and I had to manually edit the URL to get back to where I was. Jeff's answer of #57412's "fix" (adding a link to the error page) is very incorrect. The correct fix is as you said: temporary error messages like these should not cause a permanent redirect. This is HTTP 101. –  Glenn Maynard Oct 25 '10 at 6:30
    
@glenn it's part of the ASP.NET pipeline -- file it against Microsoft, not us. –  Jeff Atwood Oct 25 '10 at 8:23
    
The same goes for "currently offline". That also shouldn't redirect but stay at the correct URL and just return an error page. I was just now sitting there and kept reloading app_offline.htm, waiting for SO to come back... –  sth Oct 29 '10 at 23:37
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marked as duplicate by Nick Craver Mar 31 '11 at 15:27

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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Pretty sure this is already covered by this page (offline).

"Offline for maintenance" should not lose the link I tried to open

Perhaps we could modify the actual error page to do the same?

Realize too that what you're complaining about is a core part of the ASP.NET pipeline, not something we wrote.

Also, how often are you getting errors (outside of catastrophic acts of God like the datacenter shutting off all power) that this is a real, practical problem?

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It wouldn't hurt to amend the page as you describe. It's still a broken way to do things, from a semantic POV - the actual page having the error should be the one returning the 500. I don't see errors that frequently, but every time I do, it reduces my sanity meter just a little bit that it's as redirect. Perhaps I'm weird. –  Nick Johnson Oct 9 '10 at 17:24
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