I was not signed into the site when I got this error.

When I open any question on the Stack Overflow site, if I open the browser console, I keep getting an error message being continuously printed.

On Chrome, this is what it says

Uncaught Error: Error calling method on NPObject.
File - B7924596.5;sz=728x90;ord=1385842058148:57

I was getting the same error even in incognito mode.

On Firefox, it says that there's an error on file/line number - 20471.js (line 14)

Here's the question where I first saw the error

How can you encode a string to Base64 in JavaScript?

Not sure if others are facing the same issue.

  • 6
    Looks like an issue cause by Flash (NPObject = browser plugin, most likely Flash) advert ("sz=728x90" = from ad.doubleclick.net)
    – Rob W
    Nov 30 '13 at 20:46
  • @RobW I'm fairly certain that Stack Exchange does not allow animated or Flash advertisements. So if it's a Flash object then it certainly didn't come from here.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 30 '13 at 21:35
  • 3
    @animuson not directly, but it's using third party advertising sites. I just confirmed with low rep account and there is request to this JS file: ad-apac.doubleclick.net/adj/N5295.171779.STACKOVERFLOW.COM/…? and it's spawning more JS files. The origin is most likely the top advertisement (above the question body) which is removed when reaching 200 rep. (hence OP here didn't see it when logged in, having more than 200) Dec 1 '13 at 12:24
  • 3
    Reproduced in Chrome when I opened that link in an incognito window. It's related to a hidden Flash element being used in a Google Cloud Platform ad.
    – Jeremy
    Dec 1 '13 at 12:24
  • @animuson turns out it's not true anymore. Proof of pure Flash ad. Dec 2 '13 at 21:34

I can confirm I'm able to reproduce the error as well. Looking into the issue further now.

I'll post any relevant updates here.

It appears that the error was a result of secure content being served on the regular, http version of SO. The client provided non-SSL tags, which when tested, no longer created the NPObject error.

In anticipation of SO going fully secure, we've been requesting secure third-party tags from clients for a while now. Unfortunately in this instance, it backfired on us.

Update 2: Electric Boogaloo:
In case those concerned haven't noticed, the updated ads have been live for over a week now.

  • But this still only applies to Flash? (Just curious why, despite many refreshes, I did not get the error in my Chrome's Incognito mode. But my Flash setup has been modified to run very restricted, so that might explain things.)
    – Arjan
    Dec 2 '13 at 20:47
  • @Arjan did you get to Google's Flash advertisement? Took me ~10 reloads to reach it. i.stack.imgur.com/8YXjc.png (and the error kept repeating itself in endless loop) Dec 2 '13 at 21:32
  • stevvve so where does it stand now? Dec 2 '13 at 21:35
  • @ShaWizDowArd waiting on updated creative from client; expect it to be here shortly, update reflected on SO shortly thereafter.
    – stevvve
    Dec 2 '13 at 21:36
  • @stevvve we don't have ads here on Meta as far as I can tell, but looking forward to see it on SO. Dec 2 '13 at 21:54
  • Hmmm, @ShaWizDowArd, after refreshing like 100 times on a few different questions, I only got Careers (lots of them), Rackspace, Microsoft and Infragistics. But mostly Careers. Must be a hint... ;-)
    – Arjan
    Dec 2 '13 at 21:59
  • @Arjan are you viewing question with a google tag? (I tested on this question :)) Dec 2 '13 at 22:01
  • @Arjan also, you have more than 200 rep so you must use Incognito/Private mode, we're talking about external ad here, displayed above the question not in the right sidebar. Dec 2 '13 at 22:04
  • @Arjan I encourage you not to do that, as it interferes with our methods of monitoring campaign performance. Also, the campaign in question has a frequency cap enabled, so if you've already seen it a certain number of times today you won't see it again. If you try incognito it should work, though.
    – stevvve
    Dec 2 '13 at 22:56
  • 1
    I am just glad you guys were able to figure out the root cause. For a long time I thought it was just me facing the issue. This was my first bug report here. I feel awesome being able to help out at least that much!
    – Ryan
    Dec 3 '13 at 2:46
  • Sure I was using incognito, @ShaWizDowArd. One of the tags I tested was Android, but maybe that was not Google enough. Just for your information, stevvve: I don't care but that was really a lot of Careers. For a long time I even thought it was only Careers.
    – Arjan
    Dec 3 '13 at 5:47
  • @Ryan thanks for reporting, glad you had good first impression here. Many users get a cold shower on their first Meta participation so you're quite lucky. :-) Dec 3 '13 at 7:58

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