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For some reason, I can no longer access the Winterbash 2015 page--when I try, I get redirected to the Stack Exchange promotions page instead, just like Winterbash is over. Except, we should still have almost another two weeks.

Also, I can no longer see hat-related features on SE sites. What happened to the hats?!


UPDATE: The hats seem to be back now. But the question still remains, why did they disappear, and is it going to happen again?

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    Confirmed. Winter bash has disappeared for me, all of the hats are gone, the FAQ site is 404. – Catija Dec 22 '15 at 21:43
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    SE should give us an extra hat week for this. – yannis Dec 22 '15 at 21:44
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    Or at least an extra hat. – Catija Dec 22 '15 at 21:45
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    New entertainment until they restore them is to watch the question scoring +1 every ~10 seconds – kos Dec 22 '15 at 21:47
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    We're having a few technical issues, basically you took too many hats and there is a backlog... Give us a few. – Taryn Dec 22 '15 at 21:49
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    The mods and TPTB are litigating over who should be awarded the next eureka hat.... – Mari-Lou A Dec 22 '15 at 21:51
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Thanks for bringing this up. We restarted the web server which hosts the Winterbash website and unfortunately it was configured incorrectly such that the site did not automatically start back up after the reboot. Meanwhile, our "promotion" code basically 301's (permanent redirect) any "dead" promotion site to our promotions page. We started the web site back up manually, but the damage had already been done for people who experienced this issue since a browser will cache a 301 redirect permanently. To fix this for users affected by the 301, we made 2 changes:

  1. We 301'd the redirect to the promotions page back to http://winterbash2015.stackexchange.com which lets your browser "update" its permanent redirect cache. We'll undo this once Winterbash 2015 is over.
  2. We've started 302-ing finished promotions on the promo servers, so that this kind of problem doesn't persist in the future.

This should be fixed now, and you should once again be able to access the site and celebrate all things hat related! However, if you are still having issues then please clear your browser's cache and try again.

Thanks again for reporting this, and thanks to Geoff Dalgas and Greg Bray for quickly rolling out this fix.

EDIT: this deserves a poem.

T'was the second week of Winterbash, and all through the site
Something had gone wrong; the hats vanished from plain sight!

The diligent meta users told us right away
We didn't know what happened, so we asked Greg Bray

He told us that Windows Update had reared its ugly head
And restarted our server, killing Winterbash dead

Everybody was panicking: where were the hats we amassed?
But soon we sorted out the problem, thanks to Geoff Dalgas

And thus we restored order, and Winterbash was back
Merry Christmas to all, from the people at Stack

  • 7
    TL; DR; Windows Updates Hates Hats! – Greg Bray Dec 22 '15 at 22:29
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    And if you don't want to clear your entire browser's cache, there's a way to do that... at least on Firefox. This question on SU explains it. – Catija Dec 22 '15 at 22:31
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    @GregBray things could be worse. – Monica Cellio Dec 22 '15 at 22:39
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    I wrote a poem about this – Haney Dec 22 '15 at 22:48
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    I always wondered what rhymed with Dalgas – Shog9 Dec 22 '15 at 23:14
  • @Father Christmas , we blame you! So I demand a hat (and still blaming) – Anthony Pham Dec 23 '15 at 0:15

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