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:
- 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.
- 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