I browsed MSE front page a minute ago, and was greeted with the following error message:

It was not possible to perform this tag search at this time due to an unexpected error.


I did not search for any tags...

Can the message please be changed to something more meaningful?

  • 5
    You do realize you broke the tag engine and with that summoned @MarcGravell on a saturday ... bad things will happen to you ...
    – rene
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 15:52
  • 1
    shouldiblamecaching.com Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 16:45
  • 1
    Me too, on a per-site meta. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 22:35
  • 2
    I've been getting this a fair bit since yesterday... on a bunch of sites, main and meta
    – Cai
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 10:22
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    Got this recently on ruSO. I'm going to translate it, but afraid of lost it due to text changing if your request will be accepted :) Commented May 1, 2017 at 10:36
  • @DavidPostill caching? I don't think so. I've been noticing the same thing for about 3-4 days now, then it comes back to being ok after a minute or so. This being for any tags on StackOverflow.com Edit: matter of fact, I just saw it again a minute or so ago. Commented May 2, 2017 at 0:13
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    @ShadowWizard: Why is this a feature request? Seems to be more of a bug, as per another post I saw while Googling this error: Random errors on various sites when viewing main page Commented May 2, 2017 at 0:19
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    @Fred-ii- David was using a meta meme, didn't mean it seriously. As for feature request, it's because I ask to change the message to be more meaningful, not to fix the bug causing it, which might indeed deserve a separate bug report if happening frequently. (For me it happened just once so far, but from comments here looks like it's more frequent) Commented May 2, 2017 at 8:30
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    @ShadowWizard Hehe, got it. I posted a related on question on Stack's meta also. Others are experiencing it as well. Commented May 2, 2017 at 9:54
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    From the software's perspective, a search over all tags is still a tag search :) but yes, we should improve that message - from the user's perspective, it really wasn't a "tag search"; as for what happened: apparently the tag engine got unhappy; we've restarted the nodes, and it is on my list to look at further Commented May 2, 2017 at 15:37
  • @MarcGravell I take it that your comment "as for what happened: apparently the tag engine got unhappy; we've restarted the nodes" is relevant to this Stack meta question I posted earlier..., yes? Plus, a few comments I left in the comments thread. Commented May 2, 2017 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


The short summary of this one is "because internet"; it turns out some annoying folks were doing annoying things specifically to be annoying, and a side-effect was disproportionate performance impact to a particular sub-system (the "tag engine"). I sincerely doubt that it was accidental or simply "oops my innocent crawler had an impact on your site? I simply didn't know...", based on the pattern of behaviour and the particular hoops they jumped through to hide their tracks. Anyway, as far as annoying bots go: that's what we call "a day with a 'y' in"; it was low-key enough not to set off any too urgent alarm bells, but it made it onto our radar, as has now been squished.

  • Thanks, what about the message itself? Will you change it in case such thing will happen again? Commented May 2, 2017 at 19:08
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    @ShadowWizard yes, I'll try to look at that ASAP, but frankly I hope that you just don't see that message... Commented May 2, 2017 at 19:09
  • Three and half years later, did you have a chance to look at it? Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 14:57
  • @ShadowWizardWearingMask unrelated; for a few seconds when we deploy, it can be a little... "uncertain" - we deployed a little while before your comment, so I'm guessing you were one of the first people on a fresh server Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 15:03
  • All good, I don't complain about the downtime itself, just the message. Pure nitpicking. :-) Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 15:11
  • And it became relevant again: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/360522/…
    – Luuklag
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 8:24

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