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While uploading a screenshot for a post on Super User, I managed to get the bizarre response Request returned an error: [error] I'm a teapot.

Teapot error while uploading screenshot

In balpha's answer to Stack Overflow returning HTTP error code 418 (I'm a teapot)?, he explains that this error code is used for CSRF violations.

A while ago we finally switched the response to CSRF violations from a non-descript error page, as we had been doing for years, to something sensible that somewhat explains what's going on.

While implementing this change, I was considering what HTTP status code to return in such a case...

Long story short: There's not really a good status code for this case, so I figured we might as well return a 418. In addition, it's a little easter egg you just found :)

At the time I was uploading the image from a work PC running Internet Explorer 10*. I only encountered the error once, as after refreshing the page it did not occur again.

Why would Stack Exchange's image uploader return a 418 teapot error?


*Yes, I know IE10 is outdated and insecure. I'm not using it by choice.

  • Maybe you are really a teapot? – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 26 '17 at 19:35
  • Seriously now, that status code is used in chat when rate limit is reached, so maybe it's used same way in other places. Any chance you tried to upload many times in a row? – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 26 '17 at 19:36
  • @ShadowWizard I don't think I had to retry the upload at all? I had uploaded four or five images in the span of a few minutes, so that is a possibility. – Steven M. Vascellaro Jun 26 '17 at 19:54
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    Possible duplicate of Stack Overflow returning HTTP error code 418 (I'm a teapot)? – Jason C Jun 26 '17 at 21:22
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    Hmm... tried 10 uploads in two minutes, no teapot. @Jason this isn't a dupe, that other one has clear way to reproduce, we still don't really know what's going on in this case. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 26 '17 at 22:28
  • @JasonC If you knew it was an imgur error, why not just say so instead of marking it as a duplicate of an issue you just said wasn't related? – Steven M. Vascellaro Jun 27 '17 at 2:14
  • Sorry, I'm confused. Did I not just say so? – Jason C Jun 27 '17 at 2:23
  • @Jason so close it as off topic, not duplicate. (Actually you are right, this is purely ingur issue but it is not trivial) – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 27 '17 at 6:19
  • @Steven new assumption: lots of users uploaded images in the same time, triggering rate limit on imgur API side. I am afraid we can't really reproduce this. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 27 '17 at 6:21
  • @ShadowWizard But it didn't occur to me that it was imgur when I voted to close it so I'm really not sure what more you guys would have wanted from me? – Jason C Jun 27 '17 at 11:07
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    @Jason just to retract the close vote. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 27 '17 at 11:13
  • No. I still think it should be closed as ot. Feel free to choose a different reason or put in a feature request for changing reasons. It's really a non issue. If closed this would fade into obscurity in a few days and it just won't matter. – Jason C Jun 27 '17 at 11:15

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