I received an email from the moderation team. At the end it stated:

This email was sent from an unmonitored account. Do not reply directly to this email; if you feel this message is incorrect, please respond on Stack Overflow here: https://stackoverflow.com/users/message/XXXXXX.

The link did not work until I was somehow able to log in under the right account. After logging in it works. Maybe worth putting a note about that or something in the email, because when it fails all you get is a "page not found" message and no indication of why the failure happened or what to do about it.

  • did it 404 or throw you to a login link?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Oct 5 '17 at 10:59
  • It sounds like a 404 to me @JourneymanGeek but you can try with a valid message on SU to see if it is different ....
    – rene
    Oct 5 '17 at 11:08
  • It threw the "page not found" message with "We could not find the page you requested. We did, however, find this program". There was no 404 error code.
    – user370230
    Oct 5 '17 at 11:09
  • @user329044 yeah, that is the custom 404 page. That is fine.
    – rene
    Oct 5 '17 at 11:13
  • Might be an idea to add the 404 number to it so that is obvious.
    – user370230
    Oct 5 '17 at 12:11

The link as mentioned in question is https://stackoverflow.com/users/message/XXXXXX as indicates, it will take you to your messages page.

If you didn't logged in, there is no messages page for you because SO can't identify you.

Usually it is the 403 aka forbidden error but SO show custom 404 for most of the error messages.

  • Sure, I understand why it happens. I'm suggested it should be fixed by taking the user to a log in page or at least including some text explaining that they need to be logged in.
    – user370230
    Oct 5 '17 at 12:09
  • @user329044 it might impact other site feature, as anonymous user can do tasks on the site (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/194252/…) and from memory the login is cached in such time (when anonymous)
    – yagmoth555
    Oct 5 '17 at 12:27
  • How would text such as "you must be logged in to this account to use this link" impact other site features?
    – user370230
    Oct 5 '17 at 12:38
  • @user329044 if anonymous, its normal I cant read the message X from your link, but the user is already logged somehow, as he can edit, ask question, etc. A 403 would sound better to me
    – yagmoth555
    Oct 5 '17 at 12:56

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