Stack Overflow had an unplanned shutdown/maintenance of about 10 minutes on 12/11/2019 at about 2 pm GMT.

Unplanned maintenance

This was also the case for other Stack Exchange-owned websites such as Unix and Linux.

On the other hand, Stack Exchange itself was working fine.

This issue is a bit confusing for sites as huge as SO where we expect a very high reliability...

Do we have any information about this issue?

  • 8
    Not sure why people downvote, I expreinced the same and came here to check since there was nothing on their Tweeter\status page\blog. Nov 12, 2019 at 14:13
  • 10
    I didn't downvote, but it was just a few minutes glitch... hardly worth while asking. Nov 12, 2019 at 14:16
  • 12
    I don't see why it should be confusing. "Very high reliability" doesn't mean "100% uptime." I'd say the site definitely has very high reliability. A single 10 minute unplanned outage isn't really that big a deal. Nov 12, 2019 at 14:19
  • 7
    @HerMajestyQueenofARC When I asked the question this "few minutes glitch" was still ongoing. This post was to point out this issue to the meta community in case it was a real problem. As it stopped at the exact time I posted this thread, I switched it to past tense. (I think it is better to keep this post for record than to deleting it).
    – Maxime B.
    Nov 12, 2019 at 14:21
  • 1
    I would like to think that people that need to know have other ways of knowing that server(s) have problems. The rest of us can just about do nothing. Nov 12, 2019 at 14:29
  • I saw a brief outage on WorldBuilding about the time that this question was posted; it wasn't long, and I didn't worry about it. I could wish that there was more information than "maintenance", but since it came back up quickly, it's a case of shrug and move on. I don't see this sort of outage happen often enough to be concerned. Nov 12, 2019 at 14:38
  • 19
    I think questions like this are acceptable and warranted. You'd be surprised what you can learn from an outage. Nov 12, 2019 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


Tom here. Manager of Stack's SRE team.

This error message indicates either we are down for maintenance (which is rare, and we usually announce ahead of time) or down due to an outage (but not a total outage, since we're able to generate that error message).

The graphic is the same no matter what. It's a joke.

The problem has been fixed. We're working on writing an internal retrospective report so we learn from this and improve.

  • 1
    Thanks for the information, can you please let me know where the prior information about maintenance is published? Nov 12, 2019 at 15:27
  • 1
    @PatelRomil here on MSE Nov 12, 2019 at 15:29
  • 3
    There was nothing on the status site nor Twitter during the outage either.
    – OrangeDog
    Nov 12, 2019 at 16:25
  • But what was the actual problem? A virus? Someone fat-fingering the backup database script? Dangling pointers? Nov 12, 2019 at 17:02
  • 15
    Short version: a typo.
    – Tom Limoncelli StaffMod
    Nov 12, 2019 at 18:23
  • 7
    Continuous integration and deployment to the cloud, they said. It will be more streamlined and productive, they said. Nov 12, 2019 at 18:37

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