The animated progress image (a.k.a. horizontal “spinning” dots) that is used to indicate that an asynchronously loaded part of the page is not loading, leaving a broken image indicator. The example I'm seeing most often is in tag dropdowns, but that's not the only location, just the place I see it most. I've only seen this intermittently on SO, and not on any other SE site (including MSO) but I don't visit them all.


This is using Safari 5.0.3 on OSX 10.5.8

  • This is always the same image file -- sstatic.net/img/progress-dots.gif -- no matter what site you're on.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 8:01
  • What browser? Is it constant behavior? Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 8:11
  • @balpha: I figured as such, which is why I was surprised it wasn't working. However, I did one time manage to look at what was going on with the Safari web inspector and it appeared to be using a relative URL. I don't know where the fragment was loaded from though and I lost it again. Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 8:57
  • @Shadow: Added browser info to Q, and no, it's not constant. It comes and goes (the problem was gone a while last week, but now it's back again). Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 8:57
  • @Don can you check with other browsers to confirm it's "Safari only" problem? Also, is this happening with other images or just this one? For example the vote up/vote down images etc.. Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 9:17
  • @DonalFellows: You're indeed right, it's using a relative URL in some cases. That might be worth changing. Still strange, because the relative version should exist as well. Hmmm...
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 9:36
  • @Shadow: Seems to work in Firefox. Bizarre(r). Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 10:28
  • @Don - bizarre indeed.. maybe some plugin/extension installed on the Safari? Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 10:34
  • @Shadow: Don't see how any of the extensions I've got installed could do that (i.e., confuse what the origin server of the script is). It might be a browser bug, of course, but that doesn't change that it's (low-level) annoying. Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 8:50
  • @Don well, extensions can mess with the browser "core" so weird things can happen - can you just for the sake of testing disable the extensions and see if it has any effect? Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 8:56
  • @Sha (i.e., please don't call me “Don”; to me, that's someone else whatever this software thinks) No effect one way or another when I disable extensions & plugins. Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 0:57
  • Sorry Donal, actually I don't need the @ at all in this case as you're the OP. :) Regarding the problem, have you verified it's happening only when the URL of the image is relative? Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 8:01
  • @balpha, relative to /content, right? (If not: stackoverflow.com/img/progress-dots.gif does not exist, but stackoverflow.com/content/img/progress-dots.gif does. And that latter is requested, without any problems, when I test.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


I have seen no other reports of this, and cannot reproduce it in Safari / Windows.

Is there a way to get a set of steps to reproduce?

Perhaps it's just intermittent internet networking issues between you and our servers?

  • I don't think so; it may have been a bug in how Safari handles (or handled) converting relative URLs into absolute ones, exacerbated by a few things on your end. FWIW, it seems to have gone away now. Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 9:04

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