The 404 page, error page and captcha page have very generic images.

There have been proposals for 404 images and captcha images before.

This is a call for error image nominations.

Furthermore, the text on these pages should include standard unix error messages:

  • 404: No such file or directory, of course
  • captcha: Permission denied?
  • error: I/O error?
  • good idea -- something nice and Unix-y! Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 0:49
  • Didn't we already do this a long time ago? Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 11:31
  • oh right... and you mention it. It's been ignored by the SO team. Since they have complete control over that, I have no opinion, it would be ignored anyways. Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 11:39
  • @xenoterracide: There were previous threads about 404 and captcha, I started a new one about error, hoping that people would submit ideas. Once the community has made some kind of decision, we can start bugging the team (Jin?) to implement it. Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 11:47
  • Oh boy... does this mean that picture of Tux in front of the computer has a chance? Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 16:44

3 Answers 3


I'd really like this on the offline page:


(By apswartz, from the Unix gallery on flickr)

Why I like it: the slightly fuzzy look (as if there was maintenance going on); the unix theme (/dev/null); the capitalization and lack of a second L (that's what the maintenance should be fixing).


useless use of cat

(from GirlieMac's HTTP Status Cats)


I'm confused, why would "standard unix error messages" link to something inside gcc?

Captcha should not be "Permission denied", because it's not denied yet. From that page you linked to I think "Connection reset by peer" is more suitable.

Lots of other (not better) error messages can also be used for the error page: "Host is down", "Network is down", "Network is unreachable".

  • 3
    The link was the first google hit for a list of strerror strings. I think “Permission denied” is ok because retrying with a captcha is analogous to retrying with sudo. I don't like having a network error message here because there's a risk of confusion with an actual network error. Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 18:29
  • Put an interrogation mark after the funny error messages. This should be enough to convey the idea that those are not real error messages. Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 22:34

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