As you all know, StackExchange's resident designer, Jin, has informed us that our site is due for graduation soon. Jin has been really awesome about getting input and ideas from the community about how the site should look. Now Jin is going to work on the design for the 404, Captcha, and Error pages, and he wants our input.

Usually, these pages have a little lighthearted cartoon or picture that fits with the concept of the page. As an example, these are the pages for English.SE's 404, Captcha, and Error pages. In those examples, the illustrations for each page are of the same style, this is not always the case, though. But on most Stack Exchange sites, these pages are lighhearted in tone: see the linked-to examples above, for example.

We've discussed some ideas in chat for these pages, but now we want to see what the greater community thinks. I'll post the ideas that have already come up in chat (I'll try to give credit where its due, but if I make a mistake, please let me know). Give us your best ideas, and vote up the ones that you like!

Edit: BTW, Captcha pages ("Are you human?") usually have a picture of some cute and/or funny non-human (robot or animal, etc.).

Further edit: A captcha page design has already been chosen and put in place (by Jin); the others have not yet.

Update: these have all been implemented.


11 Answers 11


Edit: This idea has been implemented

For Error, we could have a photo of a person's torso, with that person's fist tapping the chest, as in Vidui (confession prayer). I envision the head being out of the frame, for some reason.

Text: "We have erred."

  • 5
    +10000000000!!! – Hod - Monica's Army Apr 26 '12 at 3:21
  • @jin Here are some drawings so you get what this looks like. You can also look for the word vidui to find out more. – Ariel May 1 '13 at 5:20
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    Isaac and @HodofHod, how about a .gif? – Seth J May 1 '13 at 17:05
  • @SethJ Yes, yes, yes. Yes. – Hod - Monica's Army May 1 '13 at 17:25

The only reference in Jewish literature, that I can think of, where someone was actually inspected for his humanity, is King Solomon's impostor (Ashmedai).

So, for the captcha page, we could have a picture of King Solomon on his throne, and someone lifting up the hem of his robe to reveal chicken feet. (Gittin 68b, and Berachot 6a.) This might be a little obscure, but it would be hilarious!

(To add to the ridiculousness of the situation, maybe King Solomon is using a laptop to read Judaism.SE?)

Edit: Based on Seth's suggestion, perhaps King Solomon is sitting at a desk or on a couch, typing on the computer, and just underneath the hem of his robe, you can see chicken feet.

  • with a link to hebrewbooks :) – Shmuel Apr 27 '12 at 4:28
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    @ShmuelBrin Preferably something in English :) – Hod - Monica's Army Apr 27 '12 at 4:34
  • @ShmuelBrin Doesn't bring what the telltale signs are. For that, you also need dafyomi.co.il/berachos/points/br-ps-006.htm – Hod - Monica's Army Apr 27 '12 at 4:44
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    Obscure is ok so long as knowing that bit of obscure knowledge isn't required to grok the page. In this case it's not; chicken posing as human fits in well. Those who know will know; those who don't will still laugh. – Monica Cellio Apr 27 '12 at 12:50
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    @MonicaCellio, note, though, that it will appear as a human with chicken feet. +1 from me, though. – msh210 Apr 27 '12 at 16:12
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    HodofHod, @ShmuelBrin, I don't think a reference is necessary. If someone's curious enough, he'll find this post, or can ask here on meta. And putting the explanation of the joke alongside it weakens it IMO. – msh210 Apr 27 '12 at 16:15
  • Ok, I was groaning until the laptop bit. Now I'm LOLing! – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 21:47
  • @HodofHod Maybe instead of someone looking up his robe (awkward), we have the chicken feet visible beneath the desk? – Seth J May 1 '13 at 17:08
  • @SethJ Sure! (I was picturing a picturing him walking, while someone had grabbed his train and lifted it up a bit.) – Hod - Monica's Army May 1 '13 at 17:14

Edit: This idea has been implemented

For the 404 ("not found") page we could have the quote:

"If someone says I toiled but did not find, do not believe him. If he says I found but did not toil, do not believe him. If he says I toiled and I found, believe him," (Talmud: Megillah 6b)."

... 404: My apologies, I apparently didn't toil hard enough to find the URL you asked for.

Other versions (from the comments):

... 404: I toiled trying to fulfill your request, but did not succeed. What's up with that?


... 404: Would you believe that I toiled, trying to find the URL you asked for, but did not succeed? Wait; don't answer that.

This could be combined with an image of some kind.

Credit: Isaac Moses

  • @Isaac Moses Brilliant! – Avrohom Yitzchok Apr 27 '12 at 13:27
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    It's a great quote, but does it perhaps come across as a little accusatory to somebody who simply clicked a link on our site? In particular, we want people to find and not toil here, don't we? – Monica Cellio Apr 29 '12 at 15:21
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    @MonicaCellio, Good point. We could change the last part to something like "My apologies, I apparently didn't toil hard enough to find the URL you asked for." – Isaac Moses May 3 '12 at 16:43
  • @IsaacMoses, I like your revised version. Thanks. – Monica Cellio May 3 '12 at 17:55
  • @isaacmoses, except that, in this case, if one toiled, they would still not find! – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 21:46
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    @SethJ Unbelievable! – Isaac Moses Jul 25 '12 at 21:51
  • @IsaacMoses touche! – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 21:54
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    Or "I toiled trying to fulfill your request, but did not succeed. What's up with that?" – Menachem Jul 30 '12 at 22:39
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    @Menachem Or: "Would you believe that I toiled, trying to find the URL you asked for, but did not succeed? Wait; don't answer that." – Isaac Moses May 1 '13 at 16:43
  • @IsaacMoses: I like it – Menachem May 1 '13 at 16:49
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    @IsaacMoses "I toiled hard to find the URL etc., but I did not find it!" (Followed by two buttons, "I believe you" and "I don't believe you". Clicking the "I believe you" button takes you to a video of Rick Astley) – Hod - Monica's Army May 1 '13 at 16:56
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    @HodofHod or: "I believe you" isn't actually clickable. – Monica Cellio May 1 '13 at 17:51
  • @MonicaCellio A more reasonable option, sure. But who likes reason??? ;) – Hod - Monica's Army May 1 '13 at 17:53
  • Actually, it was meant to be a joke/response -- no, you can't click that, because you're commanded not to believe it! – Monica Cellio May 1 '13 at 17:54

Edit: This idea has been implemented

For the "Are you human?" captcha page, we could have a picture of the Golem. For this purpose, we could possibly use an image of the Golem statue in Prague, or a well known illustration of him. Alternatively, we could have any illustration of a golem, and as long as there was the word "emes" on his forehead, I think it would be recognizable.

(Although I don't think the Maharal's Golem had "emes", another did, and the stories have been combined and confused in many places. I think it's pretty distinctive, though.)

  • Excellent!````` – Dave Apr 26 '12 at 1:24
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    Though I think the Golem from the Jewish Press comic strip (if it's still running after all these years...) would probably have the most universal recognition. – Dave Apr 26 '12 at 2:20
  • @Dave, I think if there's an "Emes" on his forehead, he'll be recognizable to most anyone. (Not that the Maharal's Golem necessarily had one, but others did, I believe, and it's become rather well known). – Hod - Monica's Army Apr 26 '12 at 2:38
  • can we have multiple images? – Shmuel Apr 27 '12 at 19:38

Arba Ve'arba Me'os - mi yodeya? Who knows 404?

(This will be even better in a couple of months, when that page will actually exist!)

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    I think Isaac Moses will have to step it up a bit if we're going to get there ;D – Hod - Monica's Army Apr 26 '12 at 1:32
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    Wait!! why didn't I think of it? 404 = page not found. Who knows 404 = page not found!! Perfect!! But we'll have to change it once Isaac gets there. – Hod - Monica's Army Apr 26 '12 at 3:25
  • It's also the gematria of דת. :) – Dave Apr 26 '12 at 3:33
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    @HodofHod, we don't need to skip it, but the top-voted answer would probably be a link to that page. :-) – Monica Cellio Apr 26 '12 at 13:10
  • I love this; it ties in with the source for the site name and it's a reference that Jews at all levels will get. – Monica Cellio Apr 26 '12 at 15:04
  • xkcd.com/404 – Double AA Sep 1 '14 at 15:02

For the 404 page, we could have a reference to the search for the Afikoman.

Credit: msh210

Update: I (msh210) was thinking something like a standard "404 file not found" or "We couldn't find that page" message, but with the picture being someone (perhaps a man in a kitl) searching for something, while the afikoman eludes him (in our sight, but not his).

  • "I couldn't find the page you're looking for, will this 6-year-old afikoman do?" – Hod - Monica's Army May 1 '13 at 17:54

Just my two cents...

Perhaps for the 404 page we can have some sort of reference to searching for chametz before passover, and the idea of 10 missing pieces of bread.

Credit: yydl


For the captcha image:

what about a Noah's Ark 'groupshot' with only one human?
Or only one noticable large animal?
And an obvious missing space, of course.

Credit: DoubleAA


For the "Are you human" page, we can show Daniel in the lions' den with the caption "CAPTCHAed!".

  • LOLing over here! – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 21:51

For "Are you human," we could use the image of a bearded goat, perhaps sitting at a table. They can look downright sagacious at times.

  • And have the goat either peer at a Gemara or a computer screen – yydl Apr 26 '12 at 18:44
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    @yydl - I was envisioning the goat looking up from an ancient-looking Gemara or scroll, perhaps peering over the rims of wire-frame glasses. All we need is someone who can get a goat to do that (either in real life or in Photoshop)! – Dave Apr 26 '12 at 19:24
  • Exactly. I think the actual implementation would be for Jin to do. But I'm not 100% sure... – yydl Apr 26 '12 at 20:01
  • Ooh, ooh, Had Gadya!! – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 21:51

For 404 error page, how about

תפשת מרובה, לא תפשת

In other words, "you've bitten off more than you can chew".

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