YouTube’s “500 Internal Server Error” Page

Internal Server Error

I received an HTTP 500 response from YouTube today after submitting a search for Shlomo (an excellent beatboxer and human voice percussionist) and received the cryptic error mesage below.

It looks like potentially sensitive debug data have been serialised and encrypted into the error page, but it’s not immediately obvious why this is fed back to the user and not logged internally. Perhaps this error:

  1. occurred in an isolated system component without write permission to persistent storage
  2. is a trigger condition for a reroute from an overloaded component (possibly an aggregation service?)
  3. is infrequent enough to be considered non-critical
  4. is an undesired, undiagnosed emergent property of their architecture
  5. is unexpected, consequently not routed to the correct engineer and mothballed

Whatever it is, there isn’t any direction on how to contact the “highly trained monkeys” so most users won’t bother. The error is either considered minor or unfixable.

Serving 2 billion videos a day is non-trivial, but for any site without such well-publicised architectural prowess giving users encrypted debug messages and no method to report them is considered bad form!

 

500 Internal Server Error

Sorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.

If you see them, show them this information:

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