The Question Mark Glitch is a glitch in Scratch 3.0 where sprites would seemingly randomly be replaced with a question mark in a box. The glitch was first reported on May 30, 2019[1] but became very widespread for a short period on April 8, 2021.[2][3][4]

A costume replaced with a question mark in a box


Whenever a costume fails to load, or the costume image file is corrupted, it is replaced by a placeholder that is a question mark in a box.[5] For example, uploading an empty SVG file will trigger the question mark since it cannot be processed properly. However, the question mark and box are two separate components merged together; thus, the question mark can be moved.


SVG placeholder.
Shifted SVG placeholder.
PNG placeholder.

The SVG placeholder appears as a black sans-serif question mark at the center of a grey square. However, if you go into the costume editor, the black question mark would appear shifted from the center of the grey box.

The PNG placeholder appears as a black serif question mark at the center of a grey square. It does not appear shifted.

It depends on the image type of the imported file to display an SVG question mark or a PNG one when the image fails to load.


A cause might be because of very slow and bad Internet, or when users whose government banned Scratch try to import an image from the sprite/background library through TurboWarp and similar Scratch modifications, the question mark will also be triggered since they cannot access the Scratch servers. Cases with the cause of slow Internet may also appear with your profile-picture and Scratch's logo on the navbar being replaced with a placeholder image.

Another cause might be the problem of the server itself. In this case you only need to wait a few minutes and then refresh the page.


Note Warning: If your project was affected by this bug, do not go into its code editor or save it! Doing this will make the question marks permanent.

You have to be extremely careful if this was your project or otherwise you may lose your work forever. When this happens, try refreshing the page. If the bug is still not fixed, you have to close the tab, ignore any warnings telling you to save the project, and reopen it after a few minutes.

If Scratch is blocked from your country, then sadly you cannot use Scratch's images from their asset servers, even if you're coding through an unblocked Scratch modification such as TurboWarp, since most of then are built based on Scratch and require access to the Scratch asset servers in order to use the Scratch libraries.

April 8, 2021 Outbreak

Assets failing to load on April 8, 2021

A large number of users were affected by this glitch on April 8, 2021. This was caused by a failure in the asset server, where the editor failed to download costumes properly and used the question mark placeholder as a result of the error. The asset server failure was caused by re-processing and re-saving all vector assets, leading to a massive increase in server load that caused intermittent outages.[6][7][8] A Scratch Team member later clarified that they were attempting to restore affected projects to an earlier version and advised users not to continue further work on them.[9]


The bug did not affect all projects, and even within an individual project, some sprites were affected but others were not. Some sprites in backpacks were also affected.[10] The bug affected users on all platforms, as it was a failure on the server.


  1. lawrence_wei. (30/5/2019). "Sprites Appearing as Question Marks[title]" topic:353217
  2. freddyfazfriend. (8/4/2021). "It happened to me." post:5108655
  3. CARLOSBA234. (8/4/2021). "it hapened[sic] to me :(" post:5108713
  4. qaxtoan. (8/4/2021). "Happened to me also." post:5108747
  5. BryceLTaylor. (2/3/2021). "Currently, when an svg fails to load it is replaced with a question mark (?) placeholder asset. When we do this it actually replaces the asset in the scratch project and saving the project changes the asset id in the project.json to the ? image."
  6. File:April 8 2021 asset store failures.png
  9. topic:503423
  10. File:Question Mark Glitch sprite panel.png
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