Document.png Please expand this article or section. You can help by adding more information if you are an editor. More information might be found in a section of the talk page. (April 2021)

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
A project where one sprite has been replaced by a question mark in a box
Assets failing to load on April 8, 2021

Background

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.

April 8, 2021 Outbreak

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]

Scope

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.

References

  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." https://github.com/LLK/scratch-gui/issues/6838
  6. File:April 8 2021 asset store failures.png
  7. https://github.com/LLK/scratch-svg-renderer/issues/219#issuecomment-781663678
  8. https://github.com/LLK/scratch-vm/pull/3026
  9. topic:503423
  10. File:Question Mark Glitch sprite panel.png
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