The semicolon in the bottom-left of the Front Page.

The "Semicolon Glitch" was a bug that lasted a short period of time. In the bottom left of every page (except the Messages page) on the Scratch Website, a single semicolon appeared after the footer. It was first reported on September 17, 2013.[1]

Source

The semicolon appeared near the bottom of the source code, in the following lines:[2]

<script>
  $('#topnav .messages').notificationsAlert()
</script>;

Most likely, it was supposed to go at the end of the line above. However, due to the fact that it was placed outside of the <script> tag, it was treated as page text by web browsers and showed up.

Consequences

Most of the consequences of this bug were minor. One was that all affected pages were made 18 pixels taller, due to the vertical space that the semicolon took up. That means that the website's footer no longer touched the bottom of the page.

The other, slightly more serious consequence, was that a scrollbar appeared in the project editor, where it should not have appeared at all. This is because the project editor is sized to perfectly fit the browser's height. However, the semicolon added 18 more pixels on top of that height, so web browsers started showing the scrollbar to account for the extra height.[3]

Removal

The glitch was fixed on September 27, 2013,[4] though it was marked as "closed" on the bugtracker two days before.[5] This is because the code rollout that fixed the bug was on the 27th. The main discussion topic on the famous glitch was closed on December 3, 2013, due to it already being patched.[6]

Reaction

The Scratch community in general considered the glitch "funny", and asked the Scratch Team not to remove it. When it was removed, some pretended to mourn its passing.[7] It has been suggested that it be brought back for April Fools' Day.[8] This was accepted for April Fools' Day 2014, and again for April Fools' Days 2016 through 2024.

After it was removed, many Scratchers commemorated it by placing a lone semicolon on the bottom line of their forum signature, or otherwise mentioning it.

The semicolon glitch on April Fools' Day.

April Fools' Day Returns

The semicolon has appeared on April Fools' Day in 2014 and every year since 2016, this section listing changes involving it over past April Fools' Days.

On April Fools' Day 2016, a giant comment emoji of it, with the syntax _;_, was added which exploded with smaller semicolons when moused over, which was removed alongside the main semicolon after April Fools' Day. The emoji returned in 2017 and 2018 but with no effect.

The Scratch Wiki implemented the semicolon every year since 2018, alongside the regular joke pages pranks.[9]

From 2020 onwards,[10] the semicolon was white on a blue (or purple from 2024 with the Accessibility Color Changes) background on the parts of the Scratch website using scratch-www, or black-on-white on the parts using scratchr2.

Since early March 2022[11], the semicolon will display whenever ones devices date is set to April 1st[12], after being hardcoded from an April Fools' Day prank.

References

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.