noun: an information technology for the temporary storage (caching) of Web documents, such as Web pages, images, and other types of Web multimedia, to reduce server lag.
I still have not healed from the emotional trauma that this incident has brought upon me.
But I feel the need to clear my name. For innocence, for purity, or the sake of my sanity.
It all started in the distant past, the far-flung era of a few days ago. A news thread managed to get by without promoting the image to the little preview box you normally see. Even after going back to edit the image in, it stayed broken, refusing to change despite the fact an image had been added multiple different times. So, the issue was something to do with the site's way of caching images. Resident code-wizard tj_cool had it fixed pretty fast--instantly fixing the broken front page image from earlier. Yay, problem solved!
Except things were just a few hours from spiraling into an unforgettable mess.
In an early-morning rush to get a thread posted, and for the first time in an incredibly long while, I'd missed centering the image for the news post, so it went up without a preview. And apparently, that was pretty no bueno with the new caching code that'd been added hours ago.
Putting it dramatically, I'd single-handedly killed GBAtemp into an error-code coma with my mistake. The site wouldn't load, and instead gave some techy message spitting out some sorta text that might as well have said "good going chary, you broke EVERYTHING"
So, at 4am, in nervous-awkward fervor, I screenshotted the error and asked Costello to please fix whatever horror I'd inflicted upon the image cache. It was easy, just press control+printscreen, boom, ShareX created a nice little Imgur screenshot for me to send, showing what went wrong.
Except that didn't happen.
Something far, far, different did.
And I wasn't even aware.
I knew something went wrong when every single supervisor and admin left me on read, only for Costello to break the silence with, and I quote,
"are you seeing a naked woman showing her butthole?"
No, no I don't, Costello.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.
Slightly rattled, I thought this was some weird webdev joke? Maybe he saw something in the line of code that made him think of those old website hacks that would redirect to porn? Maybe it was just some guy joke that went over my head?
Then Shaun added the final nail in the panic coffin,
"I see it too"
that doesn't sound like a joke
WHAT DOES ANYTHING MEAN ANYMORE?
(I've been using the internet since I was a little kid--I still remember getting a computer for Christmas 2001. The first thing I did was AOL-search for Pokemon.com. Ever since that day, I've mercifully avoided any form of "scary stuff", aka any porn, raunchy images, anything explicit in nature. We're talking the kinda strict parent filter active and parenting that led me to think that Harry Potter was all sorts of evil and corrupting, or that South Park was the scariest thing on earth. That porn was the worst sin in the whole wide world. There was a time when I hadn't used the internet for a few years, having gotten service back in 2012, only to find a certain yarr-harr site with some roms on it. I happily found a download link, only for ads to pop up on the side. I'll never forget the horror when I saw some woman, scantily clad in lingerie with the bold words of "hot singles in your area".
Slight tears forming in my eyes, my 16-year old self couldn't believe the internet had become such a cesspool in those years I hadn't used it. Except it had always been that way--I just had never seen such graphic content of a clothed woman in underwear on my personal computer.)
So, that was all built up for the grand moment where I'd apparently just sent every higher up staff on GBAtemp a picture of a naked woman, somehow. And then, the screenshot of my screenshot was sent back to me, full butt viewable. Right there. Just like that, butt.
But(t) how did that even happen? To answer, we have to come full circle back to the original issue: caching.
My link was fine, but Telegram must have seen that Imgur link used once before in the past, and it must have, at the time, been used for someone's nude photo, sent through Telegram. Thus, caching it on their servers.
What are the odds?
That meant the link showed up fine for me, since I was the one sending it, but anyone else on the receiving side heard my cries of "help i broke the site with the cached image" paired along with the image of the backside of a woman. Hopefully, presumably, not assumed to actually be myself. Gosh why.
It wasn't an image of me, of course, but the reaction to the incident certainly felt like I was becoming a walking advert for young women to be careful when sending risque pictures on the internet.
I'll lay awake at night, years from now, unable to sleep, just thinking about the confusion, panic, and terror of this.
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