I can't select Beer, Wine & Spirits SE from the input field on https://data.stackexchange.com/.

The placeholder is "search by name or url" but:

Server Error in '/' Application.

Runtime Error

Description: An application error occurred on the server...

  • if try experimenting/editing the above url with - e.g. - %2C in place of , or other, I always get a 404.

Is there something wrong serverside or am I neglecting something? The Joomla! one is another beta SE site but it does not show the same problem, obviously not depending on the web browser I use.

Thank you!

  • 1
    Reproduced. Thanks for reporting this. May 12, 2019 at 20:31
  • 2
    In addition, correcting the URL to data.stackexchange.com/alcohol/query/new gives a 404
    – ArtOfCode
    May 12, 2019 at 20:55
  • 2
    Oh, but if you then replace "alcohol" with "beer" in @ArtOfCode's URL, it works. Beer was the original name (and URL) of the site; it looks like SEDE half-updated, offering the new name in the drop-down list but not updating the URL. You can get there with manual editing, but yeah, we should fix this. May 12, 2019 at 20:59
  • @MonicaCellio I've seen it, it works. Thanks again! May 12, 2019 at 21:56
  • 2
    Cross site duplicate on MSE: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/296521/…
    – rene
    May 13, 2019 at 7:17
  • 1
    I've bountied that MSE post in the hope it attracts enough SE eyes so someone might find the time to run that sql update statement.
    – rene
    May 13, 2019 at 10:10
  • @rene great, I see. Thanks :) May 13, 2019 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


The problem is the & in the name of the site. The actual error thrown is:

A potentially dangerous Request.Path value was detected from the client (&).

Here is my local reproduction of the error:

error due to &

The easiest fix for now to change the record for alcohol.se in Sites table as found the Data.StackExchange database. I don't fancy fiddling with webserver settings

Particularly I propose to change the Name column to Beer, Wine and Spirits Stack Exchange but keep the Longname column with the &. That change will still show the site name as we are used to, even in the site switcher:

site switcher

while it uses the value from the Name column to construct the url when you click that item.

A quick inspection didn't reveal any other serious mishaps with this change in place.

Now we need to bribe someone with database access to execute this query on Data.StackExchange:

update sites 
set name = 'Beer, Wine and Spirits Stack Exchange'
where Id = 224 -- oh I hope these ids are stable ... please let them be 

update sites 
set name = 'Beer, Wine and Spirits Meta Stack Exchange'
where Id = 225 -- oh I hope these ids are stable ... please let them be 

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