Searching For Mark Pilgrim

Published 12 years, 9 months past

[[ MARK IS FINE and his work is not lost.  Please see the update and addendum later in the post.  — E. ]]

Just yesterday, I took a screenshot of the title page of Dive Into HTML5 to include in a presentation as a highly recommended resource.  Now it’s gone.  That site, along with all the other “Dive Into…” sites (Accessibility, Python, Greasemonkey, etc.) and, is returning an HTTP “410 Gone” message.  Mark’s Github, Google+, Reddit, and Twitter accounts have all been deleted.  And attempts to email him have been bounced back.

This is very reminiscent of Why the Lucky Stiff’s infosuicide, and it’s honestly shocking.  If anyone is in direct contact with Mark, please let me know that he’s okay via comment here or by direct e-mail, even if his internet presence has been erased.  As much as I hate for the world to lose all of the incredible information he’s created and shared, that would be as nothing compared to losing the man himself.

“Embracing HTTP error code 410 means embracing the impermanence of all things.”

 — Mark Pilgrim, March 27, 2003 (

Update 5 Oct 11: Jason Scott just tweeted the following:

Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.

The communication was specifically verified, it was him, and that’s that. That was the single hardest decision I’ve had to make this year.

So there you have it.  I’m sorry to have helped annoy Mark, am very glad he’s well, and sincerely hope that we can all give him the privacy he desires.  And with that, I’m going to sleep now.  Thank you, everyone.

Addendum 5 Oct 11: Several people have asked me if I know why Mark took this step.  I don’t.  I have three comments in the moderation queue all claiming to be from Mark, only one of which even approaches sounding credible, and none of which have any sort of verification.  Unless Mark contacts me directly, or changes his server to return an explanatory note instead of or along with a 410, or something similar, I’m as much in the dark as anyone else.  If he’d like to talk with me about it, he’s certainly more than welcome to do so, but he’s under no obligation to explain himself to me or anyone else.

Mirrors of Mark’s work have started appearing (see the comments for some of them) and so his legacy, if not his presence, will not be lost.  I am assuming that he has simply withdrawn from digital life, his reasons are his own, and that if he feels interested in explaining those reasons he will find a way to do so.  Regardless, his path is his own and we should leave him to walk it as he chooses.

Comments (108)

  1. For those of us who never met him in person but read many thousands of his words, please relay whatever news you receive.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I’ve had “Dive Into HTML5” bookmarked for a long time and check it frequently. Mark’s a great asset to the web world–I do hope he turns up!

  3. Rob—I hope someone knowledgeable (best of all, Mark himself) will post a comment here to let us all know, but if I’m contacted privately I’ll share whatever I can.

  4. I hope the guys OK. Please update this post as you find out.

  5. Will be a true loss to the community if Mark is gone. Hope to hear of his return soon!

  6. This is very concerning. Mark was a fantastic advocate and diveintohtml5 is *the* html5 reference. Where oh where has Mark Pilgrim gone? :’-(

    I hope he’s okay.

  7. I noticed just this very thing this afternoon. There doesn’t seem to be much of anything he touched that’s still up.

    I don’t know the man at all but I have certainly benefited form his work, been prodded into thought by his rants and touched by much of his writing – including Dive into Addiction. This last worries me and I hope my concern is both misplaced and not too entirely patronizing.

  8. Trackback ::


    Where has Mark Pilgrim gone?…

    All of his “diveinto” sites now say that the resource is “Gone” Eric Meyer is wondering too (…

  9. For what it’s worth, I just posed the “where is Mark Pilgrim?” question on Quora.

  10. Mark does everything he does in a stylish fashion.

  11. Can’t someone at Google try to contact him or walk across campus to see if he’s around?

  12. Love his books. They helped me get started in python. Please let us know if you hear anything.

  13. Maybe it’s time we started resurrecting all the content from Google Cache’s etc. before it disappears for good?

  14. I managed to find a clone of his Dive Into Python 3 site, and set up a mirror:

    On GitHub:

  15. Ouch; I’ve been a user of his feedparser Python module for years now (, and it’s 410ing too.

    As a fellow human being, I hope he’s all right.

    But I have to admit, I just don’t understand the “taking all my toys and going home” mentality of the “infosuicide” ala WtLS. I can’t understand making so many good things and giving them away, then suddenly making all of it vanish. What a disappointment it is when one’s legacy is what one has taken away from the world.

  16. I managed to find a copy of Dive Into Python 3, and set up a mirror:

  17. Bah! I got the 410 at around 6pm EST when reading one of the Dive Into Python sections…
    Dive into Python was THE python learning way for people like me who knew to program and wanted to learn python.
    Mark, if you read this or any of these, please comeback. You might not know how much your work means for us and how useful it will be for those who don’t know you yet.

  18. @Tim Bray: There will be many opportunities for being flippant once we know Mark is safe and well, or at least one of the two. Do you have any knowledge about that?

  19. I’m slightly worried, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. This is from last year: but I remember that he got all mad when people from Google contacted HR concerned for his health.

  20. There’s as well for all his sites (archived, of course).

  21. has many a github fork. Clone that and you’ve got a mirror. It’s possible some of the other sites could be mirrored similarly…

  22. Quick check showing all of those “Gone” sites/pages located on the same server Most likely some technical issue and hopefully nothing more.

  23. @umputun – However, his Twitter and Google+ accounts aren’t on the same server, and those are both gone as well. ): I really hope this is some sort of dramatic “impermanence of the Internet” gesture and not something far worse.

  24. Unsettling to say the least. I hope everything’s okay.

  25. seems to be gone. Was he in charge of that?

  26. Although generates a 410 error as do all the ones you noted (Accessibility, Python, Greasemonkey), is still available.

  27. Were he to resurface, would he show up on his (currently not 410ing) firehose @ ?

  28. His GitHub is slowly coming back..

  29. Except the GitHub account says it’s a mirror and a member since today (October 4, 2011)—which means it could be someone uploading a local copy as backup. I mean, I really hope it is Mark restoring all that stuff, but we still haven’t heard from him directly.

  30. @Robert Visser: is owned by a Chinese university. It seems to just be a translation of

  31. Pingback ::

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  32. Pingback ::

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  33. The new diveintomark/diveintohtml5 repo has a link to — note the different domain extension. Strange.

  34. Most likely some technical issue and hopefully nothing more.

    His Twitter, Google+, and Reddit accounts were deleted, as well. That kind of rules out technical problems, but I agree: hopefully it’s just an infosuicide.

  35. He has still marking favorites a couple of days ago on, they have not been deleted: (You likely need to be signed in)

  36. is also still available.

  37. It appears Mark is fine. Various people contacted his bosses at Google, and the local police department in North Carolina. The police sent a car around on a “welfare check.” Jason Scott, who knows him, says he’s verified communications and Mark is fine, and annoyed that people sent police to check on him. See Jason’s tweet.

  38. So, the news from @textfiles is that he’s left these projects and would like to be left alone.

    We’ve forked the project @ and we’d love others to continue to contribute to this work where he left off. It’s a totally excellent resource, and I know I use it myself quite often.

  39. Concerning. He replied to a tweet of mine just yesterday.

    I think this is why I couldn’t get into the Flash Block Detector project ( on Google Code today.

  40. Maybe he found a new hobby.

  41. I can understand when someone wants to suddenly get away from the limelight, but am I wrong to think it mildly selfish of him to do so in a manner that screws over thousands of people who have come to trust him as a guide and mentor?

  42. You know, if I ever disappeared from the Internet taking most of my work & presence with me? Despite the annoyance of the world sending the police to my door, I would also feel the relief of knowing that I had affected someone – anyone – positively to the point that they were so worried about me. Hopefully wherever he is mentally and emotionally, he at least knows that the answer to the question in his case was “it was noticed, many people cared, and they tried to help.” There’s something comforting about knowing that.
    I wish him the best – I’ll miss his stuff. I had just started in with the Python stuff on the advice of a friend. Teach me to procrastinate!

  43. May I remind everyone of More or less everything Mark has published should be archived (though not all of his code, unfortunately!).

  44. Seems like a move one would make to garner attention, not run away from it.

  45. Pingback ::

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  46. @Eric – Totally agree. Selfish and senseless.

  47. This is an interesting story. If he’s physically ok (and it sounds like that is the case), and just decided to up and pull all his stuff off the internet, that feels to me like a real dick move. He wasn’t just taking off the blog about his cats, he had reams of useful information that people all over the world used to learn new things and better themselves or their work.

    So he has some unknown beef with something and goes all metaphysical about 410 error codes and leaves lots of folks that looked up to him and learned from him in the lurch. Nice work.

  48. It’s Mark’s site, he can do what he wants with it. He’s provided all the material with a completely open copyright, so anyone can copy it. The Wayback machine still has access to all of it, so nothing is lost.

    Bottom line, though, is the site is Mark’s and he can do what he wants with it.

    Moving on…

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  51. This post of Mark’s came to mind: The pursuit of happiness. Apparently there’s an unlisted step in there (somewhere around step 8?) concerning getting rid of everything you’ve posted on the internet.

  52. A tweet may be, but a whole post about this?

    It’s his choice, we should leave the guy alone…

  53. Maybe he is walking Into The Wild right now…

  54. Pingback ::

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  57. It’s his life and his work, his right to do what he wishes with it for whatever reason.

    I hardly think calling the guy selfish (and this remember is someone who has provided such valuable online resources for nothing) is going to contribute positively to his state of mind, whatever that might be.

  58. I’ve just realised that, for us Brits at least, that the date Mark chose to take his amazing resources offline matches the HTTP error code: 4/10 (4th October) – 410.

    As a nerd, I’m not ashamed to say that it makes me tingle all over just thinking about it.

  59. He’s probably diving into the silence atm, and I quite envy him actually

  60. Pingback ::

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  61. Strange and sad timing with the loss of Steve Jobs. Mark, come back. We do need your mind.

  62. Jason Scott’s tone was as nasty as it ever is, needlessly turning friends into enemies.

    I assume Pilgrim’s actions are related to that underlying longstanding problem he has discussed at length before.

  63. Pingback ::

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  64. For people disappointed by the quality of the PDF eBook that’s been circulating around, I have created a beautiful PDF rendering of Dive into HTML5.

  65. Pingback ::

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  66. I do’t know. My son did exactly the same thing, deleted all his accounts and blogs online and few months later he died from suicide. I would be worried.

  67. Sometimes, a man has to simplify his life and reassess where he is spending the majority of his time. This may come as a shock to many of you, but there is a broader life out there than just “computer work”. I think Why the Lucky Stiff discovered that along with the fact that you can never really be “done” programming–you just tread water until an inevitable sea change which forces one to ask, “Why am I doing this? Is it really that important?”

    Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. Life is short.

  68. Pingback ::

    The Evil Blog » Blog Archive » 2 times 410, is that 820?

    […] sadness turned into grumpiness later today when I learned about Mark Pilgrim’s recent departure from the online world (on 4/10 to be exact – HTTP code 410, GONE).  I have all respect for him wanting to leave […]

  69. Note that he’s a “developer advocate” for Google so they pay him to do part or all of this, though I’m only assuming.

  70. I just finished reading the Fourth Realm Trilogy by John Twelve Hawks. Perhaps Mark has been inspired by other readers who have gone “off the grid” like the characters in the books?

    More likely, I am guessing he’s had enough of the internet and wishes to spend more time with his friends and family.

    Mark’s decision made me think about the hours we spend on sites like Facebook, and replying to emails. What if all that suddenly stopped? What if we went back to talking to people face to face? Spending time outside, or meeting up with other people? An interesting thought.

    Alas I didn’t get any further with it, and headed over to Flickr and Facebook to feed my addiction.

  71. This is admittedly a pursuit of pedantic historical curiosity, but I have put up a mirror of Dive Into Accessibility at It’s mainly an effort to keep alive a great piece of writing.

    Even though it was written in 2002, it remains educational and 90% applicable to today’s web world.

  72. Thanks for posting this (and the updates, too). I encountered the 410 this morning and was quite shocked. The 410 message is a lot more dramatic than the usual 404. I hope Mark is otherwise well and that he knows how much his work has helped the community.

  73. Pingback ::

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  74. It’s one thing to go dark on the net but one should at least have the decency to hand over any important material one has placed on the net to someone else for stewardship so as not to force other people to scrabble to find a copy.

    Or in other words, get your shit in order before you kite off.

  75. Pingback ::

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  76. A few years back, I published a survey that examined Mark’s work alongside Eric Meyer’s, and others. We will all miss his wise guidance and unique writing style.

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  79. I agree with that A.Jorgensen. The web is very dynamic in many ways :)

  80. If he’s annoyed that his friends called the police to make sure he’s OK, well, he could have easily preempted it by leaving a notice like “I’m fine, but closing down my internet presence” instead of vanishing without a trace.

    Nobody denies Mark’s right to close up shop, but there are ways to do it without being a jerk.

  81. A mirror of Dive Into Python is now available including the downloads.

  82. @Adam Jorgensen: perhaps, for one interested in preservation, archiving and permanence, field-testing how well this stuff survives a sudden cut-off is part of the experiment. Or perhaps his net legacy is the least of his concerns right now.

  83. Pingback ::

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  84. Forget the importance of the archives; I would be worried about the mental health of anyone who did something like this. Not because it’s a crazy thing to do, but because removing all of the things on which you have publically placed importance in your life, from public view, signifies a rejection of one’s own sense of self-worth. As if everything you’ve ever decided, might be wrong. And that is a scary, judgement-distorting place to be.

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  87. I have mirrored some of his sites, just changing .org to .net. These resources are too valuable to loose, and it’s easy to remember since the domains are so close. They are,, and

  88. Pingback ::

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  89. Re: The Wayback Machine

    The Wayback Machine is useless if the current copy of robots.txt is removed from the web. They have it all archived but they refer to the present copy of robots.txt to insure they can display it. I don’t know what happens if the website doesn’t respond at all. It’s frustrating. Maybe they revert to an older copy of robots.txt once the site is declared dead after so many retries??? Too bad.

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  91. Two things.

    (1) I hope Mark Pilgrim has found peace of mind. Seems he needed it.

    (2) For what it’s worth, I came across an old (2002) version of Dive into Python. It’s quite different from the latest release.

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  94. He didn’t take everything down. He kept his Flickr account. Maybe he forgot about it or he has plans for it.

  95. Yeah, I remember when he quit back in 2004. Same kind of thing, just gone one day. I remember when he was saying a few years ago how he had this idea where he was going to use his audience in some big idea he was planning, or was going to write fiction or something? Guess this was it.
    Live long and prosper, Hugh!

  96. Similarly to Mark Pilgrim, it looks like the fantastic CSS demos and book reviews by the Literary Moose have also gone the way of the 404. Can anyone find out if he’s OK? Last I heard he was working at Opera Software in Norway.

    His official website was at but that’s dead. All I can find in a quick internet search is posts from around 2003 mentioning him on other sites.

    Oddly enough, someone has used his name to start a blog in May 2011, though I don’t think this is him: The Musings of a Literary Moose

    Calling all sleuths..!

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  98. Hope someone has salvaged his dystopian gem The Future of Reading.

  99. Pingback ::

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  102. And another old time programmer wanting to pick up Python quickly stumbles across the legacy. I grok his writing style. I’m picking it up fast. So sad my email ( thanking him bounced back… hard and fast. Trying to get the message through, I followed the trail to the end. Funny how without knowing, my email mentioned Exits, in a pure sense; the beginnings. (sigh) Well, at least I can stop trying… Thanks ‘Mark’, wherever you are…

  103. Meanwhile, here in The Western World, lack of closure bothers us so much, we mark graves and tombs with the Who, What, Where, When and sometimes How.

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