The blog-driven time machine

The blogosphere is one massive creative content continuum. Most of us only live on the front edge of the ever-expanding wave, but there’s a wealth of diversity hidden below, accessible by a single magic word:

That word is ‘?random’.

A wordcloud with focus on 'random blog posts'When I’ve been visiting other blogs lately, I’ve been following up on my visit to the most recent post with another one, using ‘?random’. This works on any WordPress site to take you to a random blog post on that site. All you have to do is put ?random after the domain name, like this:

Many blogs have old posts that are still relevant and interesting long past their publication date. But these posts get buried; only the most recent ones generally see the light of day. Some blogs focus on certain themes; and some of those are timeless. Examples (all gleaned from ?random visits) are:

Another way in which browsing sites with ?random may be helpful is that it might generate ideas for new blog posts. For instance, this post on ghrelin was the result of a ?random visit to Rachel’s blog. (Of course it’s always a good idea to link back to the post that sparked your imagination; leaving a pingback can serve as a thank-you.)

I’ve been following my own advice — about blog maintenance — and have been able to help other bloggers fix some problems like dead links, missing videos and broken images (and I get a warm fuzzy feeling from doing that).

So if you’ve been wondering why it is that I’ve been ‘liking’ and commenting on ancient posts of yours, this is why :)

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, Computers and Internet, Education, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to The blog-driven time machine

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    This is great to know, thanks for sharing :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Coeur d'un Poète says:

    Good to know, and thank you for pointing out things on my own blog that weren’t working! Really appreciate it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rachel M says:

    Ah! Very clever :)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I never knew about random.
    Do youknow a way you can look at your media files, and view how many posts they appear in? Some files seem to be in my media folder twice, yet I’m pretty sure I’ve only used them once. Thx.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Don’t know about media files. Maybe try WordPress support?

      Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      A follow-up on your media files question: I’ve just asked a WordPress Happiness Engineer about this, and the answer appears to be, “no, there isn’t (currently) a way to identify which posts a media file appears in”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That falls a bit short really doesn’t it?
        If you imagine the database at the heart of WordPress, you should be able to query where/how many times an image is used, do bulk updates, etc.
        The other thing I discovered, if tou wish to change a featured image on a post, you have to do so via the UI. Enter into the post, choose a new image etc.
        Did you kotice when you repost something, it copies that post;s images into your library. rather than just linking to them? Eating up a little more of your disk space…

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          Agreed, computer systems all too often fall short of delivering the promise of “this will make your life easier”. Especially when there’s a vested interest involved (as in; WordPress gets to pressure you to ‘upgrade’ so you have ‘more space’ if you exceed your allotted maximum — and so they have zero incentive to make it easier for you to manage that space).

          As for the repost issue; I got into the habit, long ago, of checking the media files imported when I reblog, and deleting the unnecessary ones.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Bryntin says:

    And also worth pointing out that actually making a ‘Random Post’ menu button available alongside your categories (using the ‘?random’ after the blog URL as a ‘Custom Link’ menu item) may be another idea. That I recently borrowed from you Mr P, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What fun! Tried it on my own site and brought up a Picture Parade that was six years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Another new thing I was unaware of I may have to try this. Plus check out those you have mentioned in this post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I didn’t know you could do this Colin.. Thank you and feel quite honoured that you included my site address among others on your post… I clicked it and it brought up a post on Earth’s feminine Energies… :-) So thank you.. I may use the feature in future… as while reading this post again it showed me just how Nature is converging in this cycle we are experiencing.

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. Forestwood says:

    Well there you go. I have learnt something. Totally agree on the value of some of our old posts. Some of them might be rubbish, but a blog post only has a fairly transient half life before he get buried in the wordpress archives. Not many new followers find those old ones unless they have extended time on their hands. In a way, blog posts live in the present moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. I had no idea about the ?random thing!! wow.

    Liked by 1 person

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  17. A phrilliant idea ideed!
    Donkey-you a ton!😃😃

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A herculean task indeed but worth the try benefitting those all who are interested

    Liked by 1 person

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