Link death

The all-new Twenty Nineteen theme highlights what I’ve noticed across the very many blogs which I both happen to see while working and also while browsing the net of an evening. The new theme is a single column affair. No sidebar. No widgets. No links.

Funny how so many people want others to link to their own site but they won’t link out…

I used to look at snapshots of this site since 2004. At one point I was showing 12/42 randomised links at a time (I’ve yet to find a database backup from then but it’ll be on a CD somewhere) so I made a list of most of the domains I used to link to. Those unlinked either go nowhere, or to a very different owner, or to some spammy site. Those linked are good links.

Of all the above while clicking through only Raincoaster’s site jumped out as having a good list of links to other blogs (I’ll be reading those too).

So why aren’t people linking? Is it just the lack of a sidebar? Is it full width pages? Single Column themes? It’s not like the number of blogs is going down. Are link lists considered ugly? Are new ‘influencer bloggers’ not using them? Sidebars being used for twitter, insta and affiliate ads?

A quick skim of some older established blogs shows blogrolls, so why not new?
I am guilty of missing a blogroll too, something that I am rectifying.

And note all those http links in that list… and those lapsed and squatted domains.

DB size and images

The exported XML from here, when imported, creates a db 14.2mb.
When from this db I remove most of the junk it’s still 22.9mb
So somewhere there is 7.7mb of rows that are not needed. Not a big deal.

Images though. I ran the import to see what would happen with images stored outside of wp-content. Answer? They are not imported.
Images that are in public_html/pix, public_html/moreimages and elsewhere stay just where they are. I thought there was a plugin that fixed this – I have a vague memory of someone at work needing something similar but a hunt for such a plugin was fruitless.
I  could manually move the images and run a search/replace in the db but that’s for another day if I feel the need.

Cleaning the db

For reasons that don’t matter I had cause to look through the database for this site last night. I was quite surprised to see a couple of tables and a fair number of options still existing for plugins and themes I’ve used in the past.

This database has been in existence since January 2004. The site has ~4600 posts, ~11,000 comments and weighs in at a shade over 25mb.

I am perfectly aware that leaving these tables and options is completely okay. They are harmless. They are no burden, the space they take up is tiny and removing them will not speed anything up or reduce any server load. I do like ‘tidy’ though (online anyway. Offline is a different story) so I’ve decided to nuke them.

One option would be an xml export / import into a new db. I might do this. The benefit would be to centralise all the media uploads. For some reason I opted to move media uploads out of /wp-content at one point, and then I moved them back. It looks like I did this twice. So uploads are scattered. This might be the best way to both get everything back and also get just the tables I need. But it wouldn’t be as interesting as dropping tables and seeing if the site still works, would it?


I have only a few plugins in use:
– Akismet
– Duo 2-factor
– Gutenberg
– PHP Code widget
– Viper’s Video Quicktags Migrator
– WordPress Beta Tester

That’s it, so extra options should be minimal.

I certainly don’t recall a theme called ‘ghostwriter’.

It’s a shame that plugins do not delete all their settings when deactivated. But while I think that’s a better way of doing things experience suggests that many people like the fact that settings stay as they are.

And once I’ve done this I’ll see how to remove that annoying ‘1’ bubble next to Settings which is related to Privacy.

And image alignment in this post was super easy using Gutenberg.

Twentynineteen – infuriating

I just updated the site to WordPress 5.0 beta and installed the Twentynineteen theme. It’s been a while since I changed the theme here and it’s meant to work well with Gutenberg so why not.

I activated it, took a look at my site, swore a lot and went back to Penscratch. This version of Penscratch has been edited which is why I can’t be arsed to update it. Twentynineteen needs the same edit and as it’s not yet finalised I can’t be arsed to look through the code.

The problem?

This site has one user. Me. So why the FUCK is my name plastered against every fucking post? This has annoyed the crap out of me for years.
Could theme creators write code to stop this on single user sites? Yes, yes they could. But do they? Do they hell.

Could I hide it with CSS? Yes, but why should I have to take action for what a theme author should be offering by default?
Could I edit the final theme and remove it? Yes and I will, and I’ll post here to tell others how to do what a theme author should have done.
Could I post this as an issue to Github? Yes, but I can’t be arsed. This is not the first time I’ve been pissed off by this, I’ve expressed my views to theme creators before and I just cannot be bothered to do it again.

WordPress should be clearer (GDPR)

The 4.9.6 release includes new Privacy features. On the release post it says :

Data Erasure
Site owners can erase a user’s personal data, including data collected by participating plugins.

I really do think that this should have been spelled out a lot better. It’s not in the Codex that I could find.

Say very precisely what will happen.

I wanted to know and the only way to check was to try it.

I made a comment on my last post. This is what I saw in the site admin:

I then entered that email address into the Tools > Erase Personal Data page in site admin and I clicked the link

This shows

I click the button and go to Comments

So the result is that:
– the name is removed
– the url to their website is removed
– the email is removed
– the last octet of their IP is removed
– and the comment remains intact

WordPress really could have done a much better job and explained this to all it’s users.

(and don’t forget that as I get emails whenever a comment is left that will always have all the information now removed from the site. And if it’s in a search engine? Good luck with that..)

Relevant for all forums

The Virtues of Moderation

This Article provides a novel taxonomy of moderation in online communities. It breaks down the basic verbs of moderation—exclusion, pricing, organizing, and norm-setting—and shows how they help communities walk the tightrope between the chaos of too much freedom and the sterility of too much control. Scholars studying the commons can learn from moderation, and so can policy-makers debating the regulation of online communities.

WP going backwards

I can’t be bothered to do updates so I installed the Beta tester plugin a long time ago. Every night the blog updates to whatever the latest alpha/beta is. And overnight the blog reverted from 4.2-whatever to 4.1.1 which is annoying.

Google says I am a spammer

Reading this article on Google’s new CAPTCHA – and it’s associated privacy concerns and I see that very sadly it is now a required element to register at
Since it started it has set me as a spammer. How so? I just tried to register a new account at and I entered the captcha text perfectly. It should have said I was not a robot but instead it shows me this:

It’s been the same since last December and I wait to see what happens when BT cycle my IP address. I am 100% sure Google will still say I am a spammer.

I bought Desk earlier. Oops.

and I have just requested a refund through the MAS.
Blogo was also at 50% off but it has so many “Coming Soon” features and “Coming Soon” = vaporware.
Desk looks nice but hell it’s confusing to use and I swear at some point the copied text looked like I’d just pasted from Microsoft Word. 

I’ll be sticking with Marsedit.