Seems that keeping 3000 posts and 10,000 images updated takes about half a blog lifetime.
I moved from Movable Type to WordPress in 2009, and ditched ecto, the old blogging app, about the same time. Over the years, I wrote SQL queries, grepped the hell out of the database, redesigned the whole website (while keeping the same black and white aesthetic), recoded stuff, wrote some hella shonky redirections, and slowly went through all the posts turning images into galleries and using WordPress’ Featured Image, and then gave up on it all a couple of years ago before getting weirdly ‘inspired’ this weekend and doing 1000+ posts over the course of 2 days.
My database queries tell me all the galleries are now correct, and all the single images also. A stupid amount of work I hope I never have to do again, because I know my singular, obsessive focus will do it. Legit, my wrist is going ”WTF, Frances, WTfuckingF.” and if I keep blogging like this, eventually maintenance will take longer than there is days in a year.
When I’m using WordPress’ Status Post Format, I like to keep it to 140 characters, so it’s like a Tweet. But how many characters have I typed? Cos The Visual Editor only shows Word Count. So I took a look around and saw various ways of doing it, quite a few using regex to strip ‘unwanted characters’—but a space counts as a character! So I wrote my own, based loosely on what I’d been using for counting characters in the Excerpt, and from a few different plugins and bits of code. Turned out to be surprisingly easy and uncomplicated (I say that now, of course).
So, first I need a function to call a couple of files if I happen to be editing a Post or Page:
It’s a little bodgy, and if I had more than the 45 minutes to a) work out how the Visual Editor can be fiddled with, and b) write something that worked and looked ok—the bare minimum really—I’d do it slightly nice and maybe consider for a minute throwing it into a plugin (where it officially belongs). But I won’t. It does what I want: live updating of how many characters I’ve written in the Visual Editor, and shows it in a line underneath the Word Count (also aided me in delaying writing a residency application on the day it’s due).
“Yeah, I know Frances, it’s awfully ‘precise’ of me. Can we just leave aside that conversation for now and enjoy some shit?” “Ok, Other Frances, we can, but I’m not sure what everyone else will think of you…” “I’m just gonna leave that ellipsis hanging.” “As you like. Your decision.”
On and off for months/years, I’ve been porting the first I dunno how many years of supernaut properly into WordPress. When I gave Moveable Type the boot—and later ecto, opting to work directly in WordPress rather than with a haha ‘blogging client’ (remember when blog software was so crap you needed a blogging client rather than suffer the web browser?) I had all those years of images to deal with, assimilating them, attaching them to post, blahwork. Weeks of blaaahwork. Done. Fucking finished right now. 6312 images are all unified and fuck me if I ever have to change to another blogging platform it’s gonna be a piece of piss compared to this. Or I will throw my arms up and walk the fuck out of the internet for ever.
This is archaeology. The remainder. The images that weren’t attached, had no home, were left to languish in the dim recesses of my server. Jacques Derrida would probably find these telling. Bin Lang girls from Taiwan, I think from an exhibition, or they might have been actual workers in Tainan or Taizhong. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, I think from when I was in Taipei and was told about what Gen was up to—also introduced to the novels of China Miéville. A page from a comic called Dragnet? I think one of those mid- late-’00s types when tranny was a word we could still throw around without the Queer Police putting a fucking * on the end. That “Jesus Loves You” one … fuck knows. Maybe from Emile? Fuck Gender might even be a photo I took at some Queer* event in Berlin. Or Vienna. Dunno. Thought it was cool at the time (maybe, fuck knows, no memory here), enough to photograph, though not enough to blog. Don’t think it’s cool anymore. Lambs. Baaaaaaah! Was from Christmas 2008, with the mob all in Berlin, around the time I photographed a Nativity Scene. This is definitely one of my photos.
Finally I can remove that shitful “sorry things are broken” apology at the bottom of supernaut.
I’ve been avoiding doing the cleaning of several years of posts, but somehow fell into it a couple of days ago, trying a few different approaches to get through the task until I found one that’s methodical, quick, and requires very little brain use. The problem is supernaut existed in a couple of different platforms before WordPress, and there remains (currently from August 2005 to December 2010) a lot of mess and pretty much all the images not properly linked. So I’m working through that, one month at a time, and while it’s certainly not exciting, I am getting to read back over ten years of blogging and my life.
Last week I set another website loose (Voices of Transition, for the documentary filmmaker, Nils Aguilar), which in part was being shunted off another domain, with some very messed up urls requiring quite a stack of redirection. I started using a plugin to deal with this, which then made me think about supernaut, and all its incarnations and thousands of posts, tags, hundreds of categories, tens of thousands of images, and what kind of mess almost ten years of blogging would leave.
Out of curiosity then, I installed the same plugin (in-between watching Person of Interest – which is another story) and turns out there are over 1000 404 Page not Found per day. A lot of these (around 3/4) are from Google’s Image Search trying to go directly from their site to the full-size image itself, bypassing the post the image lives in, which the server treats as hotlinking (due to the absence of a referrer) because of my anti-leeching rules. I’d love to be able to simply redirect those attempts to view the image to the actual post, but … prior to 2011 supernaut is a mess. Most of the remaining quarter are either weird errors trying to access images for the image viewer I need to deal with or spam searches looking for things that don’t exist (on the basis of “If image ‘n’ exists at path ‘p’, then ‘y’ is installed (plugin, theme, software, etc) that allows for hack ‘x’ to be tried). Which leaves real errors.
Which comprise wreckage from the days long ago when I used Movable Type instead of WordPress. Back in those days, all my images were in a folder called /images/ with subdirectories like 09dec for December, 2009. WordPress on the other hand has everything in /uploads/ with a year/month/ sub-directory structure, which I long ago imported all the images into (and which I am still very slowly dealing with). It also had a different url structure for posts, like post_name_truncated_somethi.html. Both of these are buried in search engine results, the former to quite a huge degree (about 5% of traffic is looking for those old images).
So I wrote (and am writing) a bunch of redirects – and a lot of regex. I could do this directly in .htaccess, but not knowing which urls are the problem, and having all of this logged by the plugin are both good reasons to do it directly in WordPress. It’s a bit messy and sometimes redirects for spam conflicted with genuine pages (like sub-pages of monthly archives), but probably useful for a while if people looking for something actually stand a good chance of finding it instead of “absence…”
I was just about to write on a few things I’m reading – Michel Serres, Black Metal Theory mostly – and suddenly felt an urge to clean up, merge, rename, delete some of the 1300 tags on supernaut, when I noticed something dead weird: some of the tags were simultaneously categories. Much messing around and the inability to edit or change taxonomies caused me to have a look at the database, where I found, horribly, they indeed existed as both. I guess this is either a hangover from the Movable Type port some years ago, or a plugin that didn’t do its job properly around the same time. So I manually deleting 50 or so of these and their relationships. And then did some more merging and renaming. And now I must eat.
Oh grep! I spent some of my spare time the last days grepping the crud out of supernaut’s database. Much excitement, of course. The result is that now all the image file paths point to the default WordPress uploads folder, organized by year and month, and also all images are in the Media Library. So my slow task of disentangling supernaut from its previous years in Ecto and Movable Type, and hooking it properly into WordPress (which should mean if I ever decide to swap to another platform will mean less pain) proceeds slowly.
I decided for the manual path for coping with all the rubbish html surrounding the images as the thought of properly grepping all that caused my eyes to water, so currently I’m working my way through June, 2004. Shall take months, I’m sure.