The Bullshitters

It sounded too good to be true, and in the end, it was. It will all just work magically, WordPress said. I know web technologies and, provided they built their platform properly, it should’ve been do-able. I dared to hope that they had built it properly. In fact, the biggest up-front headache was whether the new name would be breaching copyright, just because it sounds like a Mr. Man, which will be a copyrighted character. But I deliberately spelled it differently, Mister rather than Mr, and I checked the copyright holder’s web site – sure enough, they prohibit the use of their images. So I made sure I used a graphic from a completely different source, which explicitly says that I have permission to use it on my blog.

I had my doubts about moving the site itself, but went for it anyway. How bad could it be?

In fact, I set the new name of the blog, no problem. All the aesthetic things. I’d also got myself a new domain name for the blog, and that bit was easy too. For new posts.

The problem came when I started looking at existing posts – there are 800 of them. My old web site was all over them. That doesn’t matter for now, because the old name still works, but longer term I was thinking of giving up this name, as time went by. It’s only, like, $10/year, but every little helps and it is one less thing I need to maintain.

The actual culprit was where one of my posts linked back to another one of my posts. That link was wired to use the old web site name. It only affected a minority of posts, about 100 of the 800. I decided that I would bite the bullet, and change the links myself.

So, how do you go about replacing one address with another? Well, if you are allowed to install a plugin, I believe it is possible, but my subscription does not allow me to install plugins. In fact, I would need to pay almost 7x more, go onto a business plan, if I wanted to use plugins.

I also read that I could export the blog, make the changes in bulk locally, then re-import the blog. The fear of losing every post flashed before my eyes. So, I decided to see what WordPress could offer me.

In fact, as far as I could tell, there is no user-friendly way of changing one piece of text into another, across the entire blog. Still, 100 is not too big a number, if I pace myself. So, I started looking at how I could change each individual post.

Now, I’ve heard lots of people complain about the Block Editor versus the Classic Editor, but mostly I put this down to people just liking what they are used to, and not wanting to change. But did you ever realise, in the Block Editor, you have no ability to search? And, by implication, to replace? I would have to look through every line, therefore, of these posts, to try and spot the changes required.

So, I fired up the old wp-admin console. I usually find this is not so slick, but way more heavy-duty. wp-admin very easily supplied a list of posts which contained my old address, and allowed me to open each post in the Classic Editor. Even this editor did not seem to contain a search/replace function, but it did at least show me the whole post’s raw HTML code, which I understand. So I was able to use my browser’s search within a page function to make the replacements. It was slow going, but it worked. After each page was fixed, I hit the Update button in the Classic Editor, and started on the next post.

This went well, until my eyes got so tired, I thought I’d save the rest for another day. Before I quit WordPress completely, I went back to the regular console. What did I see in my notifications? Fifty or Sixty notifications from my blog, saying that Post X had linked to Post Y. Clearly whenever I hit Update in the Classic Editor, it fired off all the notifications again.

Okay, I worked through these fifty or sixty spam notifications, but I also flew past some bona-fide notifications. So, if I missed your post or comment last night, I am sorry. Shit happens.

Overnight, I got to thinking, if WordPress spammed me with all those notifications, then it might have done exactly the same to other people, whose blogs I have linked to. In particular, my Song Lyric Sunday, every week, links to the host’s blog. So, they probably got those same 50-60 motifications dumped on them, too. That really isn’t on. I’m sorry, Jim, I will leave all my remaining posts as they are.


There’s a moral here.

  • It you want to change the name of your blog, go for it.
  • If you want to change the web address of you blog, go for it.
  • The new web address will only apply for new posts. Any of your old posts will still link to your old address, which means that
  • any time you (or anybody else) linked to one of your posts, that will link to your old address, too. Which leads me to conclude:
  • You are stuck to your old address, for the lifetime of the blog.
  • So, by all means, introduce a new address, but you still need to keep up the rental on the old address, and keep it set up in WordPress, if you want everybody’s links to continue to work.
  • So, you’ll need to keep paying the subscription for the old domain name. At least, technically, there is nothing more to do on top of whatever you already did on WordPress (except to switch the primary domain over).

written mostly to vent steam, but happy that it also satisfies Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), platform. And for his Three Word Challenge, ffs 🤣 (only joking).