An Interesting Usability Bug

For those of you who came here this morning and found a blog post referring to a picture that doesn’t exist, here’s an explanation. This website is based on the WordPress platform, which I generally recommend. It’s easy to work with and allows both static pages and blog (or blog-type) sub-pages. Like all software, it has some quirks. One of those quirks it that it automatically logs me out from my admin role every two weeks or so. I haven’t timed it but it seems to be slightly more than exactly two weeks…perhaps it’s 350 hours rather 332. In any case, it’s not worth complaining about. Every so often I sit down to do something in WordPress and I have to log in again.

The usability bug is that when WordPress reaches that moment when it logs me out, it gives no warning. One minute everything is fine, and the next I can’t save or do anything without getting a “page not found” error. I get that particular error because I’m trying to access behind-the-scenes pages while not logged in as an admin. Once in a long while – maybe once per year, this will occur while I’m writing a blog post, as happened on Sunday with today’s blog post. I should probably delete the post and start over when that happens because it scrambles the post a bit. In this case, it unlinked the image (which was still in the storage for the site) from the page.

So, my apologies for the confusion today. As is true with most errors of this type, a simple non-automated work-around – in this case, me manually checking that the blog post had appeared properly – would have prevented the mechanical error from becoming an issue. It’s never the machine’s fault even when, as is true here, the machine did something other than what I told it to do. It has no agency, and I do. And the main post for today has been fixed.

Scroll to Top