An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Avoid "Next Blog" Fixation

We see occasional reports in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about the "Next Blog" link in the navbar, and undesirable behaviour.

Long ago, "Next Blog" was used to link to the most recently published blogs, to encourage blog publishing, using the now dead "Recently Updated Blogs" database. Since multiple Blogger blogs are published each second, this gave a pseudo random effect to "Next Blog".

Blog owners disliked the pseudo random effect. Some wanted to view blogs only published in their language, others wanted blogs geographically similar - and some demanded relevant subjects.

The pseudo random effect was abused by spammers, who would setup spam blog farms, then publish each spam blog repeatedly, to attract victims. "Next Blog" hacking was a popular spammer technique.

In an effort to reduce the spam - and to make the "Next Blog" link relevant by geography, language, and subject, Blogger developed "Next Blog" relevance.

When you hit "Next Blog" now, a Blogger script analyses the blog which you are currently viewing - and attempts to identify similar blogs. The script then randomly picks a blog from the "similar" collection, for viewing.

The "similar" collection has to be fuzzy - and requires compromise. All blogs will not necessarily have large collections of other blogs similar in geographical location, in language, and in subject matter simultaneously. In some cases, a "Next Blog" viewer may be forced to view a blog which is irrelevant in geography, language, and / or subject.

In extreme cases, a "Next Blog" viewer may end up viewing a very limited group of blogs. Repeatedly hitting "Next Blog" may display one or more blogs repeatedly. With a small enough collection of similar blogs, "Next Blog" may appear fixated, and display the same set of similar blogs, repeatedly.

To avoid "Next Blog" fixation, a viewer may need to start from a different blog before hitting "Next Blog", and after clearing cache, cookies, and sessions, and restarting the browser. This will reset the "Next Blog" relevance database for the user - and provide a new, and hopefully more diverse, set of similar blogs for viewing.

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