An experiment in time travel

Two decades ago we lived half a continent away. It seems like another world. The question we are exploring here is, can blog software go back? [The answer is in the next pane. Click the article title if you cannot see it… ]

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Kingston Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Red River around Kingston Cr. in Winnipeg, Manitoba

For most of the 1980s this was our world. Then, in 1990 we left the banks of the Red River for an island in the Salish Sea.

For another project now under consideration, we are wondering about a new blog that records the history of a local institution.

So, I wrote to the folks at WordPress.com to ask, “We envision posts that record what happened during the 20-year history. The concept is that these articles would be written in the present tense, and posted on the relevant date when the story and images were current.

“This means that the blog would have entries posted as early as 1988 – which predates the World Wide Web, and even the public use of the Internet.

“So, a couple of questions:

1. Would the wordpress.com software allow/support this range of dates?
2. Would the search engines respond to the pings, crawl, and make searchable those posts with those strange dates.

“Yes, the plan is that the blog will continue into the future. At the same time it would have this wonderful and colourful legacy of articles about the people and events.”

mark Key Master wrote back:

September 1st, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Your dates should be good.

Dates before Jan 1, 1970 give problems. Editing the timestamp to dates after that should be okay.

So, this post is being written on 2007 September 4, but will be posted on 1988 September 4. And we will observe what happens. Will the dates make sense? How will it show up in the blog? Will Google and the other search engines find this entry?

If we create a legacy blog, how long will that online record be available. I think that is an interesting question, and I wrote about that issue here.

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4 Responses to “An experiment in time travel”


  1. 1 Robert September 4, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    If you are reading this because you are considering creating similar legacy blog articles, you can see that it seems to work. The link to the comment from Key Master will show that wordpress.com seem to support this.

    We did have a small problem. This article was created using ecto, but when I posted, the article vanished in the ecto list locally on my computer.

    Adriaan, the author of ecto explained why and provided the remedy. He wrote, ‘Go to Preferences and make sure that under “Recent Entries” you have set “Store copies of published entries locally”. Now, you may need to change the “Number of recent entries to retrieve” to a number large enough so that old entries are included. Your post just isn’t in the list returned by WordPress as ecto asks only for the 20 most recent ones.’

  2. 2 Robert November 4, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Now, 2007 November 4, I checked and Google does not seem to know about this post. I guess that it is not interested in a 1988 article, even if it was created in 2007.

    I suspect that the trick would be first to write the legacy articles, and then have a modern post that provides new links to those articles that Googlebot would follow.

  3. 3 Robert February 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    The subject of a legacy blog is currently being discussed. I’ve found that Google does know about this post, and the contents are searchable. I also know that Google rates current postings very highly, and the ranking seems to fade with time. So, I suspect that the ranking of posts with long-ago dates would suffer from not appearing to be new. Probably that is not important because the unique features of the stories would still become searchable. The other point would be to include current developments at the blog so there would be new and fresh stories — which would ensure that googlebot was a frequent visitor. Also, have friends of the project write web pages or blog articles at other sites, and include links to the legacy stories of interest. Googlebot would eagerly follow those links.


  1. 1 My first legacy blog – Halley’s Comet | Salish Sea Trackback on February 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm

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