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'Random' gallery image... not so random


zyx
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Just some quick feedback  - I have a site with many 1000's of images, and yet if I add the 'random' gallery feed sidebar block, it will pull from the same 20 or so images always (for all users, despite clearing cache etc). Settings are definitely correct to allow 'any' image regardless of rating/author. There would literally be tens of thousands of possibilities with this criteria, so it's too coincidental for every user to 'randomly' get the same tiny sample every time. And they then never change. (For example, one time you'll get one set of 10, the next time the other set of 10. then repeat).

Is this a known bug, or a setting I'm missing to ensure random truly is completely random from the entire available images?

Thanks.

Edited by theipsguy
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I'd suggest a ticket/bug too, if you are sure the criteria are correctly set.

Although unrelated: I was actually having a discussion (on anther site) about something similar a few days ago , generally computers are not *that* good at creating real random numbers, there's nearly always some pseudo randomness even if the seed is reset often but generally it should not really be easily detectable without some kind of detailed pattern search. I'll spare you my findings on this as its off topic and a bit boring too!

Back on topic, I had a thought if you're using some kind of external caching that *might* possibly (just) be causing it but that seems unlikely somehow. Ticket is the best option here I think as indicated above. 🙂

Edited by AndyF
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7 hours ago, bfarber said:

Are you accounting for block caching (widgets are cached for a period of time and so the same image would be shown to everyone while the block is cached)? This is not specific to the "random gallery image" block but really to any block.

This was well over a week of everyone getting the same set of images. I then took the block down as people were commenting that it's not very random if it's the same image constantly. 

There's no external caching being used, so is there a setting I'm missing that could cause such an extended amount of block caching, or does it indeed just seem like a bug?

Thanks to everyone for their help.

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  • 10 months later...

did this ever get fixed?  I seem to have the same outcome.  Seems random selects a time stamp as the initial image, then just presents the next 4x images ( I am set for 5x images) from that timestamp either ascending or descending.  Nothing really random from a user perspective.

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  • 1 year later...

Sadly still not fixed. @bfarber

It will initially seem to be working, as it will show 4-5 different groups of 'random' gallery items.  (So for the first 4 or 5 times of seeing the block, it works great).

But after about 4 or 5 times, it will simply cycle back to the original group of items it selected. 

So in a gallery of countless thousands of items, actually only about 20 items ever get shown. 

And no, I am certain it's not down to the filtering settings - in theory the block should be pulling from 3,000+ items based on the settings, but it's always the same 20 or so items it seems to 'randomly' select from. 

Have cleared cache etc and checked for obvious fixes, but this has been happening for years so we just stop using the block. Really dissapointing though.

Edited by theipsguy
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Unfortunately since probably only a relatively small percent of people use the random image block, I imagine this will be another thing that just gets forgotten. But for us, it would be a very big improvement if this was resolved. 

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We have to do a pseudo-random ordering for sites with large galleries, because MySQL's "ORDER BY RAND()" is extremely expensive from a performance angle. That said, it is possible we can improve our pseudo-random selections a bit - I'll take a look.

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:45 PM, bfarber said:

We have to do a pseudo-random ordering for sites with large galleries, because MySQL's "ORDER BY RAND()" is extremely expensive from a performance angle. That said, it is possible we can improve our pseudo-random selections a bit - I'll take a look.

Thank you very much!

Right now it really is just the same very small selection of choices over and over again. Doesn't need to be genuinely random, just some way to not constantly cycle through the exact same images. 

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5 hours ago, theipsguy said:

Thank you very much!

Right now it really is just the same very small selection of choices over and over again. Doesn't need to be genuinely random, just some way to not constantly cycle through the exact same images. 

I've been experimenting with some options that should help improve the behavior in an upcoming release. 👍

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/22/2021 at 12:32 PM, bfarber said:

I've been experimenting with some options that should help improve the behavior in an upcoming release. 👍

Awesome. I was just trying to figure out why my block that pulls a feed of randomized featured images from the gallery wasn't displaying random images, but the same ones over and over.  Hoping this fix will resolve that for us!

Edited by kotaco
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