Is randomness useful?

Yesterday I thought I’d explore the web to see if I could find a random blog post generator. Why? Because I was interested to see (a) if such things existed and (b), if so, what they were like. Could you, for example look at a randomly generated post and not know that it was created in that way?

Well there’s good news and there’s other news (which I’m not sure is good or bad). The good news is that there are indeed random blog post generators. The other news is that some appear to have been written by schoolboys who are at that age where the peppering of one’s speech with expletives or references to sex or sexuality is thought to be so hilarious as to be positively dangerous to anyone suffering from brittle bone disease.

Also, it is at once clear on reading the posts generated that they are either randomly generated or written by someone with an extremely poor vocabulary and little grasp of the English language.

There were one or two useful websites, such as random idea generators for creative writing exercises (though most of these were unimaginative), but on the whole I would say that the usefulness of the websites found declined the more I searched. This can be expressed in the following graph:

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Needless to say, given the nature of the enquiry task I set myself, this graph was randomly generated and has no basis whatsoever in real data. But I think you’d agree that its inclusion, at least at first glance, lends this post an air of authority it might otherwise lack. To create it, I used the Fake Graph Generator.

Other interesting random generators, of various shades of quality and usefulness, may be found at The Generator Blog, which also features the best creative writing idea generator I came across, the Creativity Portal.

I’d be interested in hearing about any good random generators you’ve come across, and why you like them.

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