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I have a super weird Wordpress issue, there is a history of duplicated posts/pages in the database and they even show up in the Wordpress admin backend.

here are the facts:

  • on some days, seemingly arbitrarily there are hundreds of pages created that are ~almost~ exact copies of an earlier post
  • the posts that are chosen to be duplicated are seemingly chosen at random
  • the duplicated pages only differ from the cloned page by the ID, the post_date, the post_content, the post_author, post_name, and the post_modified date
  • the guid of the posts all contain the ID of the original post
  • the post_name is in the form of a "{original_slug}-{nonce}" (and the nonce is incremented based on how many clones of the original post there were before the current clone, + 1)
  • the status of all the cloned posts is set to 'publish'
  • this is happening on prod
  • the author of all the cloned pages is always 0
  • the ID of all of the posts is seemingly incremented by a number. this number corresponds to the length of some sort of abstract, invisible 'queue'. For example, if on january 1st there was a duplication event, and 3 posts got duplicated, then each of those posts would be added to the 'invisible queue' and ran through many many times and each time the 'queue' was looped through, each page would be duplicated. so if there are three pages/posts, let's call them A, B, and C. then the 'queue would look like
{
   A,
   B, 
   C
}

A's IDs would then look like 1, 4, 7, 10 B's IDs would then look like 2, 5, 8, 11 C's IDs would look like 3, 6, 9, 12

Has anyone ever seen anything like this or have any ideas on where I can look next? I have been stuck on this issue for so long and can't seem to figure out why this is happening

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  • I think this is hard, if not impossible, to diagnose without access to your codebase. You could try deactivating plugins but as this is a production site maybe you can't do that. Can you replicate the issue on a development environment?
    – vancoder
    Jan 14 at 22:32
  • i haven't been able to replicate it in a dev environment.
    – Conrad
    Jan 14 at 23:26
  • my current strategy is to try to nail down how it's possible that the author of a page can be zero, from what i've read, that's not supposed to happen. looking in the wp_users table the lowest author id is 1 (the wpengine itself) so my gut tells me this is going to give me some useful info
    – Conrad
    Jan 14 at 23:28
  • Can you list your plugins here? Append them to your question by editing it. Jan 15 at 17:58

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