I had a sort of hardcore testing running over the weekend, there was a bogus bugreport that made me uploading more than 80 thousand images to my blog in #13443. Now my Blog has way too many useless images, some thousand of them even unattached. I’d like to get rid of them all asap now. If you wonder how that turned out:
But it is not that easy. Even so the WordPress Backend has bulk actions (like delete multiple media files or classify a bunch of comments as spam), this bulk editing has some design flaws. I first run over those problems with mass-comment-editing in #11114 in November 2009. That time it was for comments. The main problem is, that the bulk HTML-Form is using the GET Method that creates too long URIs. Well, too long is relative because there is no limit in length as stated in RFC 2616 / 5.1.2, so HTTP does not limit the size of an URI to a certain number of Bytes. This normally is not supported by Servers, so the advice here is to choose the form submit method wisely.
So it is no wonder that on WP.com deleting a larger amount of media files turns out errors. Depending on the amount of files to delete you can encounter a varying number of error message. From reset connections, to a 414 Request-URI Too Large and I even got a 408 – website overloaded. It finally went with a number of 225 Media Items w/o Errors.
So which lesson to learn here? Use the right form method if you do not want to annoy your users. And in case you do not know the 408 error on wordpress.com, here is a quote:
We just got a “408 error” which means the website is overloaded.
We are working to fix this as soon as possible, please check back in a few minutes.