I cleaned up the WordPress SQL files in all 8 departments. As far as I can determine, everything is OK now. There was a bit of a learning curve involved, and learning is always good, and there’s never anything quite like an emergency to motivate you to learn fast.
There was a genuine upgrade conflict, but it only involved one department and was resolved by turning off the out-of-date plug-in.
The garbage data characters go back to June, possibly much earlier. I didn’t try to trace back to the point of origin, since I wouldn’t remember what specific event might have caused the text corruption.
I completely removed rss feed, as I discovered that huge volumes of comments were being written from other sites into my database files. I suppose reading them all would make them go away, but they’re redundant across 8 databases. If I want to read and subscribe to rss, I’ll use my browser or a dedicated application.
I deleted a number of registered user-subscribers who don’t seem to have been active since registering. If you have ever posted a comment on this site, you should be OK.
Maybe I’ll finally get to that commentary on the Scientific American article in the next day or two.
659 total views, 1 views today