What are those hashtags at the end of paragraphs?

winerlinks example on rexblog

[I’ve added a version of this post to the OFQ (occasionally asked questions) page of this blog. ]

Recently, I added the “WinerLinks plugin” to the WordPress software I use to publish RexBlog. (Plugins are snippets of code that add additional features or utility to WordPress.) The WinerLinks plugin adds a hyperlinked symbol “#” (the pound sign or hashtag) to the end of every paragraph. (Note: Temporarily, you can’t see them on the front page version of a post, but they’ll be visible there also, soon. If you’re reading this on the front page, click on the headline of this post and this post will make lots more sense ).

If you click on any of these hyperlinked hashtags, your browser will reorient the display of the page, moving that paragraph to the top of the browser window. You’ll also notice, if you look up at the “location bar” that the page’s URL will be appended with something that looks like this: “#p6”. This new, appended URL is, in effect, a “permalink” for each paragraph and not just for the top of the post. It’s somewhat like the idom, “chapter and verse,” these paragraph permalinks provide a structure that isolates both chapter (post) and verse (paragraph). That way, if someone wants to point to a specific paragraph and say, “Rex makes no sense here,” they can link to the exact spot.

The plugin’s creator, Daniel Bachhuber, named the paragraph permanlink plugin “WinerLinks” after a gourmet sausage made in the Napa Valley (blame Terry Heaton on that one.) Actually, the name refers to my friend, Dave Winer, who has used paragraph permalink hashtags on his blog, Scripting News, since the late 1950s when the internet was operated on a platform of pnuematic tubes.