Random Generators

I first built the Random Generators in 1997, starting with the Band Name Generator. I gradually added several others. Most of them are based on a technique of multiple passes of replacing keywords in phrases. They start with a template, then replace keywords with plain text or another keyword phrase. This goes on until only plain words are left.

A key component to this is the large database of classified words. I started with about 300 words originally, and coded an interface for people to add more. As of September 2006, the database had more than 40,000 words. Although there are some people who add garbage words, the majority of words are appropriate. In 2005, I added a system that tracks votes on words. This allows visitors to help with editing. Words with low vote counts are not used. Words with high counts are used more often.

52 replies on “Random Generators”

I used to use the generators for a ton of projects, primarily using the Essay and Song Lyrics generators to set up a page of text that I would then cut down and edit into five to six absurd lines. Luckily I was able to get a lot of this done before the total nonsense words flooded in.

Anyway, I published a book of “poems” that were actually lyrics for a 40 song 7″ that never materialized, titled Hirsute Corpse. Everything in the book is a fiercely edited from source material ENTIRELY culled from the Random Generators.

hello, this website is great, but i wish it would use more “normal” words – most of the words that are generated are awfully obscure………

Holy crap.
I just had “MILES DAVIS” come up in the random band name generator, how unlikely is THAT?!

Also, are you ever going to get around to fixing the generators vocabulary being taken over by obscure words, or is this not a priority?
(Not trying to be pushy)

The Flickr API stopped telling me about the license when I called interestingness.getList, so I switched the API call to use and now it’s working again. The photos are more random, which is probably for the best.

Wow, I love these generators, but I think the album generator is broken, I don’t get any image.

The high-brow words people are noticing are from an import I did from an out-of-copyright dictionary. The real problem, as I see it, is that all the words are of equal weight. I have an idea to fix this. I think I can get a list of words that are more commonly used and bump their weight. That will let the rare words pop up sometimes but make the sentences more common-sounding.

I don’t want to allow proper nouns any more. The word list became 50% names.

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