Today enroute to Lubbock for our first “Celebrate Texas Voices” digital storytelling workshop offered by Storychasers, I helped Don Wilson fix a strange error he’d been having on his WordPress blog. After making a new post several weeks ago, the sidebar on his Twenty Ten WordPress theme started showing up at the bottom of the page instead of the top. It turns out, finding a solution to this mystery depended on Google search word choice. A search for “Twenty Ten wordpress theme sidebar bottom” yielded a post on the forum from February 2010 which provided the answer. The problem was an “open tag” which had been inserted into a post, possibly when embed code was used from another website. It’s possible to make WordPress identify open tags and close them appropriately, but that feature is not enabled by default.

To do this when logged into your WordPress dashboard with an administrator account, choose SETTINGS – WRITING. Then check the option for, “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically.”

Autocorrect open tags in WordPress

After saving that setting, open the offending post (the post which you suspect has an open tag and is causing this problem) and make a minor change to it. In our case today, we inserted a space at the end of the post. Then click update. WordPress should automatically fix the open tag problem, and this should resolve the strange misbehaving sidebar issue.

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