I answered a question on the Graphene Neo Mobile theme about WordPress plugins, which then made me think about math, which then made me do math.

Here’s the silly thing: I tweeted about it, forgetting that the forum is a private one. So it’s not very useful.

But here’s the original query:

Does anyone know of any plugin”s that don’t work with the Graphene mobile theme? Just trying to think of a way to save a little bit of time. 2 of my sites run fine with the mobile theme, but i have one that won’t work and I’m guessing it’s a plugin issue.

My response was:

This question is really impossible to answer. There are thousands of plugins available, and while two plugins may work well when used independently, they may have conflicts when used together.

I then told him how to diagnose a plugin conflict, but that got me thinking about the possible combinations:

Your question made me think about math for a moment.

Right now, there are 37,681 plugins available from the official WordPress plugin repository. (This does not include custom plugins or commercial plugins.)

If you installed just 10 plugins (which is a reasonable number), the total number of combinations possible would be

    \[\frac{(37,681!)}{(37,681-10)!(10!)}\]

. Doing the math, that gives us 1.58 x 10^39 possible combinations. That’s 158 followed by 37 zeroes!

For the record, that’s 1,580,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible plugin combinations, and that’s based just on installing 10 plugins.

Yup, it gets complicated quickly.

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