I think I need to clarify, and since "A picture is worth a thousand words"...
Here is a snapshot of one of my Sub-Sections on my Section landing page...
As mentioned in my OP, on the left hand side, is a "Featured Article" with Heading, Summary and Thumbnail, and on the right hand side are 4 "Featured Article Links".
When I was talking about "randomization", I was simply talking about rotating which Article appears as a "Featured Article" from the universe of the 5 Articles listed in said Sub-Section.
Because things aren't done yet, you can't yet see that in the lower right-hand corner will be a link that says "<< View all MARKET articles >>"
So, while the "Markets" sub-section may contain hundreds of Articles, the "Sub-Section box" on the "Section landing page" will only ever contain 5 Articles that I decide to be there. (Likely, just the "most recent" or possibly "most important/liked") And I would not expect those to change more than once a week for now.
Why "randomize" the order?
Because while the same 5 Articles will always be there - for a given period of time - it is my thought that users are more likely to choose the Article with the Heading/Summary/Thumbnail (i.e. Featured Article) over just the boring "Article Hyperlinks".
Also, all other things being equal, something as simple as placement can make a difference in what gets chosen.
Statistically speaking - in the thumbnail above - users would choose "Billionaire Paulson Loses More Than $300 Million as Gold Falls" (Top Link) and "Brazil Seeks Higher Power-Auction Rate to Spur Use of Coal" (Bottom Link) over ones in the middle of the pack.
So by rotating the order, I kind of prod people to check out all 5 Articles if they come back to the page another time.
To your points above, SURE, if you come back to the Section landing page in a month, you probably will NOT see any of the same Articles, but that would be true for any online newspaper or magazine, right?!
Hope that clarifies my thinking and intent?
P.S. I am using "Pretty URLs", and so regardless of whether I rotate Article order in my Sub-Sections, or whether an Article doen't "make the cut", and ends up on the Sub-Section landing page - which is another layer deep - all Articles would always retain the following format...
...so that should make everything on my website Bookmark-able and Stable, right??