Kicks Condor

LEECHING AND LINKING IN THE HYPERTEXT KINGDOM

I FIRST DISCOVERED
THE 【TECHS-MECHS】WHO
ARE A CLAN OF SOUTH
OF THE BORDER GUNDAM
BREAKING DOWN
IMMIGRATION FENCES
WITH THEIR
IMPRESSIVE MANOS
MECANICAS

PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

Indieweb.xyz: Difficult or Silo?

A rundown of improvements—and the general mood—one month since opening Indieweb.xyz.

Ok, Indieweb.xyz has been open for a month! The point of the site is to give you a place to syndicate your essays and conversations where they’ll actually be seen.

In a way, it’s a silo—a central info container. Silos make it easy. You go there and dump stuff in. But, here in the Indieweb, we want No Central. We want Decentral. Which is more difficult because all these little sites and blogs out there have to work together—that’s tough!

Ok so, going to back to how this works: Brad Enslen and I have been posting our thoughts about how to innovate blog directories, search and webrings to the /en/linking sub on Indieweb.xyz. If you want to join the conversation, just send your posts there by including a link like this in your post:

<p><em>This was also posted to <a href="https://indieweb.xyz/en/linking"
  class="u-syndication">/en/linking</a>.</em></p>

If your blog supports Webmentions, then Indieweb.xyz should be notified of the post when you publish it. But even if your blog doesn’t support Webmentions, you can just submit your link by hand.

How Indie Do I Need to Be?

One of my big projects lately has been to make it very easy for you all out there to participate. You no longer need a ton of what they call ‘microformats’ everywhere on your blog.

You literally just need to:

  1. Include the link above in your blog post. (You don’t even need the class="u-syndication" part, but I would still recommend it. If you have multiple links to Indieweb.xyz in your post, the one marked u-syndication will be preferred.)
  2. Send the Webmention.

It helps if you have the microformats—this makes it easy to figure out who the author of the post is and so on. But Indieweb.xyz will now fallback to using HTML title tags (and RSS feed even) to figure out who is posting and what they are posting.

The Blog Directory

A feature I’m incredibly excited about is the blog directory, which lists all the blogs that post to Indieweb.xyz—and which also gives you a few hundred characters to describe your blog! (It uses the description meta tag from your blog’s home page.)

I think of Indieweb.xyz as an experiment in building a decentralized forum in which everyone contributes their bits. And Indieweb.xyz merges them together. It’s decentralized because you can easily switch all your Indieweb.xyz links to another site, send your Webmentions—and now THAT site will merge you into their community.

In a way, I’m starting to see it as a wiki where each person’s changes happen on their own blog. This blog directory is like a wiki page where everyone gets their little section to control. I’m going to expand this idea bit-by-bit over the next few months.

Just to clarify: the directory is updated whenever you send a Webmention, so if you change your blog description, resend one of your Webmentions to update it.

Bad Behavior and the Robot Police

We are a long way off from solving abuse on our websites. We desperately want technology to solve this. But it is a human problem. I am starting to believe that the more we solve a problem with technology, the more human problems we create. (This has been generally true of pollution, human rights, ecology, quality of life, almost every human problem. There are, of course, fortuitous exceptions to this.)

Decentralization is somewhat fortuitous. Smaller, isolated communities are less of a target. The World Trade Tower is a large, appealing target. But Sandy Hook still happens. A smaller community can survive longer, but it will still degenerate—small communities often become hostile to outsiders (a.k.a newcomers).

So while a given Mastodon instance’s code of conduct provides a human solution—sudden, effortless removal of a terrorist—there will be false positives. I have been kicked out, hellbanned, ignored in communities many times—this isn’t an appeal for self-pity, just a note that moderation powers are often misdirected. I moved on to other communities—but I earnestly wanted to participate in some of those communities that I couldn’t seem to penetrate.

So, yeah: rules will be coming together. It’s all we have. I’m impressed that the Hacker News community has held together for so long, but maybe it’s too much of a monoculture. HN’s guidelines seem to work.

Commenting

Last thing. A recent addition is a comment count on each submission. These comment counts are scraped from the blog post. It seems very “indieweb” to let the comments stay on the blog. The problem is that the microformats for comments are not widely supported and, well, they suck. It’s all just too complicated. You slightly change an HTML template and everything breaks.

Not to mention that I have no idea if the number is actually correct. Are these legit comments? Or is the number being spoofed?

I will also add that—if you submit a link to someone else’s blog, even if it’s an “indieweb” blog—the comment count will come from your blog. This is because the original entry might have been submitted by the author to a different sub. So your link contains the comments about that blog post for that sub.

Really tight microformat templates will need to become widespread for this to become really useful. In the meantime, it’s a curious little feature that I’m happy to spend a few characters on.

  1. In a way, it’s a silo—a central info container. Silos make it easy. You go there and dump stuff in. But, here in the Indieweb, we want No Central. We want Decentral. Which is more difficult because all these little sites and blogs out there have to work together—that’s tough!

  2. @simonwoods I’m guilty of a ton of navel-gazey, unchecked wankery of that type, even though I initially found that part of Indieweb pretty off-putting. (And the “blogosphere” that came before it.)

    It’s an unfortunate thing that we have to do so much meta-discussion to make progress. But I guess when I look around at all the decrying of social media and silo-stuffing (you know, writing posts for Reddit) going on out there, I start to wonder if maybe that energy is best put into shameful blogging about blogging. I don’t know why such an act is so much more shameful than blogging about skiing, recipes or rash prevention—but it truly, truly is.

    (Oh and @eli—thank you for making an attempt to crosspost to Indieweb.xyz. Never seen one from a micro.blog and you should be good now.)

  3. I think evangelizing the raw Indieweb might be over at this point. The term is at least five years old.

    Webmentions have not had the uptake that even pingbacks had in their time. I still think it’s possible for platforms to find some hype—like Micro.blog has seen a lot of adoption, or Aperture might draw people in.

    But that’s okay. I think what you and I are doing will go like this:

    1. We hunt for homegrown blogs, sites, wikis and such just as we are right now.
    2. We build directories, webrings and syndication services that map out this world.
    3. The thing becomes a self-sustaining flotilla of: a) Talking, pitching in with each other’s projects. b) Experimenting with the format—I like to think that we’re developing an alternate timeline, as if blogs had replaced Friendster/Myspace rather than these other derivative networks. c) And customizing these directories and projects for subcommunities.

    This is all very unlikely. Somehow, I think saying it out loud
    makes it even more unlikely. But this is what I look forward to, personally.

    Difficulty: I think it is best if we have to do a little work to syndicate to xyz. I’ve thought about what if we could syndicate via RSS but that would spam xyz out. It does not need all my drivel, only my better (or longer) posts. And if you incorporated RSS then the real spammers would take over sooner or later.

    Maybe someone can talk me out of this viewpoint: I think needing to have your own domain name will be a big hit against spammers. Basically, I’d rather take the Gmail approach to spam prevention than the Facebook/Reddit approach to upvoting and algorithms. Clickbait is a hell of a lot scarier to me than spam.

    So spam prevention would involve:

    1. Limiting the number of webmentions that can come from a domain.
    2. The ability to blacklist at the domain or subdomain level. (And keeping a master list, perhaps overlapping with other blogspam lists out there.)
    3. Some subs will have moderation.
    4. Since we scan the source page for the Indieweb.xyz link, we can do other analysis at that time to detect spam.

    All that said, Indieweb.xyz doesn’t excite me nearly as much as the directories that we’re working on. Those are invulnerable to spam. They can also be laid out and edited to the nines. And I think you’d only need a handful of directories to make an impact.

    As always—really enjoy this ongoing discussion!

  4. Okay. So I think I’ve sorted this out: in that long post that kept reposting, I had a link to several micro.blog posts (including one of yours). That one post was showing up as like three replies in the timeline.

    For my own reference (and others that I may point here), I did this to solve it:

    1. I don’t send Webmentions to any micro.blog links that are in the main text of my posts.
    2. I don’t include micro.blog replies in my blog’s feed. They will only show up as duplicates, since they are already sent as Webmentions.
    3. There is no need to attach an @-style username to the main text, since these are automatically added by the Webmention.
  5. My question Kicks is what do I share there? All my long form posts? Posts associated with a particular topic?

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

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