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.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

philosopher.life, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole.

ramblinggit, bumped into him, lots of crossover with this blog.

ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid.

whimsy.space v good zine by danielx.

caesar naples wiki social media website.

indieweb: .xyz, eli, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

dwm, julia, tridactyl these are things you'll want on linux.

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

innovation.isotropic.org probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.

06 Sep 2018

I’m so sorry for any extra comments or links that may be showing up on aggregators and micro.blog—my blog broke and I also changed the permalinks for everything. I have a system for keeping the old permalinks at their location (and had worked to prevent this) but ended up blowing it anyway!!

  1. No worries! Seeing a bunch of your content for a second time got me thinking about how much of online communication happens in the space of one or two transactional-loops. It has been interesting watching you and {h0p3} have a sort of multi-media hypertext exchange that is bigger than the average IndieWeb ping-pong.

  2. I was wondering that out of the blue Webmention was about. :-)
  3. Reply: IndieWeb Ping Pong

    Yeah, I think it is exciting—so much of the Web has been focused on messaging for the past decade, that it’s lost some of the overall feeling of hypertext in some ways. It feels like there is a lot of room to explore still.

    For instance, I’ve run into this problem (well, this ‘problem’) where I quote something that has relevant footnotes and annotations—and it’s fine, the quote survives—but I wish it could survive the transplant better. (This is similar to the problem of posts losing all their styling when they are syndicated in any fashion.)

    These discussions also are not just amorphous blobs—they have foci and intersections. Sometimes I wish there were Indieweb-like wiki pages that we could mutually edit in the spaces between the discussion. (And that anyone else could join on.)

    Your thing about transactional loops: I think that’s part of what I’m trying to solve right now by moving away from datestamped links to wiki URLs. I’m envious of h0p3’s ability to refer back to pages again and again—so major updates to old pages will now come back in the blog stream. I am moving away from mere recency, maybe that will help? Thankyou for the dispatch!

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29 Aug 2018

Reply: When the Social Silos Fall

Brad Enslen

With, first Twitter and later Facebook, suddenly you didn’t need Google to find stuff on the Web. Suddenly a little obscure website could become famous without or in spite of Google. If you really sit down and think about it, that is no small thing.

The silos did help mainstream users form communities. This is still useful—carriers of rare diseases can organize on Facebook, stuff like the ‘TomNod’ group that coordinates to scan satellite photos. On Twitter, humor and art (pixel art, for instance) communities formed that can be casually observed by other Twitter users—bolstering their exposure.

But even all this traffic has become a bad thing! For instance, there is no ‘surfing’ any more (in the mainstream). For the most part, traffic just shows up. You don’t have to look for blogs because Facebook and Twitter stuff you with whatever they please all day.

My relationship is a lot healthier with blogs that I visit when I please. This is another criticism I have with RSS as well—I don’t want my favorite music blog sending me updates every day, always in my face. I just want to go there when I am ready to listen to something new. (I also hope readers to my blog just stop by when they feel like obsessing over the Web with me.)

Google is a silo too. And I can tell you Google is part of what sucked all the fun out of Web 1.0. Facebook and Twitter were not even around. It was Google. And living under Google dominance is no fun.

This isn’t completely true—mailing lists and forums were a big source of real blog readers. Like Usenet before them. Google was a source of poor, transient traffic. In those days, you could share your writings/findings with fans of a certain band or movie director (if that was your topic) by posting on their forum, just as you would with Reddit. (And links were shared on forums and mailing lists.) However, now you can get algorithmed to death. Your link can get lost in the feed before anyone sees it.

I think the best thing the silos brought was simply the ability to be notified of a reply without needing to check your server logs.

But I appreciate your perspective, Brad. I wish I agreed more on this one! Maybe in time.

  1. RSS: I see your point and you are making me rethink how I “follow” other blogs, especially since my feed reader is getting overwhelmed. I may have to use my blogroll more to click through to the actual blog to actually poke around rather than helicoptering in on RSS. hmm.

    Google: search engines in general but Google in particular: they have warped the way we build websites, many websites used to have a splash or landing page first: “You have reached the Gates of Marlborodor” (complete with MIDI music) and a big Enter button. Search engines decided they didn’t like that so word spread to get rid of them. Rumors spread that large link pages (for surfing) might be considered “link farms” (and yes on SEO sites they were but these things eventually trickle down to little personal site webmasters too) so these started to be phased out. Then the worry was Blogrolls might be considered link farms so they slowly started to be phased out. Then the biggie: when Google deliberately filtered out all the free hosted sites from the SERP’s (they were not removed completely just sent back to page 10 or so of the Google SERP’s) and traffic to Tripod and Geocities plummeted. Why? Because they were taking up space in the first 20 organic returns knocking out corporate and commercial sites and the sites likely to become paying customers were complaining. Then ads. Google started telling sites that had sold their own ads long before Google was ever around that they had to nofollow those ads or risk a penalty. Of course Google is also by this time an ad network. So they are telling small single site competitors how they can display their ads or else. The whole ad thing runs deeper but I don’t have time to go through it. And the list goes on. Yes there were other SE’s in there but from 2001 Google was leader of the pack. And yes maybe getting rid of the Gates of Marlborodor was a good thing but if it was that webmaster’s choice to stick us with it so be it. Google isn’t moral or immoral it is amoral like most corporations. They look out for themselves, and to bad for you if you get in their way. Not everything they did was bad, some was good, but they are a silo. They have complete control over their own index and and the way you link and if you want in you obey. (Sorry if I’m not dispassionate about this, I’ve been PR0’ed by Google just for being on the wrong host. That’s another story but I know what being carpet bombed by them feels like, first hand.) 😉

    Forums: I still like them. I’m still a member of a couple. You can have an in depth nuanced conversation in a forum that you cannot have in social networks and is difficult in webmentions. I just wish they were not so darn hard to get established.

    All good points Kicks, we can’t agree all the time or we’d bore each other to death!

  2. Reply: Linkfarmville

    Brad Enslen

    Rumors spread that large link pages (for surfing) might be considered “link farms” (and yes on SEO sites they were but these things eventually trickle down to little personal site webmasters too) so these started to be phased out. Then the worry was Blogrolls might be considered link farms so they slowly started to be phased out. Then the biggie: when Google deliberately filtered out all the free hosted sites from the SERP’s (they were not removed completely just sent back to page 10 or so of the Google SERP’s) and traffic to Tripod and Geocities plummeted. Why? Because they were taking up space in the first 20 organic returns knocking out corporate and commercial sites and the sites likely to become paying customers were complaining.

    Holy smokes—didn’t realize this was actually how this played out. I now see more what you mean by ‘sucking the fun’ out of Web1. Thankyou for spelling that out. Haha, now I am angry!!

    So, is getting rid of the ‘Gates of Marlborodor’ good? I think it’s similar to my feelings about Yahoo!—I don’t miss having to click down seven levels to get to the ‘smoothies’ topic. (Or not finding it in the hierarchy at all!)

    The trouble is: only a human can say if the ‘Gates of Marlborodor’ was useful to them. Google may not be able to tell the difference between a link farm and a link boutique, but a human can—and humans are the ones we’re trying to connect here, not the Baidubots!

    One interesting thing to me: as I have been digging and scraping around for sites, using all the search engines and feeds I can find, there is one that I am finding surprisingly useful. The search on Pinboard—which is a bookmarking site, the heir to Del.icio.us. If you type in ‘smoothies’ there, you are going to get much more interesting results.

    And it strikes me: I think it’s the closest thing we have to a human-edited search engine! Think of that.

  3. How were those Geocities sites outranking the big shots? Geocities was built before Google was around. Those early web sites all linked to each other via link pages and other means because surfing was the norm and search the exception. This meant there was a preexisting, very strong linking custom back and forth across the free sites. Thousands of those free sites were considered authorities on their topic, the way a Wikipedia article is considered today. Want to know about Kipling’s poems there were at least 5 sites that covered the topic in scholarly detail.

    Google comes along and they are all about linking and link patterns for ranking. Those funky old Geocities sites ranked real well in Google’s algo. At first even Google was happy, those were the sites people wanted to find, but very quickly the Web started to become commercialized, banner ads were $50 for 1000 impressions, huge money back in the pre Internet Bubble days. Well that commercialization meant sooner or later somebody had to knife Geocities sites in the back.

    >>Yahoo!

    If you are going to build a directory today, only the old guys will drill down to the Smoothies category. You have to have a good search function and you have to make that search box the center of attention just like a search engine. Most current directory scripts have very rudimentary search functions. You need something better, at least as good as some of the improved blog site search plugins. Another thing, depending on the niche seriously consider having a backfill from a spidering search engine feed. This takes care of two things: 1. providing results when the directory has very little on the topic, 2. You get that freshness of spidered results. On a niche directory that backfill needs to have added the niche keywords to the feed. (ie. A Star Trek directory would automatically insert “star trek” into the backfill so a visitor search for “uniforms” in the directory would be “star trek uniforms” for the backfill.

    That’s what I like about your replies, they always make me think.

    >>Pinboard
    I’ve never been there. I shall have to explore. Thanks for that tip!

  4. Reply: Pinboard Serendipity

    Jeremy Cherfas

    Very interesting read; I too didn’t realise quite how effectively Google sucked all the fun out of the web, even though I was there at the time. Pure serendipity to read your comment about Pinboard and reread this talk from Maclej on the same day. http://idlewords.com/talks/fan_is_a_tool_using_animal.htm

    Great talk! Reminds me of some of Brad’s comments about the sci-fi/horror directories he’s worked. I’m sorry for the delay in responding (and your Webmention showing up here)—my blog has been broken for a week.

    Enjoy your conference. “Food and Communication”—wild! You should write about it…

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28 Aug 2018

A Kindergartener’s Best Computer is About to Die

I think the iPad Mini could have reshaped pre-reading education, but it didn’t get a chance to.

The iPad mini, which was last upgraded in 2015, and the 9.7-inch iPad, last refreshed in March, won’t be upgraded, a person familiar with the company’s plans said.

Chromebooks are the new fashion in elementary school. They are cheap; they are everywhere. And they are unusable by kids in kindergarten through, in some case, third grade.

Sure, by now children can do some rudimentary typing and mouse flicking. But if you think trackpads are awful for adults, you should observe children using them. Tears, people.

I like this—from an abstract I saw recently:

The choice of the proper device can lead to benefits in terms of user engagement, which often is the prerequisite for learning. There are also additional dimensions to consider, as the usability and the physical fatigue. Their undervaluation, in an educational context, can hamper the successful outcome of the experience.

The iPad Mini was the first device in a very long time that I was truly excited about. In my mind, the most underserved group in our educational system is the pre-reading group from K-2, which cannot be served by the current Internet and which are largely given mobile edutainment apps.

Despite that—the touchscreen is watershed technology for this group. And younger:

Children as young as 24 months can complete items requiring cognitive engagement on a touch screen device, with no verbal instruction and minimal child–administrator interaction. This paves the way for using touch screen technology for language and administrator independent developmental assessment in toddlers.

In my experience, using Chromebooks and iPads among these groups, the tablets far outshine—a child is able to immediately speak its language. Sure, time spent learning a Chromebook can be useful. But making the device an end unto itself is part of our problem—language is technology and technology is language.

The language that toddlers are picking up on their parents’ phones can be built upon in school. This is a great benefit—since it has been very difficult to map gamepads—another similar ‘language’ form—to education.

And yet, we have so many problems:

  • The software has not caught up. We are so impatient to move on that we don’t take the time to utilize amazing technology that is still trickling its way down to children.
  • The stock market has moved on. Apple is end-of-lifing the iPad Mini for its poor sales. Despite tremendous evidence that this device has the ability to transform the lives of a specific group of pre-readers (and, I would also argue, the lives of autistic and special ed students—who I’ve seen similar results with), Apple is ready to just leave these groups to Google in pursuit of further growth, when they should have the freedom now to make a contribution like this.
  • Mobile devices are still seen as lesser technology in education. Yes, for adults, a mobile device can be a handicap. But to a child, this perspective is reversed—they can actually work on mobile devices. They can create, they can express, their abilities are enhanced.

Apple has recently put a $299 price for schools on their standard iPad, but Chromebooks are still eating them alive. I’m afraid that this signal away from the iPad Mini could set us back for the foreseeable future.

If only we could see an era where a $199 iPad Mini flourished among second grade and lower. This age group needs a breakthrough.

  1. Hey Kicks! I'd be interested in your thoughts on this piece about how Chromebooks (and I guess iPads, too) potentially limit students' ability to push the boundaries of computing.

  2. Reply: Caution: Chromebooks

    Eli Mellen

    Hey Kicks! I’d be interested in your thoughts on this piece about how Chromebooks (and I guess iPads, too) potentially limit students’ ability to push the boundaries of computing.

    I’m not an expert on all grades—and I’m only three years deep into my research on the grades I specialize in, which is 1st through 3rd in the U.S. I have spent a bit of time in 4th and 5th—Chromebooks are very useful to these grades and are a step forward. (From no computer 😆.)

    I have such a different perspective from articles such as Stager’s that I just don’t know where to begin! And since this is an off-handed comment, I’m not going to dig up citations—but hope to do more of that soon on my blog.

    On the topic of laptops:

    • Trackpads are a huge problem. Childrens’ hands get extremely tired trying to manipulate them. So an article that mentions a laptop without emphasizing a mouse—I realize this seems like a small thing, but it isn’t!
    • To say a Raspberry Pi is better—I just can’t imagine. I did RPi stuff in after-school clubs but the setup and takedown is insane. And you don’t want your kids behind giant glowing tombstone-sized screens. They also are totally underpowered—they take longer to boot and get going—so it seems funny to criticize Chromebooks as not being beefy, then mention… RPi?
    • To say that a Chromebook can’t fulfill Papert’s and Solomon’s list smacks as disingenuous—it’s just that there is a lot of elitism around what is proper technology. Just off the top of my head: Sphero, Twine and Voxel Builder are legit tech. Scratch and Scratch Jr. are legit—but are aging. I looked down on these, too, until I saw what kids were doing with them.

    There was also a project that Linden Labs was doing on iOS called Blocksworld that was fantastic, but everyone ignored it (and their in-app purchases were awful.)

    Since my focus is young kids, I feel (and the research seems to be showing more and more) that tablets are the sweetest computer at that age. A pre-reader just cannot navigate a keyboard yet. And a tablet is not a computer for mere consumption for them—armed with the right software, they will write, record, create visuals of all kinds, it totally opens them up. I hope to show more of the projects that I do with the kids because I think it will be eye-opening.

    For me, the hardware issue is pretty easy at present: iPads for up to 3rd grade; Chromebooks thereafter. The more interesting discussion—the software—is where we should spend our time. And also, there is a limit to how much time you can spend with technology in the younger grades, for motor skill developmental reasons.

    If I am off, I am always glad to be directed to papers I’ve missed!

  3. Thanks for sharing these insights! Reading them, I think you are totally right that it is a bit wonky to say (as I did!) that a Raspberry Pi is a better choice than a Chromebook. I also think you are 100% on the nose re: tech elitism. As the father of a young child, I'm heaps intrigued by what you've said about iPads and young kids (especially those who cannot read, yet). I've played a little bit with some apps meant for kids, and in a past life, before I confused myself with a liberal arts education I was set on becoming a pre-school/kindergarten teacher. If I ever go back to school I'd most certainly be interested in exploring how to design systems (digital, physical, and otherwise) with children in mind, e.g. what does a public transit system for kids look like.

  4. Reply: Confusing One’s Self

    Eli Mellen

    I’ve played a little bit with some apps meant for kids, and in a past life, before I confused myself with a liberal arts education I was set on becoming a pre-school/kindergarten teacher. If I ever go back to school I’d most certainly be interested in exploring how to design systems (digital, physical, and otherwise) with children in mind, e.g. what does a public transit system for kids look like.

    You should! I wondered if I would enjoy teaching kids or if they would drive me nuts. And they drove me nuts! But then I learned to adapt and now I just think they’re each a wonder. There have definitely been kids that I didn’t like. But then I got to know them.

    I haven’t really discovered too many ‘educational’ apps—I like the form factor of the iPad and the kids use apps for filming, recording, drawing, linking to each other. We use it more like a ‘medium’ rather than a ‘subject’. I went into this job thinking that I wanted to help find a way to bring programming into the classroom—but I now feel that was misguided and arrogant. There are more important things than programming. Perhaps not in commerce—but in life, surely.

    Thankyou for your questions and for the linked article. I really appreciate your sincere searching for answers and the fact that you would take the time to read and to listen is remarkable!

  5. https://hackernewsrobot.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/a-kindergarteners-best-computer-is-about-to-die/
    🔖

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Sharing and Archiving with Dat

This is a technical overview of how to use/understand Dat. It covers how useful it is for ‘backing up’ websites—which is how I intend to use it.

So, this article (and the comments) cleared up a few things for me.

Dat can currently be configured to either track all changes (history) of files in a folder (at the cost of a full duplication of all files and all historical changes), or track only the most recent version of files with no duplication (at the cost of losing all history). There is not (yet?) any fancy dat mode which efficiently tracks only deltas (changes) to files with no other file overhead.

From my examination of the Beaker code yesterday, I noticed that the browser only downloads the specific version of a file that you need—I like this! (Rather than having to download the whole history of a file to put it back together.)

One advantage that Dat has over IPFS is that it doesn’t duplicate the data. When IPFS imports new data, it duplicates the files into ~/.ipfs. For collections of small files like the kernel, this is not a huge problem, but for larger files like videos or music, it’s a significant limitation. IPFS eventually implemented a solution to this problem in the form of the experimental filestore feature, but it’s not enabled by default. Even with that feature enabled, though, changes to data sets are not automatically tracked. In comparison, Dat operation on dynamic data feels much lighter. The downside is that each set needs its own dat share process.

I think this is a great benefit of Dat’s design. Because it basically just boils down to a distributed append-only log—a giant, progressively longer file that many people can share, and which you can build stuff like file folders or a database on top of—it’s incredibly flexible.

It certainly has advantages over IPFS in terms of usability and resource usage, but the lack of packages on most platforms is a big limit to adoption for most people. This means it will be difficult to share content with my friends and family with Dat anytime soon, which would probably be my primary use case for the project.

I totally disagree with this sentiment! Dat has the Beaker Browser—which is an incredible thing for a novice to use. Yes, it would (will?) be even better when it can be found on iOS and Android. But, for now, I’m happy to recommend it to friends and family: “Yeah, you can share your own websites—we can even have our own private Twitter-type-thing together—with this thing.”

I know the Beaker team has said that their goal is to get Dat accepted by the major browsers—but I think Beaker’s ability to customize itself to the decentralized web is an advantage. I could see it finding a lot of users.

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27 Aug 2018

Browser-Side Includes in Beaker Browser

A proof-of-concept for enjoying HTML includes.

It seems like the Beaker Browser has been making an attempt to provide tools so that you can create JavaScript apps that function literally without a server. Their Twitter-equivalent (‘fritter’) runs entirely in the browser—it simply aggregates a bunch of static dats that are out there. And when you post, Beaker is able to write to your personal dat. Which is then aggregated by all the others out there.

One of the key features of Beaker that allows this is the ‘fallback_page’ setting. This setting basically allows for simplified URL rewriting—by redirecting all 404s to an HTML page in your dat. In a way, this resembles mod_rewrite-type functionality in the browser!

What I’ve been wondering is: would it be possible to bring server-side includes to Beaker? So, yeah: browser-side includes. My patch to beaker-core is here. It’s very simple—but it works!

Quick Example

Beaker editing index.html

Here is Beaker editing the index.html of a new basic Website from its template. I’m including the line:

<!--#include file="inc.html"-->

This will instruct beaker to inline the inc.html contents from the same dat archive. Its contents look like this:

<p style="color:red">TEST</p>

Beaker displaying index.html

And here we see the HTML displayed in the browser.

But Does Beaker Need This?

I’m not sure. As I’ve been working with static HTML in dat, I’ve thought that it would be ‘nice’. But is ‘nice’ good enough?

Here are a few positives that I see:

Appeal to novices. Giving more power to HTML writers can lower the bar to building interesting things with Dat. Beaker has already shown that they are willing to flesh out JavaScript libraries to give hooks to all of us users out here. But there are many people who know HTML and not JavaScript. I think features for building the documents could be really useful.

Space savings. I think static blogs would appreciate the tools to break up HTML so that there could be fewer archive changes when layouts change subtly.

Showcase what Beaker is. Moving server-side includes into Beaker could demonstrate the lack of a need for an HTTP server in a concrete way. And perhaps there are other Apache/Nginx settings that could be safely brought to Beaker.

The negative is that Dat might need its own wget that understands a feature like this. At any rate, I would be interested if others find any merit to something like this. I realize the syntax is pretty old school—but it’s already very standard and familiar, which seems beneficial.

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25 Aug 2018

Reply: Shallow Reactions

Seth Drebitko

I don’t know that I’d want reactions on micro.blog. It’s a pretty shallow form of communication, and primarily just creates a vanity metric.

I think shallow responses are kind of nice—sometimes you don’t have time to reply fully and it can be polite to just 👍. In fact, I sometimes go back to likes and flesh out the reply. So it acts like a bookmark, an ‘ack’ and a reminder to return. That’s not too shallow?

It’s the vanity metric that is the issue. It’s a similar problem with ‘friends’ lists. Usually all we see of someone’s ‘friends’ is a number. Which makes me miss blogrolls, when people took the time to say “Ok so this is Heather, she is an archivist…” and, yeah, that starts to feel like a friend.

Both likes and friend counts are also fed into algorithms and become a basis for popularity (aka ‘value’, according to these networks). But popularity stems from discussion anyway—you don’t need an algorithm, if people are talking and linking, it’ll happen. There’s a larger algorithm at play here that the networks can’t replicate.

@herself 👍!

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24 Aug 2018

An ideal: privacy should increase as one goes further down the fame, class, race, power hierarchy. A public figure has traded privacy for these things, right?

• topics:

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23 Aug 2018

Weird Indieweb Idea of the Day: Guestbooks

I think if you feel nostalgic for something, then it has some seed of intrigue left in it. For guestbooks, I wonder how you might innovate them…

One thought I have is—sometimes I get Webmentions to the root page of my site. I might make a ‘guestbook’ page that list any comments or links sent by Webmention there. (I do think that the Facebook ‘wall’ was a modernization of the guestbook—wasn’t it? Although perhaps that functions more like a public e-mail message.)

  1. @kicks @vega For webmentions to the root page I made a "Mentions" page tucked under "About". I shamelessly stole the idea from Chris Aldrich aka @c I like the idea of a Guestbook better than Tag boards.

  2. @bradenslen Aha - you are always a step ahead! You have a real knack for how things should/could work.

  3. @kicks @vega I'm still gnawing on this guestbook idea. It reminds me that Victorians and Edwardians always had a table in the entrance hall where a visitor could leave their calling card. (Pre telephone, there were elaborate customs attached to this.)

    Also, in those times, great houses generally had a guest book (sometimes a seperate book for shooting parties).

  4. @bradenslen Interestingly, when I made that "Mentions" page, I considered adding the word guest book to it as well! I wasn't sure it would actually get used in that way, so left it off. The only place in modern times that I'm aware that people still seem to follow leaving a calling card tradition is in real eastate where a realtor will leave their business card to indicate to the listing agent/seller that they stopped by with clients to view a house/property. Even that may disappear soon as lockboxes with mobile access automatically log the user data of the unlocking party.

  5. @c There was a setting in one of the Indieweb plugins on WP but I didn't comprehend it's function at the time. Later I was on your site, saw the Mentions page and it all clicked. SO thank you for being a good example.

    I did find a good guestbook plugin for WP that does not use the comments system. I might try that.

  6. @bradenslen Nice to see your Guestbook page on your site, and that WP plug-in is a great find. What @c and @kicks are considering with Webmentions sound like a way of "reinventing" the guestbook for the contemporary Internet, particularly if can gain some traction as a norm in the Indieweb space.

  7. @vega Thanks for signing! Once I figured out what that Mentions Page was for with Webmentions, I thought it a grand idea. What I like about it is it captures a a passing Webmention reference. It's a bit like being in your favorite pub or coffeehouse and two tables over you hear your name being mentioned just loudly enough for you to hear. Like a ping.

    I do think the Mentions page could be expanded to also be a Guestbook with conventional comments but it has to be explained, it's not intutitive. Somehow a Guestbook lies between a Contact/Feedbook form and a Webmention. With the guestbook there is an invitation for one to leave a public record of their visit.

  8. I’ve sent invite/webmetion/RSVPs to root domains, for lack of anything better to do.

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Reply: Micro.blog Mentions

Josh Dick

“There is no need to attach an @-style username to the main text…” Really? The doc says otherwise (bullet 4): Replies and @-mentions/.

After playing with it quite a bit, it seems that—if you reply to a specific micro.blog post using a link (in this case: https://micro.blog/jd/820446), it’ll add the @-mention to the beginning if you send a Webmention. And you can also force the @-mention(s). So, if you’re mentioning several people, you’ll want to put those on—and, in that case, it’ll leave them however you have them.

Great work on your site! I also use Jekyll and have been working on a fork of the ‘jekyll-webmention_io’ plugin that adds a bunch of features. I wish Jekyll was faster—my site takes over a minute to build now. Maybe I’ve done something. I have.

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22 Aug 2018

Ticker Tape Parade

It’s good to be a little ‘river’ of thoughts—apart from the estuaries.

Inspired by the concept of Ripped Sheets of Paper, I began to see a new blog design in my mind that departed from all the current trends. (Related: Things We Left in the Old Web.)

The large majority of blogs and social media feeds out there are:

  • Highly rigid visually—a linear list of paragraphs.
  • Mostly blue and white (with a little gray.)
  • Bland. Often all posts are structured virtually the same, unless there are images.
  • Alike. There are common templates.

So, yeah, no wonder the Web has deteriorated! We just don’t care. It’s understandable—we experimented for a good ten or twenty years. I guess that’s why I wanted this site to border on bizarre—to try to reach for the other extreme without simply aspiring to brutalism.

To show that leaving social media can free you to build your own special place on the web. I have no reason to scream and war here in order to stand apart.

Exaggerated Importance

When I started laying out the main ‘river’ of strips on my various feed pages—here’s my August archive, for instance—I started to want the different posts to have a greater impact on the page based on what they were.

Screenshot of the new home page.

A tweet-style note thing should be tiny. It’s a mere thought.

A reply to someone might be longer, depending on the quality of the ideas within it.

And the long essays take a great length of time to craft—they should have the marquee.

It began to remind me of the aging ‘tag cloud’. Except that I couldn’t stand tag clouds because the small text in the cloud was always too small! And they also became stale—they always use the same layout. (It would be interesting to rethink the tag cloud—maybe with this ‘river’ in mind!)

It’s All There

Even though these ‘river’-style feeds are slender and light on metadata—for instance, the ‘river’ is very light on date and tagging info—it’s all there. All the metadata and post content is in the HTML. This is so that I can pop up the full post immediately. But also: that stuff is the microformats!

Why bother with microformats? I remember this technology coming out like a decade ago and—it went nowhere!

But, no, they are actually coming into stride. They allow me to syndicate and reply on micro.blog without leaving my site. I can reply to all my webfriends in like fashion. They have added a lot to blogging in these times—look up ‘Indieweb’.

Honestly, they make this blog worth using. For me. I feel like the design should be for you; the semantic structure is for me.

This lead to a happy coalescing of the design and the structure: I could load individual posts on a windowing layer over the home page. This is a kickback to the old DHTML windowing sites of yesteryear. (And, in part, inspired by the zine at whimsy.space.)


Screenshot of right-clicking on a post.

What’s more—nothing (except the archives dropdown, I should say) is broken if Javascript is off. You can still center-click on the square blog post cards to launch them in a tab. URLs in the browser should line up properly without filling your history with crap.

I do have some new kinds of post layouts that will be cropping up here are there—such as how this article is made of individual tiles. But it all flattens to simple HTML where I need it to.

One of the struggles of the modern Indieweb is to have uniqueness and flair without sacrificing function. I have to do a lot of customization to integrate with Twitter, micro.blog and RSS. But I hope you will not need to work around me. So that remains to be seen.

At any rate: thankyou! So many of you that I correspond with offered juicy conversations that stimulated this new design. My muse has always been Life Itself. The experiences and conversations all around --> inspiration! I feel fortunate to any eyes that wipe across my sentences from time to time.

Time to get back to linking to you.

  1. @cn oh yes of course! the sinkholes too

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21 Aug 2018

Reply: Visual Vocabulary

Don MacDonald

Thanks for the kind words! I didn’t mean to imply your site is retro or a nostalgia thing, just that it reminded me of a kind of site that you’d see in that era, when people were trying out all kinds of crazy stuff with web sites, before there was a set visual vocabulary and design grammar for the web.

“…Before there was a set visual vocabulary…”

Ok I like that! ‘Before there was a set visual vocabulary.’ I definitely feel like the web has become extremely rigid. Blogs have coalesced into a common format. And home pages have, too—with ‘hero images’, for instance. I do miss the old styles of the web, but even more, I miss the variety. (I even feel like CSS has played a role in this. With old tables and spacer gifs, one could really concoct strange layouts. To some extent, image maps and Shockwave helped there.)

I am feeling a fresh liberation of style after having lived through the recent era of staleness. It’s like something is brewing, about to begin.

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Inspired by Brad Enslen’s ‘exit page’ concept, I’ve added a ‘the end’ post to this blog. (I also have to say that many of my upcoming changes are inspired by h0p3’s wiki—moving away from just a blog of recent posts, to a kind of modern home page with updates and Indieweb intertwingliness.) ‘The end’ can be seen right now on /page3, if you scroll to the very bottom. Small, needless things—lovely.

  1. ‘Small needless things – lovely’ Yes! I really like that. And your Exit is great. You may never know if anyone ever finds it but that makes it even greater.

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20 Aug 2018

Reply: Micro.blog Limitations

Manton Reese

I think the limitations you mention with Webmention on Micro.blog — or having accounts — are temporary. I plan to expand both of those.

Oh definitely! I apologize if I’m coming across as critical - I’m kind of working in the dark here as to how one should connect with micro.blog from the outside. (How to craft replies, where Webmentions show up.) But this isn’t unusual—every blog has its quirks, its templates and conventions. There are a jillion microformats and there are Salmentions and so on. Anyway, on the contrary, I’ve enjoyed sorting out how to participate here and hope I can perhaps provide some useful stuff to you.

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I’m in the middle of a redesign. I’m rolling it out in pieces. You’ll know it’s done when I put up an article about it. And, yeah, this doesn’t matter. 😘

  1. @kicks I really like the look of the root page right now!

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19 Aug 2018

Reply: Diversity on Micro.Blog

Vega

From my point of view, M.B’s diversity challenge comes out of Indieweb’s own priorities and values. Decentralization, independence, tech-centrality, building your own bespoke blog/website with home-grown/open-source tools… to me, these values originate from a particular paradigm and method of engaging with the world. This paradigm is itself shaped by the wider culture. To put it in reductionist and stereotypical terms, the “self-made” webmaster who builds a self-contained website, independent of the centralized aggregate (and by extension, The Man), using home-grown tools, falls very much in line with the values of the American Dream.

“To put it in reductionist and stereotypical terms, the ‘self-made’ webmaster who builds a self-contained website […] falls very much in line with the values of the American Dream.”

This entire essay is very insightful—and your whole blog has a whimsical and determined air that has me punching my ‘subscribe’ button several times to make sure it does the job.

One question I wonder: while I think the self-made entrepreneur has got to be synonymous with imperialist America—couldn’t the independent autodidact, operating apart from corporate interests, be a modern type of vanguard for the dispossessed? I feel like the Instagram influencer is more a direct descendant of The American Dream; the bespoke blog a piece of the underground press—particularly in 2018, when they have become ancient machinery.

As Chris quotes:

I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend jail time for it myself.

— Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky, 1942

Perhaps the difference is that the Indieweb has had an “every person for themselves” kind of ethic. There are those who DIY and there are those who GTFO. Whereas underground presses functioned collaboratively. And maybe M.B could be an underground press if it had an editor and it sought out its sources. It feels more like a Lions Club, some casual martinis and a snapshot of the dwindling sun.

I hope that’s no condemnation. I think the underground presses had their coffee houses, which gave you a place to bump into co-conspirators.

But it’s the editor thing that I keep bumping up against on this Web—that we do need more editors, more librarians, more collaboration. We haven’t quite figured out how to organize in structures that benefit, well, all of us. That means starting with the lowest tier. If the library can make a way for books to land in the hands of prisoners, refugees, the poor—then those books can make it anywhere.

And I think this spiritual cause exists in the Indieweb when I see notes like those on Brid.gy’s FAQ entry “How much does it cost?”

Nothing! We have great day jobs, and Bridgy is small, so thanks to App Engine, it doesn’t cost much to run. We don’t need donations, promise.

I feel to inspire readers that might fall across this post—those who can fashion things and who can throw themselves into rebuilding the Web (as if it were Dresden)—to take up this same spiritual cause. To make a generous piece of this crucial public engine. (I realize that this sounds terrifically technopiliac and loathsome, maybe even in a shameful ‘tech bro’ way, but this technology is here, right here, fucking everywhere else too it turns out—so let’s try to find our way, shall we?)

I do think the Indieweb has the glimmer of real answers. But it’s a massive undertaking. But that’s okay—real answers are too.

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18 Aug 2018

Why is anyone upset with Facebook or Twitter? The keepers of the Web are all of us—the individuals. We built it. And still can. Does no one feel a pang of remorse at abandoning their blogs and home pages? And of not showing the newbs where to safely migrate? (Indieweb, for one.)

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Reply: Syndicating to Twitter, Micro.blog

Brad Enslen

Twitter: (changed) – this blog now posts to Twitter via WordPress Jetpack. I made the change because I can control what goes out to Twitter on each individual post.

I think the biggest problem with syndication is ensuring your stuff looks good on the other side.

This is a big problem with micro.blog for an outsider. I have no need to run my blog from there—and I don’t want to start storing some stuff on micro.blog and some stuff here. I want all my stuff on one master bookshelf. But I’ve had a hell of a time getting my Webmention replies to show up there.

For example, I have a reply that did appear on Eli’s post. But it doesn’t show up on the actual micro.blog thread.

I then signed up for an account and added my feed.json for syndication there. My reply to frankm showed up in my feed. But it wasn’t until I sent a Webmention that the post finally ended up on the thread.

I wish I didn’t have to have an account—I should be able to just Webmention a reply like any other Indieweb blog out there, right?

Indieweb.xyz – this is manual, on a post by post basis.

Sweet, this is the way to do it. I use Jekyll under the hood, so I added a field to my posts that looks like this:

syndicate: [xyz:/en/linking, twitter:kickscondor]

So I can selectively syndicate posts. Once I can get Twitter right, I’ll probably syndicate everything there, like you do.

I think one syndication service I’d like to see is one where I could syndicate to an e-mail digest that people could sign up to get weekly or monthly.

  1. >email digests

    I think I have this through WordPress. People can sign up for either instant email notifications or a digest. Nobody has signed up but it is a nice option to have.

  2. I really like the idea of a regular summary. One of my itches is to make an archive page that would provide a summary of all my activities for a selected month.

    I could build it with Google Sheets, I should probably start there.

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XXIIVV Webring

Hey this is up my alley: a webring whose aim is to ‘share personal websites such as diaries, wikis & portfolios’.

XXIIVV Logo

Hey this is up my alley: a webring whose aim is to ‘share personal websites such as diaries, wikis & portfolios’. I’m reluctant to add myself—these sites all seem to share a muted minimalist aesthetic. (This is a trove, however.) And it’s odd: I don’t think of webrings as having a sophistication—but here it is, a classy one. Like a precision watch lying on a marble jewelry counter. VERY interesting that this sprung up in the last few months. See, there really are rumblings out there.

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17 Aug 2018

Turn of the Century Photograph of Charlie McAlister

“He never knew he was sick. And he died in the arms of a gal!”

It really sucks that Charlie McAlister died last year. I had really hoped to write to him more and maybe talk to him one day! Back in 1998, I found this cassette of his and it’s still out there! But you won’t find lyrics and tabs out there—he was truly underground. (There is a section of my upcoming link directory devoted to the muckpile of this rambling maniac.) In the meantime, please enjoy these wonderful lyrics to the second song.

Bog Man
He never knew he was sick
And he died in the arms of a gal!
Who threw his body into the bog
Next to the rice canal.
Next to the rice canal.
And ten-thousand years later they found
His body buried in the moss--
And his skin and eyes had turned to leather
And his bones had turned to rock.
His bones had turned to rock.
So then they took him to a museum
And put his body in a case.
And people came from miles around
To see the bog man's face.
To see the bog man's face.
But late one night after the museum had closed,
The bog man came back to life--
And he went out into the streets in a rage
And strangled the mayor's wife.
And strangled the mayor's wife.
So the next villager to die only had one leg
And couldn't run to escape.
And the bog man hit him with a cinder block
And a pointed rake.
And a pointed rake.
So the next villager to die was blind in one eye
And didn't see it coming.
And the bog man hit him with the pointed rake
Till the blood started flowing.
Bog man, bog man, you are an evil man.
Bog man, bog man, you are an evil man.
Bog man, bog man, you are an evil man.

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16 Aug 2018

Reply: Owning You

Frank McPherson

Does owning your own domain = owning your content? I am not so sure.

I personally don’t care about the domain thing. It’s nice to own a TLD, but I’d be happy with kicks.neocities.org. My thing is being able to reply and write on my own site so I can style it and have a place to call home.

  1. Reply: Syndicating to Twitter, Micro.blog

    Brad Enslen

    Twitter: (changed) – this blog now posts to Twitter via WordPress Jetpack. I made the change because I can control what goes out to Twitter on each individual post.

    I think the biggest problem with syndication is ensuring your stuff looks good on the other side.

    This is a big problem with micro.blog for an outsider. I have no need to run my blog from there—and I don’t want to start storing some stuff on micro.blog and some stuff here. I want all my stuff on one master bookshelf. But I’ve had a hell of a time getting my Webmention replies to show up there.

    For example, I have a reply that did appear on Eli’s post. But it doesn’t show up on the actual micro.blog thread.

    I then signed up for an account and added my feed.json for syndication there. My reply to frankm showed up in my feed. But it wasn’t until I sent a Webmention that the post finally ended up on the thread.

    I wish I didn’t have to have an account—I should be able to just Webmention a reply like any other Indieweb blog out there, right?

    Indieweb.xyz – this is manual, on a post by post basis.

    Sweet, this is the way to do it. I use Jekyll under the hood, so I added a field to my posts that looks like this:

    syndicate: [xyz:/en/linking, twitter:kickscondor]
    

    So I can selectively syndicate posts. Once I can get Twitter right, I’ll probably syndicate everything there, like you do.

    I think one syndication service I’d like to see is one where I could syndicate to an e-mail digest that people could sign up to get weekly or monthly.

  2. >email digests

    I think I have this through WordPress. People can sign up for either instant email notifications or a digest. Nobody has signed up but it is a nice option to have.

  3. I really like the idea of a regular summary. One of my itches is to make an archive page that would provide a summary of all my activities for a selected month.

    I could build it with Google Sheets, I should probably start there.

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The Word.com Archive

While surfing today, I ran across this article—The Ballad of Jaime Levy—that goes over the history of an old 90s e-zine called Word.com. Man, had I forgotten. Boring name, yeah—but they were doing some really sweet stuff back then. This archive doesn’t do the zine justice; many of the best years were done in embedded Shockwave and Quicktime, but it sounds like they’re working on restoring those issues. I vividly remember the screenshot above—there was a kind of parallax scrolling going on in the banner.

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Reply: Some Quick Thoughts

Kimberly Hirsh

I’m not adding any other post types just yet. For me, the inconvenience of creating replies on my own site and syndicating them outweighs the benefit of owning my replies, as my replies are rarely substantive.

I totally agree with this. Replies are the hardest thing to get right on the Indieweb. My replies still don’t work the way I want them to. They’re also the most rewarding part of adopting Webmentions—and I’m not sure how they can be easier. I just think we need to get to the point were blog software does it all for you.

Anyway, welcome, Kimberly! Great to see your dad’s blog. (Kimberly has a following page with nice descriptions of who is who.)

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15 Aug 2018

Reply to _joesavage

I am going to make an effort to read through this dissertation and comment on it. One thing I like about the web is that it’s made of more primitive building blocks—too much orderliness injures flexibility. (Even blogs and aggregators have become too structured and, well, boring in a way.) I will still really enjoy reading this!

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Reply: The Open Web is a Tool, Not a Silver Bullet

Josh de Lioncourt

The open web will not solve harassment or abuse—it never has. Those things existed online long before FaceBook or Twitter and will go on after they are footnotes in history books. IRC is/was a non-centralized chat system that was the 90s equivalent to Twitter in many ways. Abuse there happened every bit as often as it does on social networks today. I remember; I was there.

Heh, Usenet, anyone?

See, and now that I think of it—I think the Open Web is now the alt.* hierachy. While Twitter and Facebook are the Backbone Cabal. (See The Great Renaming.)

Maybe all we’re doing is going through centralizing and redecentralizing cycles here.

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Reply: The Public Square

Brent Simmons

For a long time there’s been just one thing I’d like to convince Twitter users of: that centralized social networking is harmful to society and to individuals.

I can make that point on Twitter — but it’s hollow there, since the medium really is the message.

(The actual post is here.) Just wanted to offer some encouragement—there are a lot of folks out there blogging again. We just need to stay linked. The great thing about micro.blog is that I can leave you comments from my blog. Would be nice to have that on ‘inessential’—but I’ll be sure to follow what you’re doing there regardless.

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Reply: Blogs in the Wild

Brad Enslen

There are blogs and bloggers out there, basically talking to themselves because nobody can find them. They don’t know if anybody is reading or appreciates what they post because nobody comments and they have no clue about Indieweb.

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!

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14 Aug 2018

Reply: Indiewebwebwebindieindie

Simon Woods

Hopefully over time the feed will involve fewer articles about the IndieWeb. I mean, assuming we want more people to be interested, if not get involved; the harsh truth for us nerds is that most people don’t have the time or energy for mastubatory musings.

@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.)

  1. Thanks so much! I think my post to indieweb.xyz got muddled because it went from my website to telegraph.p3k.io while also being syndicated to micro.blog. Issues of hazy and lazy decentralization by silo-hopping. Whoops!

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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. Reply: Indiewebwebwebindieindie

    Simon Woods

    Hopefully over time the feed will involve fewer articles about the IndieWeb. I mean, assuming we want more people to be interested, if not get involved; the harsh truth for us nerds is that most people don’t have the time or energy for mastubatory musings.

    @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. Thanks so much! I think my post to indieweb.xyz got muddled because it went from my website to telegraph.p3k.io while also being syndicated to micro.blog. Issues of hazy and lazy decentralization by silo-hopping. Whoops!

  4. Reply: Blogs in the Wild

    Brad Enslen

    There are blogs and bloggers out there, basically talking to themselves because nobody can find them. They don’t know if anybody is reading or appreciates what they post because nobody comments and they have no clue about Indieweb.

    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!

  5. 👍
  6. Reply: It Happened Again

    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.
  7. Reply: Micro.blog Mentions

    Josh Dick

    “There is no need to attach an @-style username to the main text…” Really? The doc says otherwise (bullet 4): Replies and @-mentions/.

    After playing with it quite a bit, it seems that—if you reply to a specific micro.blog post using a link (in this case: https://micro.blog/jd/820446), it’ll add the @-mention to the beginning if you send a Webmention. And you can also force the @-mention(s). So, if you’re mentioning several people, you’ll want to put those on—and, in that case, it’ll leave them however you have them.

    Great work on your site! I also use Jekyll and have been working on a fork of the ‘jekyll-webmention_io’ plugin that adds a bunch of features. I wish Jekyll was faster—my site takes over a minute to build now. Maybe I’ve done something. I have.

  8. My question Kicks is what do I share there? All my long form posts? Posts associated with a particular topic?

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13 Aug 2018

Reply: Webrings are Dead

Brad Enslen

If replicated how does one make such a ring topical? How would that auto signup feature check to make sure all the applicants are about one topic? (ie. blue widgets, Star Trek, catching lobsters. etc.) Just having the right code in place to join is not enough for most visitors. They want to surf a ring that matches their interests. Code is not content. Code is not entertainment.

This reminds me of these “useless web” sites—this being the primary one—that have managed to stay very popular. (A lot of YouTubers make videos of themselves clicking through this site and I often see kids at school using the site.) And it’s basically a webring. But it’s not a code-based one, it’s the opposite—it’s totally curated.

(Oh, also, the fellow who does this also works on a directory of “inspiring” projects that looks great. So, this is a person who is having some success playing with curated discovery projects.)

I think computers have completely blown it with discovery. The smartest minds have all been working on this for decades now and it has been a disaster. The question to me now is just: how do we equip our librarians? And I tend to think that we don’t need anything more—our technology is totally under-utilized.

Microcast.club screenshot.

However, there is one promising development that I see from the Microcast.club directory: the self-designed cards that show big images on each entry. The directory is using the itunes:image entry in the podcast RSS feed. This is fantastic because the curator can select/filter the directory entries—but the authors can customize their cards.

I wish RSS stylesheets would have caught on so I could offer this kind of thing for the Indieweb.xyz blog directory.

  1. I think computers have completely blown it with discovery. The smartest minds have all been working on this for decades now and it has been a disaster. The question to me now is just: how do we equip our librarians? And I tend to think that we don’t need anything more—our technology is totally under-utilized.

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12 Aug 2018

Reply: Ripped Sheets of Paper

h0p3

I have asked you some very personal questions, and I will continue to do so, nomad.

The repeated use of the word nomad has conjured up a song I had forgotten: Nomad Tell Us and its repeated admonishment, “You must relate to the earthling mortal!” Haha, it’s so emblematic of reading your wiki!

My wife is a librarian, and it feels like you are doing indieweb-librarian work to me. Do you consider it part of your vocation? It feels like more than just an aesthetic experience to me.

I suppose I will get a little personal then. My aunt died over a decade ago and she was a library director on the West Coast. I still think of her all the time. But she has been gone so long that I can’t find any of her interviews or papers like I once could. I talked to her once about Ranganathan, who I had just discovered, and she talked about edge cases in categorizing books—in fact, I think I’ll start storing books in an “edge case”—and then she died and I live with the regret of never seeing that promising conversation continue.

But I kept talking to librarians after that—it sates my wish to talk to her still. I had a friend for a little while who was a librarian on Microsoft’s campus. A corporate librarian! She was fantastic to talk about books with.

Librarians are not admired in the same way that teachers are, but their work can be very important. Someone has to sift through the vast sea of words and pluck up the ones worth saving. This is becoming even more impossible today. I sometimes feel like there could be an amateur librarian’s movement—this is what I’d hoped the old Internet “surf clubs” would be—but it truly is a gift of generosity to attempt to organize the world out there. I admire your wife and these others.

If I understand correctly, there are diminishing returns in the scaling of triangles for visual modeling.

Well, I guess I thought that more triangles would only improve definition, but this is a great observation.

(Oh, comment about this conversation: we are using a type of embedded reply form here which is quickly growing deep. I wonder how else we might capture this discussion—which might go on for some time—into a large flat structure, simple to read back on, but which might keep related threads together without losing access to the original message. Or maybe these quote-and-reply forms are too restrictive, I wonder if we can sprawl out more.)

I hope that my representation becomes increasingly accurate and useful to me. Even if I fail, I hope to come closer and closer to success on this issue.

Well, here’s one question—how will you endure a drastic change? Like: what if you reverse a core tenant? Or, moreso, could you discover that you aren’t a wiki, but are a different type of information structure? Perhaps you’ve decided you are and that’s the end of it.

You are sort of bumping up against communicating with the outside. I will be interested to see how you sort this out. Your many-meg single page site is so unique and I find the opportunity to download all of it to my computer memory like the visit of an oracle—a single being, sent to deliver the collected wisdom of any query I might have.

So I am happy to communicate however you see fit, because your oracle’s purpose is to organize your thoughts, not to be a telegraph system. My organization here is the opposite: it’s designed to send dispatches to individuals. But I am going to make some small changes to have a tiny oracle as well.

I don’t think any of these things are technological problems, though. I am happy to drive to your house and ring the doorbell or go to the basement doorway and let myself in—or whatever the protocol is for you. I think that’s what’s so marvellous about your site and sites like whimsy.space.

I hope you don’t think I’m a snob. I would argue I deal with many unsavories.

I hope you’re okay being a snob! Why would that be so terrible? We all live on a giant graph paper and, speaking for myself, I really like my coordinates. You might just be snobbish about being your own type of unsavory.

There is an interesting poem I recently read called bulldyke that made me think of this. The poem itself dabbles in unsavory—are these words disgusting? Are these thoughts perverse? Is the afraid little boy lover in the poem—certainly he’s the unsavory one. (And, also, poetry—isn’t poetry just awful?)

I don’t know, but I like deciding these things. Who doesn’t? I’m a snob, too.

Like everyone else, I hate Facebook and what it has done to the Hypertext Kingdom and I will fight it valiantly and with great, upturned nostrils. But I have also used it to obsessively follow the death of Kaylee (and other children that I will write about some time) and I have depended on this awful unsavory to read their obscure stories. It has filled me with profound spiritual mayonnaisse.

I should also say that I enjoyed the recent VICE video with a girl in big Sally Jesse Raphael glasses interviewing an Incel. I felt that I really loved both of them. Not in a Jesus way; like the Double Rainbow guy, crying and marvelling over colorful semicircles. I don’t know if VICE is unsavory—I guess I wonder if all businesses are.

Perhaps the biggest worry I have is that I will think someone to be pure and unscathed and godlike—only to discover that they have touched their whole staff in all the wrong places. 😂

I’ve been thinking about a problem which you’ve probably seen a dozen answers to. I have now been asked twice for a way to push notifications of updates. I am worried that my wiki isn’t well-designed for that. I’m not entirely sure what I would push to others (my New kind of does that). I would like to know your thoughts on where I should go with this.

I am happy with how you have things. I understand how you work now. If anything, I would argue that you should continue innovating in the way you have been. That, like the single-page oracle metaphor from earlier, you will find more ways for the technology to symbolically represent you. This is paramount.

  1. Reading this thread is like reading a cubist rendition of Veils. I love it.

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03 Aug 2018

My Href Hunt for August 2018

Ok, a new list of personal home pages, blogs and such. My point in doing this exercise is to explore sites that aren’t linked to, that failed to launch, that Google won’t take me to. It’s very easy to attempt to advertise your site and have it disappear into the stream. Each time I do this, I discover new, unknown links that are amazing. Keep in mind that this is a raw dump, which I offer up to practice my directory-building skills and to give you a chance to peek as well.

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02 Aug 2018

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Brad’s Blog Directory

Consider submitting your blog to this, if you are out there reading and have let me link to you before. I like that it’s focused on blogs—the directory I’m building is more general than that. His guidelines are very similar to mine: a few-hundred links with longer descriptions than you’d see on other directories.

Oh, and if you look at this and think: “I want to make my own directory!” Please keep me posted. I’m tracking the rise of these new directories closely.

  1. Kicks, I await the roll out of the directory you are working on with eager anticipation!

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01 Aug 2018

Jeremy Reminders

Don’t know what’s going on here, but this reminds me of an old school web page done up in IG. I wonder what other subversions are out there on the big silos.

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c0d3.attorney

I ran across this site while out link hunting. Since I’m not planning to include software-related links in my directory—since business and software already have many directories—I will post it here. There is a discussion of this site on a blog called esoteric.codes, which has been a second fascinating discovery!

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31 Jul 2018

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