Kicks Condor




This page is also on dat.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole. k0sh3k. j3d1h. luxb0x.

nathalie lawhead of so many good things, where does one begin. T, U, I.

surfpals: things by j, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid., fogknife,, j.greg, box vox,, caesar naples.

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

nostalgia:, bad cmd.

true hackers:,, voja antonić, cnlohr,

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. probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.


I use three main tags on this blog:

  • hypertext: linking, the Web, the future of it all.

  • garage: art and creation, tinkering, zines and books, kind of a junk drawer—sorry!

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

07 May 2019

Reply: C’s Book Club

Chris Aldrich

Some of us have thought about doing it before, but perhaps just jumping into the water and trying it out may be the best way to begin designing, testing, and building a true online IndieWeb Book Club.

Using to form an ad-hoc book club.

This is cool—and now I’m trying to think of ways I can improve for a purpose like this. One thing that comes to mind is possibly offering a few moderation tools for you. I think with a sub like this, it would be nice for you to have a “pinned post” or something at the top of /en/bookclub so that you can advertise the current selection for the club and some links to how to vote for the next selection—things like that. (This post would just be a syndicated post from your blog, Chris.)

  1. Thanks Kicks Condor! I did contemplate creating a more specific stub name for the particular book, but suspected that starting out with something simpler maybe a bit easier and more user friendly. New functionality would be cool, but don’t kill yourself as proving the basics are a good first step.

    I was listening to a podcast the other day that talked about services like Ning that offered a lot of additional administrative functionality for groups (like this) versus some of the other social silos which generally haven’t given power to administrators to tamp down on bad actors. This is an area which may be fruitful for the IndieWeb to experiment within. I know that having a solid (private) group experience is something that is keeping a large number of people tied to Facebook and that if there were other places to go, many would jump ship.

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12 Mar 2019

Reply: Allo

nitinkhanna is cool 😃

Hey thanks for piping up. Your blog is neat—I liked the article on treating your blog like a Moleskine. I think this is why I always have used those dreary, cheap composition books. I can make them a mess.

Your Twitter bio: “I tweet seriously, but mostly for fun.” This is chill. An example to us all.

  1. @kicks thanks! :) I love how random and pretty your site is! And the way the comments are presented as sort of part of the flow of the writing is pretty neat... :)

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Reply: Rabbits Are Good People


But of how many rabbit holes? And how deep are they? And what rabbits dug them?

Tell me, 1uxb0x—your name is so like Linux to me. (Because of ‘fluxbox’ which was my favorite back when I was only probably three times your age.) I think you are still deciding on a name though—is that right?

Your “Notes” and “Free Writing” pages are solid gold.[1] You are clearly a very hard worker—I can’t tell if you are hard on yourself or just very determined. You have a lot of things you want to do in your life, that’s for sure.

I like your “Free Writing” pages—and I do the same thing myself. When I am writing, I like to just write something that I see. Almost like taking a photograph, but I am writing it down. I think most people like to write what they are feeling, but that often causes me to stop and think too much. But I just want to write something—and they are very fun to read back on.[2]

As for your “Notes”—I like pages like this. Or pages like this one about your dad and your sense of morality. You might feel that this page is very disorganized and messy—but I find it to be absolutely readable and I can tell where copy-and-paste is happening and where you are writing.[3] I have a friend who will very much enjoy reading your writings and I hope it is okay if I show him. (He will probably have some excellent advice as well.)

Ok, for now, au revoir, fellow human.

  1. Or, flakes of solid gold, if they happen to be smaller pages. Or boxes of sticky pencils, if they happen to be lists of random thoughts that are in your head that day. ↩︎

  2. My grandmother used to read me her journals when I would visit her. She would start by reading a few funny e-mails she got, but inevitably she would end up pulling out a volume of her personal journals. Many of my relatives didn’t enjoy that she would do this—and they thought it was anti-social or maybe impolite of her—but I always found it quite charming. I loved to drink tea while she would read to me. And her entries were much like your “Free Writing”—It is July 3rd. There is a blue van parked outside the house that has been there all week. One of the kids peeked inside and said that it was filthy. It sure does stink. They are also selling a new kind of cinnamon roll at the grocer’s across the street— ↩︎

  3. Your writing reminds me very much of Édouard Levé. I am sorry to compare you to him—because he killed himself—but I assure you that you only remind me of his writing style. I’m afraid I don’t know you as a person. I hope you realize that I am paying you a very sincere complement. You are doing very well in your writing. I hope you are enjoying it, because it is fun to read. (No lie. I think you could publish a book of these “Notes” pages and it would make waves in the literary world. But don’t do that. I like you better as a wiki kid than as a literary hootytoot.) ↩︎

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11 Mar 2019

Reply: Supposedly Unreadable Tripe


I am one of the few people who read everything h0p3 writes. It’s a good thing I read fast. Also, we talk a lot. We started this whole thing by walking and talking and disagreeing on the definitions of ethical and moral and I guess we’ll keep doing this until he realizes I’m right and he’s wrong about the entire nature of the universe.

It might take a while.

h0p3’s wife does a mic check.

(This is sooo cool—to get a response from h0p3’s wife on her own personal wiki. I just can’t believe we’re having these conversations. This was not what I intended to do on this blog. I actually didn’t have any intentions really—I just wanted to mess with hypertext again—which I guess opened me up to reading random TiddlyWikis and having these delightful, possibly pointless, just-for-funsies conversations. It’s better than anything that I could have intended to do.)

k0sh3k! First off, I love ILL, too. I am a massive cheapskate and I try to avoid clutter—but mostly I just like the weird editions that show up. And I like to see where the books come from. (I give a shoutout to this in my Stories/Novels page.)

My favorite was when Denton Welch’s Maiden Voyage came in. It was an ancient hardback from the 1950s. (It was the first book I read by him—I love him now.) As I read, I began to realize that this edition had been published right after he died (at age 33) and it really transported me to that age. I had a hard time giving that one back.

I actually should read The Educated Mind again before I recommend it. I went back and read my review—and some of my perspectives have changed since then. A lot has happened in four years. I still think I would love that the book bows before the visage of Socrates… (I am not a fast reader.)

My favorite poet is e.e. cummings, and if you haven’t read his work, you should.

I loved him in high school—I guess I have forgotten so much about him. I think I liked him at the time for gimmicky reasons. I know I saw past the mere shape of his poems. I thought he was funny. But to hear about ‘anti-industrialist poems’—you shouldn’t have lost that paper.

You’ll have to excuse the place - I only started keeping this to make h0p3 happy and to be a good example to the kiddos, although I’ve started keeping things here just for fun, too.

I am not nearly as good at keeping a wiki as h0p3 is; I haven’t gotten much better on any of this web stuff since the early days of chat rooms.

I think it’s charming. Your worries about organization or curating—sure, it’s fun to spend time on that stuff—but you’ve put a lot of work into what you’ve got already and it’s already very amusing and interesting to idly search and click around. I like that it’s informal. I like that it’s off-the-cuff.

I feel I should apologize for reading. It feels voyeuristic. Or like a robot eating up feelings. (CAN DESPISING AYN RAND REALLY FEEL THIS GOOD.) And maybe I am just scoping up anecdotes and recommendations in slapdash—this is just my own librarian way. It is shameful, it is noble—it is just a way to pass the time.

I think education, across the board, including college level, has hit a rough patch. It’s no longer about helping individuals become good, ethical human beings; it’s about shaping individuals into efficient little workers and consumers. I’m glad we have the chance to raise our kiddos to be good persons, and to recognize the systemic evils that use others as mere means for wealth accumulation.

Most of the teachers I’ve met and worked with are aware of this and frustrated by it, too. It’s strange to me that this awareness has been around since at least the 1970s—yet it’s only gotten worse, I’d hazard.

There was a conversation between Seymour Papert and Paulo Freire back then that really—well, it might have gone too far in places, but I think it’s mostly right on:

Now there comes a time when the infant is seeing a wider world than can be touched and felt. So the questions in the child’s mind aren’t only about this and this and this that I can see, but about something I heard, saw a picture of, or imagined. And I think here the child enters into a precarious and dangerous situation because not necessarily, but, I think, in point of fact in our societies, there is now a shift from experiential learning—learning by exploring—to another kind of learning, which is learning by being told: you have to find adults who will tell you things. And this stage reaches its climax in school.

And I think it’s an exaggeration, but that there’s a lot of truth in saying that when you go to school, the trauma is that you must stop learning and you must now accept being taught. That is stage two: it’s school, it’s learning by being taught, it’s receiving deposits of knowledge. I think many children are destroyed by that, strangled. Some, of course, survive it, and all of us survived it, and that’s one reason it’s often dangerous discussing these questions among intellectual people. In spite of the school what happened to us was that in the course of this stage two we learned certain skills. We learned to read, for example; we learned to use libraries; we learned how to explore directly a much wider world.

Now I think that there’s an important sense in which stage three is going back to stage one for those who’ve survived stage two—creative people in any field, whether in a laboratory or in philosophy—whether artists, businessmen, journalists—all the people in the world who are able, despite all the restrictions, to find a way of living creatively. We are very much like the baby again. We explore; it’s driven from inside; it’s experiential; it’s not so verbal; it’s not about being told.

To me, I agree that the scaffolding is important—but I think we tend to make the whole thing about scaffolding and public school tends to be all scaffolding all the time. But I think of scaffolding as being rough-shod. You hammer together a few planks and then get back to the building itself. The scaffolding goes away with time. You forget it was ever there.

(In case this is too vague—I tend to make ‘scaffolding’ synonymous with ‘adult assistance’, Vygotsky’s meaning, rather than the other meanings that float about from time to time.)

Of course, I think the above goes wrong a bit because I view reading as experiential and driven from inside—and I think even “telling” can be this way. Teaching can be very immersive and very improvisational. It’s difficult to know if it can ever be prescribed. (I don’t often watch television, but I think this is one thing that has kept me watching The Good Place—the main character is provided with a personal philosopher, a man who finds himself given an Herculean chore to try to prescribe his wisdom to her, even though it all is completely applicable. It simply cannot be told I think.)

Thank you for all the books and links—I will always be on the lookout for more and I am glad to know you and your family. While I’m interesting in the pioneering work you all are doing with wikis and such, I think it’s eclipsed by the effort you make among your two children. These words might be, at their height, a ‘model’ of us.

But they are only artifacts compared to the humans behind them. This j3d1h and kokonut seem like great additions to our reality. (Just from things they pop off with in h0p3’s writings.)

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09 Feb 2019

Reply: To All the Bizarre Corners

Hey, glad you opened this tear in the hrefs—I love what you’ve got going here! Yours is just the sort of blog I live for. The badges are fly. (Posted about them on HrefHunt!.)

You mention you have a personal wiki on your blog—is it hidden? I collect links to those. But also understand if its hidden. Keep it on the downlow, keep it discreet.

Your modular synth is a feast for the eyes. It’s like NASA Mission Control if it were made from marker and wood. Damn—going to try to find a place for this on

  1. Thanks for the kind words, and the shoutout! Glad you dig the badges! I can’t tell if it seems arrogant, but if you can get badges for silly things on 101 different social media sites, why not get badges for real skills and achievements on your own site.

  2. Whups, forgot to reply to the wiki question – yes, it’s hidden (and very much locked-down, accessible only via certain methods, as secure as I can make it). I’m torn, because there are some things that I _would_ like to share in a wiki format, but my wiki contains so much information that is either too personal or just too “this is how my brain works and it might not make sense to anybody else” that for now I’m just keeping it totally inaccessible from the outside world.

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06 Feb 2019

Reply: Careful Answers

Kevin Kovacs

With that being said, the short answer for a lot of your questions is going to be either a) I’m planning on moving those or b) I haven’t even considered it yet.

Tsss! Ok, well, hey—thank you for the elaborate reply! And let this also act as a test of your Webmentions setup. And welcome to the club of individuals experimenting with hypertext organization and layout—those forking wiki sensibility, I suppose. I’m interested in seeing what you do—in fact, I really like the variety of layouts you use on TIV for the different post types.

I love the look of minimal, white websites, but now everything seems to look like that.

I don’t know about you—my love of the brighter base comes from wanting to mimick books and zines, paper things. (Although I do have a favorite book, self-published by a psychic, that explores the correlation between extraterrestrials, prodigies and ‘vanishing twins’—the whole book is printed on a lavender paper, it’s just wonderful. The cover of the book is darker, almost the exact color of Humdrum Life!)

I have been trying to cook up a darker scheme, but I just can’t seem to settle on a background color. I think it will have to be black. Any other color really forces the palette choices for all the borders and words.

At any rate, I like to see more color on the web and I think you’ve got a nice scheme going.

I’m assuming the link logs you are referring to are the ones tagged reading, usually with “Articles” in the title.

Yes, exactly. This type of post is a major draw for me.

These are essentially to force myself to reflect on what I read. Even if I’m only writing a word or a sentence, it’s been helpful as a reflection practice. On occasion I forget to add things, but it’s supposed to be everything I read that day. Due to that fact, they dont necessarily think it is all worth sharing. I have a podcast log too where I do the same thing for myself.

Worth sharing. Huh, ok, this is a pretty ripe topic still.

I can’t help but feel that this goes in with the modern view that we must be “content creators”—writing original essays and gathering unique data to share. And that a pile of links is not worthy. Am I way off? Can you explain further—you later refer to things being “worthy to share with ‘the world’”—is this tied into RSS, like what sort of significance must a bit of hypertext have in order to justify making all the smartphones go ding?

I’m increasingly against RSS. I don’t know that anything I’m writing should fire off notifications. I’d be much happier if I could just fill up a blog without being accused of dinging the bell too many times. (This is an issue with all the social media platforms—there’s a threshold you cross when you become the one who overshares. So you have to pace yourself against the group’s pacing.)

But back on whether link lists are worthy. I mean—that’s the goodstuff for me. That’s the draw! Personally, I’m looking more for a tangled web of thoughts and chains of ideas, following link to link, to get a sense of what is happening out there. Exploring, discovering.

I think many people think they can’t or don’t care to write a blog, because then they’ll have to come up with ideas for tutorials or articles—“content” again—when I think that’s kind of rooted in a ‘performer’/‘audience’ relationship. I think what has appealed to me about h0p3’s work is that you can write out in the open, for your own purposes, and just pile up hypertext there—and if it’s organized sensibly enough, then those who want to correspond with you will find what they need. (It particularly interesting/innovative to me that he works on drafts of his letters in public—and that it works so well in practice.)

On the other side, TIV link posts are more considered.

I think I have felt this way, at times too, like I won’t post something to my home page if it’s just a little ‘thumbs up’ type of comment. But, more and more, I find myself writing detailed and considered entries that don’t get broadcast.

Can you relate to that? Is ‘more considered’ really the line between TIV and Humdrum? You just wrote me a lengthy reply that seems very well-considered. Could the difference be something else? Is it tonal?

It might even be that ‘public’ blogging has traditionally been directed toward an audience and now that the Web has changed (there is less of an audience)—then it doesn’t need to be that way. (I say this as someone who also blogs at some imaginary audience—tho I’m not sure I like doing it that way.)

I kind of view TIV as a digital publication […] I like to think of it as a digital newspaper. It’s text based and more professional. Am not a reporter in any sense though, so the metaphor starts to fall apart of you really think about it.

Ok, so, then a zine or something. But whatever: a newspaper, surely you’re safe to use that term.

Yeah, I can relate to that! I think one benefit of the ‘publisher’/‘audience’ type relationship is the pressing desire to draw someone in and not to waste their time, but to benefit them and serve them. And to take your craft seriously, too, I guess.

I’ve done a few album reviews, which are more fully formed; I think these should stay on TIV. The top ten lists I view in the same way Rolling Stone or SPIN would publish a top ten list, so I feel like their home is still TIV.

This is such a motivating, creative thing to be play-acting in homage to magazines and fully-staffed writing houses. It provides vision for your work and a kind of high aspiration.

It really makes me wonder what the future holds for the lone blogger. Now that I can look back a decade at so many of the blogs I’ve enjoyed, I can see that they often either went away or became real magazines themselves.

I feel some longing for those days when all these personal websites wondered to themselves, Is there anyone out there? But it’s also very much like that now! And I wonder if something new might spring up—outside of newspapers, magazines, blogs and anything else we know.

[On the ‘now’ page:] This is for me/novelty, but mostly just an exercise in learning Siri Shortcuts.

This section of your letter was very enlightening and I think I’ve gleaned a better understanding of this phenomenon. I imagine much of it is certainly prompted by a desire to play with integrations just like you’re talking about—whereas some of it is linked to Public Self-Modeling and basic journaling.

I think it’s very useful for you to discuss your methods and the software details of how you work. TiddlyWiki isn’t for everyone—neither is Ceasar Bautista’s Encyclopedia project—so options like yours could be very useful to other microbloggers and Mastodon users who want to start building a permanent file.

I’m going to leave off the discussion about URLs, because I have to leave now and wanted to get this letter off—but I think there is much to talk about there as well. I just thank you for fielding my questions! I feel so lucky to have had this chance encounter with you. Looking forward to your work on TIV and Humdrum.

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25 Jan 2019

Reply to BeachPackaging

Hey, this was a good read. And I think your blog exemplifies moving away from ‘big attention’. Covering a niche inherently disqualifies it from the mainstream—although occassionally things like Primitive Technology become somewhat mainstream. Thank you for the interesting links you’re providing!

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Reply: Should We Pool?

Joe Jenett

Since 1997, Ive spent, on average, about 4 hours per day grinding away on my web linking projects, which also included (daily site reviews) from 10/1997 thru 9/2010. I cant conceive of the notion of waiting for links to come to me, which leads me to the other part of your comment.

Ok, interesting—yeah, I’d agree, hunting can suck up hours of time. And, yeah, if you are spending four hours per day, I’m not going to keep up, since I’m lucky to get in four hours per week.

Glad for your honest reason. Very glad for ‘brutal’ honesty—to just have your thoughts succinctly, rather than to beat around the bush for three months.

What I mean to say is that I’m not looking to combine my efforts with yours (or vice-versa). We’ve already shared knowledge and our enthusiasm for the medium and our love for linking—that’s sure to be an ongoing (enjoyable) thing. But pooling our knowledge, or collaborating between sites on some type of joint effort is different than simply communicating between sites, and between us, in my mind.

Right—I don’t mean to say that we’re going to just merge our sites together—although I did discuss trying to be clear about link-finding strategies, which borders on a trade secret I suppose. (Especially where you’ve been doing this for several decades.) And I am happy to rescind that request—I’m not trying to steal your strategy, even if I am planning to clearly lay out mine.

But let’s back up: I think we must have a fundamentally different view of where the Web is today. (imho) Link-finding has changed dramatically from the early days of the Web. Back then, everything was a link. The whole landscape was personal home pages, web comics, and niche forums. Magellan-level exploration.

Today, the Web we’re inhabiting is a niche. There is very little growth out here by comparison. Surely, there is still an infinite landscape to explore, but much of it is ad-ridden, startup- or software-focused. ‘Bloggers’ are moving toward ‘influencers’. When people talk about ‘the blogs’, they think about pundits, TMZ-type Paparazzi and minor celebrities. The rest of blogging has become an extension of Pinterest: personal recipe and home decor blogs dominate.

The ‘Indieweb’/‘Indie Web’ is a niche like vinyl collectors. It won’t ever achieve mainstream significance again. When I talk to meatspace friends about The Web, they look at it as a quaint little city that doesn’t really offer them anything new. And the only thing I can appeal to is a type of idealism: aesthetic and political idealism.

So, whereas link-finding use to be the essential task of mapping out the frontier, our new task is different: to broadcast the location of our outpost so that the holdouts who are still blogging and the wanderers, who happen to be drawn to experiment with a blog, know where we are.

I really think that an important part of our work will be to lay out how we link-find—not so that newcomers can just copy the technique—but so that they know where we’re looking. If we’re looking at tags on Pinboard, then they know where to post on Pinboard. If we’re sharing on certain hashtags on Twitter, then they know. In the past, this might have caused those channels to be oversatured—but I really don’t think spam will be our problem. Our problem is survival.

Of course, we wish the old days would return. But the future will be better, somehow. I just don’t think it will inhabit The Web again.

If you disagree or roll your eyes at any of this—no problem, no problem whatsoever. The invitation is soft—no need to get involved with anything. Focus on your work. (Fantastic work!) I just hope that my efforts won’t be upsetting you in some way. I’d rather be of a benefit, if that can possibly be the case.

  1. Thanks for understanding what I was trying to say. Based on what you clarified in your reply, let me offer the following: I do find many links via pinboard and follow a large and growing list of users (via my network rss feed, which includes all of the users I've subscribed to). I cite the pinboard user as the source when a link I use comes from them (which is relatively easy to track). I find new pinboard users to follow both by browsing pinboard and by following and filtering the recent rss feed. I also follow a few tags like design, dev, blogs, automation, etc. The most important feed is the network feed,

    I also have a number of other sources I follow by feed and by browsing/exploring/surfing the web (which I won't share as a list though I've linked to many of them). In general, I try to cite sources when I find new links, though tracking all of that information has its limitations. Anyone who explores my sites can see my sources. If they don't see a source cited it might be that I couldn't track it, it's a link I've seen on more than one site, or it's the type of site I simply will not link to (for a number of reasons like ads, annoyances, or commercial content/tone, as examples). In many cases, I've linked to sites at the dailywebthing who are also sources/potential sources for other links. Several of your projects and Brad's directory are just a few examples. Finally on this subject, I've got to say that the community leads to a lot of web out there, particularly newer blogs.

    As far as how we view the web, I may be a little simple-minded about linking. My goal is to provide people with a pleasant web surfing experience, free of the ad-ridden crap and all the other types of annoyances that the web is full of (and always has been). To me, it's very subjective what I mean when I use like words like 'pleasant' or 'annoying' or even 'useful.' In my case, what I do when I 'link-find' is probably somewhat a reaction to some things I don't care for. The new indieweb tools do help get the word out and also lead to interaction - those are good things that enhance linking. But yes, it 's all kinda like vinyl records or even the Grateful Dead. I don't mind being part of the few. Mainstream is over-rated and scarcity adds value to the gems we find.

    I didn't think you wanted to 'merge' sites or anything like that. But it seemed to me you wanted to somehow coordinate our efforts, and whether I took that right or wrong, that's what I was responding to. I like your honesty too - it makes for meaningful discourse. Thanks.

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22 Jan 2019

Reply to BeachPackaging

It’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m quite in awe of the formidable breadth of your blog—and amazed that you have kept it so full of personality and fervor. Can I ask: how have you been able to keep Box Vox going so strong for TWELVE years??

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18 Jan 2019

Reply: We Are All Animals


Perhaps this is it: these visceral qualia form the most intense and common language between us all.

Boy, these letters you and h0p3 write—I feel such tension. On one hand, it’s really good to discover you and to write these almost old-fashioned personal letters that reach out with an arm and wriggle around and attempt to find some crack in the sentences where some potent, pungent piece of us can seep through. I have had so many e-mail chains and letter correspondence that went poorly—I had given up on personal writing.

I still feel anxious that I might not reciprocate well—or that what seeps out might be too very pungent. You might laugh awkwardly at that shocking smell and let it pass. Or you might produce a gaping horror on your face. You might go away—and here’s more tension, why would I need you? Why would I care if you needed to go your way? (Well, obviously, I don’t want to insult you. I want to try to enjoy what letters we do write while we are fortunate to be riding the same network packets.)

Perhaps the biggest tension is anonymity. I don’t know if I ever dare to shed it. I had hoped for such a comfortable place to be just a mere character. I like being my real identity here and there—just for moments, at times. But I want to be other people, too. To be dozens of them! (Here I am, pretending to be “Kicks”, but is it not “myself” that is talking here? Or is this just another Narrator meta-character, who is allowed to stay aloof and detached from all these faces?)

But I feel from our discussions: Who are you really? And: Let’s see each other plainly, let’s know each other well. This does make me wonder. Who am I really? (I think you ask yourself this question, too, in reading your old journals. Whoever was I?)

Of course I’ve followed along—in fact, straight off, I’ve wanted to talk to you about Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (etc.) and Shards of Infinity, because they’ve been favorites of mine, too. I am really into card games—and Ascension is one of the most divisive games I’ve played—the art, the theme, the way it’s played. (There’s a card in the first set that some friends call ‘racist dog’—don’t remember the exact name, but perhaps you’ve also noticed that you can see the lined paper in the background on some of the images from that set.) But I really enjoy the wild style of the art—I’m not sure it’s my favorite, but I get a kick out of it. Some of the art I just cannot understand, other cards I just adore—there’s a card with a kind of scuba guy on it that I think is amazing. I just love that the art stirs me up.

My favorite expansion was Storm of Souls, because the combos felt out-of-control at the time. But I’ve liked all of it. When it comes to games, I’m not a critic.

I think what you’re doing with your wiki is amazing! I’m not going to try to be poetic about it; I just want to gush openly. That you are finding your own ways to riff on h0p3’s work—it’s not a carbon copy—you’ve had a glimpse of futuristic sight-seeing that is guiding you, that’s what I really think.

It’s as if you’ve spread a giant sheet of graph paper before you on the floor—and have begun to box and triangulate your aspects, to map out yourself. And, to anyone watching (and why would they watch? well, hell, if I saw someone mapping out on a giant self-o-graph in the campus quad, I think I’d stop to see) they’ll see the places where they map onto you, or where their points go near or interweave. You have your own handwriting and flourishes of decorative arrows and bullets. And those discoveries made in the mundane and detailed, knotty parts of the graph could be surprising—these lines are all pathways of experience. Who knows which are the most vaunted.

I am often told, “I cannot imagine what X must be feeling, what X must endure.” (Where X is the epicenter of my pain. This person X is the epicenter, not me. I am given the luxury of crying. My effort is often to simply control my crying; X must spend the effort just to stay alive.)

“I cannot imagine…” But you must imagine. How can you not imagine? To imagine—that is the first step. To imagine that it is you and your life. To try to understand—which, incidentally, is exactly how you two have both reacted, to project the bare, vague, scattershot feelings of my heart—without even knowing the specifics—on to your life and into your imagined experience. And you both responded by wanting me to understand you, too—I like this, this is great, you think me capable of it.

So this is the graph paper, right? And we walk down whatever lines we want to. And some lines we just have to. The mazeway.

As we read the words of Others, our bodies respond with the knowledge and recognition of our deep wounds, our brokenness, our despondence, our faith, our hopes, our excitement; all of our being resonates together.

I am so jealous of the footnotes you both have. I am only setup for numeric kinds. Yours are like little secrets and ciphers. Sometimes I can tell what the letters mean—and it is like moth language coming through, too.

Public drafting is also working out very well. It’s strange that I get a more tri-dimensional sense of what the finish letter might mean. You’d think that the draft would only be full of imperfections. But it is its own model.

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12 Jan 2019

Reply: Wandering the Infinite Extremes


I’m glad to have the chance to engage in this. I am pretty goddamned worried I’m going to offend him right here.

I felt very worried about this, too, while I was working on my page for you. I was teasing you, of course. And that can feel like all the respect I might have is discarded for cheap sarcasm.

However, I think relationships need to be tested to see what they can withstand—one of the ‘teases’ on that page is that I paint you as having this overly analytical sense of humor and I take a shot at autism. This is pretty cruel! But your sense of humor is not really that way at all—your sense of humor is completely transgressive and degenerate—it’s fantastic—and part of your great work is in perpetually nailing up these new self-portraits of yourself that are ridiculous and grotesque—the jester in the almighty courts—though I think you see your inner self as very noble and refined, in a way. My writing this effacing page of you is simply the act of doing your work for you. You do this to yourself anyway on any given day—I am just joining you for once.

So I’m glad it gave you a laugh for a moment—I don’t think you’ve said anything remotely offensive to me, which is pretty disappointing. I would think that you of all people could pull it off and I’d like to see you try. My fear is that I’ve not revealed enough of myself for you to hang on to—so it may take some time for you to discover that I am a grotesque in a completely different form: I am an emotional wreck, crying and pleading day after day, a small and insignificant creature in my real form—weak and crushable like Gandalf’s little moth buddy that flits around in the chaos, whisphering insignificant greetings.

One of things which is beautifully striking about your absurdly flattering hypertext object is that you accept me as your retarded brother (all of my family do me a great kindness in this) that sometimes has a good point to make (even if this bastard takes fucking forever to say it to you).

Hahhaha! My God—it’s so much funnier when you mock yourself than when I do. I do accept you as my retarded brother!! Can I be yours as well? I am not as retarded as you are, of course, but I will try to be! I am daftly sucking the collar of my lime t-shirt as we speak. I am fully wetting it, brother.

Yet, I would like to extend my trust to you further at no cost to or expectation of you.

(Since I am responding to a draft, I am just hanging on to this sentence in case it disappears. It’s just wonderful. It reminds me of a travelling salesman—my Trust, the whole Caboodle, the brushes, the Extension Arm for the trust and the fur-lined Encasement—all at no additional cost. All I ask is that you do nothing. Don’t move a muscle.)

I would like to send my cards to an address (which will not be disclosed on this wiki) of your choosing (I can also just send you the digital copies).

I am not to this point yet. This is probably a bit awkward to navigate—let me just say that I don’t see my correspondence with you as a short-term whim. It is a long game. We have a lot of years ahead of us to find out why the hell we’re talking to each other and what the Fuck is going on.

You can ask and say anything—I think it’s amazing that you would want to pass cards, converse and possibly make chat logs together. But this blog is not me quite yet. I am emerging from two years of great sorrow and struggle. I am trying to find my way—not through depression, but just through grief. “Kicks” is my prototype for this self that could survive.

I am building him and you’re helping me greatly. Hopefully he will appear in more realistic and fully-fledged forms. I am not catfishing; I am just trying to have fun again. I think it’s working.

One thing I have to tell you about autism. I had this second-grade student named Ethan. One day I took the desks out of the classroom and put down yoga mats instead for the day. The kids came in and got comfortable on the floor, except Ethan who leaned against the wall, eating a Tootsie Pop. He was a big kid with a flat top and bushy eyebrows.

Many of the kids were complaining about Ethan not sitting and eating candy in class.

“I get to have this,” he said. “Ms. Principal said so. I have a ticket in my pocket to prove it. And I have to stand up, I can’t sit down.”

“Oh, wow,” I said. “You have to stand up? You’re going to stand up all day?”

“Look, I have autism,” he said. “Yeah, that’s right! And I have it pretty bad right now. Ms. Principal said I could have this sucker. I have the ticket and everything.”

The kids go into uproar. “Ms. Principal didn’t say he could have a sucker! She never lets us have candy in class! He’s lying!”

“Okay, look class, leave him alone, he has autism, at least for today,” I said. “Ethan, will it last into tomorrow?”

“I have autism,” he said, shrugging, motioning with his sucker. “I really get it bad sometimes.” His whole body language was like, “What can any of us do about it? We just have to deal, ok?”

It was a good day. He got to stand up and enjoy the sucker like he wanted. And the rest of us had a lot of fun reminding him that he had autism that day. He was, honestly, the least autistic person I think I’ve ever met.

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18 Dec 2018

Reply: Joe Reading h0p3

Joe Jenett

I’ve been exploring ⦗h0p3’s Wiki⦘ – amazing.

Cool! I’d be interested to hear more of your reaction. At first, I thought it was kind of a novelty—like a quirky little website, no big deal.

But I’m starting to think it’s a big deal! He solves a lot of his technical issues by simply coming up with human conventions to solve them. Rather than waiting for his wiki to become compatible with Reddit, he just copies and pastes his conversations from there. Rather than trying to setup a group or a forum to communicate between his readers—he just copies and pastes their e-mails, voila—they are suddenly reading each other!

Most importantly, he doesn’t rely on an algorithm to sift through his communication. He just reads—in true human form—and writes back in detail. And readers are expected to do the same. There are no ‘popular’ posts that people are reading or ‘hot’ posts that are stimulating conversation—you just have to dig around.

I also think he’s successfully merged microblogging, linkposting, ephemeral notetaking with the creation of a larger body of work—which all stems from his central lexicon that he’s working to define. It’s very inspiring to read h0p3 and then to think, “Hmm, if I put this kind of work into my own thoughts—how would it look?”

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My Url Is

“Be your own social network.”

Very good podcast with Greg McVerry. Off the bat:

The idea of blogging on my own domain and switching was part of my own growth. Whereas I think I—you know, you start on—everybody starts on some kind of scaffolded platform. Very few people just jump into HTML or build a, you know, CMS. They start on some kind of shared host. And that used to be blogging.

I have also been thinking that a domain gives you some resiliency against impersonation. If a Twitter user has a name close enough to mine and uses my same avatar, they can really come off as me. But mimicking my own domain and styling is a steeper barrier.

I also like the term ‘scaffolded platform’—which rings of Vygotsky rather than marketspeak—and I think it is far more interesting to think of innovating our scaffolded platforms rather than our social networks.

He also has some comments about how his online community, that of educators talking to and writing to each other, started trying to build things with RSS and blogs—but that it was a struggle until Known[1] spread, and Wordpress with Indieweb support spread, among his group.

He touches on RSS later in the discussion:

I think ‘mass follow’ feeds have like: it leaves a problem, it’s like, I just literally deleted my entire RSS feed after, what, like fifteen years I’ve been using it. Just because it got so broken with copying this OPML file and this file and this blog going like—I never groomed it. I’m a bad tagger, categorizer. I’m not good at, like, putting things away.

Greg goes on with an idea of a ‘reader’ which catalogs any blog that he makes a ‘follow’ post about. And it just adds them to his ‘network’.

I feel similar pain—I want to keep track of a lot more blogs and wikis than I actually have time for. I just wish I had a kind of dashboard that would show me an overview of what all the sites I read have been up to—and it would prioritize those sites that I am keeping a very close eye on—and it would just give me direct links to those blogs so that I could get around my network easier. I just don’t care for RSS—I like what it’s trying to do, but it’s not doing it for me.

Near the end, he also points out the friction between privacy and the Indieweb[2]:

Private groups: that is, like, the—that is—that’s the cash cow—I won’t say ‘cash cow’ as in ‘moneymaker’—but like, that’s always been the long-term goal. I don’t know if you’ve read Hertling’s Kill Process, but that idea of the Indieweb needing private posting—like the semi-private posting […] there’s something there.

It’s weird, but I really agree with this! I say ‘weird’ because part of me just wants to give up on privacy on the Web—maybe we just have to accept that everything is private. But this sucks—there are many private thoughts and nascent ideas that I want to store here, to collaborate on in the shadows. If the ‘blog’/‘wiki’ can be a ‘home’—then it needs its hiding places, its private gathering rooms. (And it does have these—just not on blogs, generally.)

I’ve been thinking about taking a stab at this with Greg mentions using h-cards to accomplish this. And his idea can certainly work and I would like to see it happen. But I may not want my whole blog to go private—I also envision myself posting some things to private groups, some things to public groups, some things that are general public musings. And I think works well for this—you add the link to your post and that post goes to that group.

What I think I will add is encryption. So, basically, you could create a ‘sub’ that is a whitelist—you add blogs or wikis to the ‘sub’ individually. If the ‘sub’ is marked private, those blogs or wikis will need to login with IndieAuth to get a key to read the posts. The hard part would be encrypting the post on the blog itself—you’d need an extension or a separate tool for that.

The nice thing is that a static blog could suddenly support private groups without much trouble. (And, in fact, the static blog software could store the unencrypted posts locally—much like an e-mail reader keeps a local database of fetched e-mail—so that the posts could be backed up for the author, in case the key ever got lost.)

  1. Known, a blogging platform which connects with the Indieweb. ↩︎

  2. Another sore spot in the Wars of Conflicting Webs. ↩︎

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22 Nov 2018

Reply: Dark v Light


I have tried to go for the white background, and I can’t. =( I’m sorry.

Fleshing out a footnote in the spacing between parts eight and nine of my reply.

Ok—this is a great angle I haven’t approached yet. Do I provide a dark whostyle? Does it get computed from the actual whostyle? Could there be several variants offered?

I also think it’s really cool that you ended up just baking your own style that feels like me to you. Hey, yeah, go with that.

Well, if someone redesigns—might they still want to give people out there a choice between the old and the new? I think there is no need to overdesign this. I think you could just offer multiple whostyles. The hard part, for me, is to concoct a dark style from what I have—but this excites me, I’m on it.

If you have a secondary mildly-darker background I can use, I will use that. I hate that the solution to my light sensitivity detracts from your intentional style.

Yeah, it’s not practical for me to make custom styles for every user of my website—perhaps that’s where your troubled feelings arise. But fuck practicality! I will gladly make a custom style for anyone out there. If you care enough to read, then I would like to care enough to make things comfortable to you.

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21 Nov 2018

Reply: More Joe Questions


@kicks Thanks for the compliment kicks. Though it’s never totally free of bad links, a fair amount of time is spent revisiting sites along with periodic link checking sessions. Glad to know you couldn’t find one - yay! I found your blog recently via this very thread - very unique. Spoiler alert: It’s in the pointers queue.

Wow, you hand-check the whole thing?? Ok, wow, so if you don’t mind I have a few more questions—actually, quite a few more, but I’ll constrain myself!

  1. A lot of links I find through just old-school surfing, but there are some tools that are like virtual mines for me. (Google is often useless, because a search for ‘interesting blog’ usually just yields clickbait and I don’t want to just regurgitate that stuff.) What tools or sites have you found most useful for discovering links?
  2. Also, is surfing a kind of skill? I mean: finding obscure avenues, well, they are obscure—hard to find by definition! At the same time, having a ‘linkpost’ at least provides an intersection between worlds where people can find each other. Do people find you? Is that just as important as you finding them?
  3. And, yeah, since you’ve been doing this for several decades—has linking changed over time? Like: what is modern linking?

Also, if you’d rather post your answers as a blog post, I can link to that. Great to meet you—I’m immediately a huge fan!

  1. @kicks @jenett Ditto on all those link Q's. Surely it has required great patience & perseverance over many years.

  2. @kicks I'm just seeing this and appreciate your interest (and your's too, @Ron ). These are thought-provoking questions and will take me some time to process. I've been meaning to write more about some of these things.

    The web, and the way I approach it, has changed drastically over the years. For now, a few things I find most useful for discovering links: People, as in people with similar interests who publically share bookmarks on Pinboard; and people with personal blogs and sites who link to what they like (bring back the blogrolls, please). and the indieweb movement are helping bring more people back to blogging, which is certainly helpful in discovering more of the types of sites I like to share.

    As far as tools go, a good feed reader (with filtering) is a must. Sifting takes time and feeds save time. For searching, The 'human-edited' directory @bradenslen is building is an excellent discovery tool.

    Stay tuned - I'll definitely put some thought into answering your other questions. Glad to meet both of you too!

  3. @jenett I myself used to love the blogrolls! Back around 2004-2005 there was a blog on Blogger called Two Things, places and sites of interest. It's how I discovered the unfortunately no longer working 43Things.

  4. @jenettIt was, in fact a linkblog.

  5. @hope Right now, Readkit (macOS only) is the best reader I could find to do what I need, including integration with Fever, a self-hosted tool I also use. Though ReadKit has a few bugs/issues, it's still the best in my mind and a recent update brought definite improvements.

  6. @jenett Is Fever still being developed? Also, will it let you view just one individual feed, instead of all the articles at a time? Lol I really don't like my RSS reader to look like Twitter!

  7. @hope I seem to remember that Fever is no longer being developed. You can view one feed or one folder of feeds at a time. It’s nice but I definitely prefer the desktop app over the web app and what I do would be intolerable without the filtering option. For me, anyway.

  8. @kicks Regarding “hand-checking the whole thing,” the periodic revisiting of sites is more of a spot-checking thing. Using a link-checking tool is the better way to check a large number of links at a time. I can safely say the majority of the links are good links but keeping up with link-checking is a challenge (it's time-consuming). I'm convinced that being totally free of bad links is the right goal but reaching it is impossible.

  9. @kicks I've answered a few other questions in my latest post at https/

  10. @kicks I've answered a few other questions in my latest post at

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17 Nov 2018

Reply: Doorknobs Out of Reach


It’s hard to beat the flexibility, resilience, and longevity of flat textfiles, but that is almost definitionally committing to non-committing. I like both extremes.

Part one of thirty-five.

Sweet letter—I’m going to dig into this further over the next while, I’m going not to say much here, because h0p3 has many things to do and I don’t want there to be any timer started just yet, in fact, let’s suppose that I’ve already written a very lengthy reply, but am just sitting on it, to let the wide variety of worthwhile non-hyperconversation things transpire. Just want to mop a few fallen fruits off the floor.

TW defeats a number of frictions like a champion. I posit that TW is radically more decentralization-capable than Dat. Legions of analog and digital systems can move one file, but it is possible only few will speak Dat.

Oh, for sure—its resilience is proven. I side with TiddlyWiki in the long-term, no doubt. In fact, I am siding with its powers of adaptation. It runs on Node, it runs on Beaker—let’s push that adaptation further. (Perhaps this means that Dat is less resilient and will fall—but I think the protocol has to be narrow/simple to see widespread use.)

My money is on WASM-Web 3.0 taking further down that rabbithole.

I’m great with this, so long as we don’t lose hypertext in the process.

To my eyes, Dat is competing with IPFS, Syncthing, Resilio Sync, mutable torrents, etc. For now, I just use Resilio Sync for the functional Dat-properties I need.

Try to keep in mind that it’s not even Dat that excites me about Beaker. It’s that you can read-write entire locally synced folders from the same languages ‘for which every computer has a virtual machine’. With Beaker, I can make an editable copy of your wiki—even if it was split into tiddlers, even if it was in a thousand pieces.

This is clearly an innovation that we follow. Take the rock-solid v.machine and let it create, babe.

I’m a P2P idealist who agrees there are classes of problems which can only efficiently be federated.

Mmmm, yes—same here. One of my fave networks was Soulseek. You could connect to people and see all the files they were sharing. I ended up just raiding people’s shelves rather than trying to track down Pavement b-sides. But that required some kind of cohesive network where you can ‘see’ everyone.

Wowowow-it’s still there! Just installed. There is a lot of good stuff still on here. How has it stayed so obscure and devout?

A starting place for the opposite style seems like poetry or crystallized summation. It only shows semblances, outlines, glimpses, fragments, and impressions on purpose. I think it must be antipleonasmic.

Yeah, this is a sweet letter. I hope there’s a worthy reply somewhere in my timeline.

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13 Nov 2018

The Federation

A directory of ‘federated’ communities.

A list of all of the various blogging and messaging services that are connected to each other by way of ‘federation’ (e.g. Mastodon). This is impressive—user statistics and lists of smaller communities within each group. I’ve thought that the Indieweb was ‘ahead’ of the Fediverse, but it’s much easier to find each other with this kind of centralized directory.

I also generally advocate human-curated directories. But, in the case of examining the offerings of a network, this kind of entirely machine-constructed catalog makes perfect sense. A stat-based and rather spreadsheet-like view is the whole point.

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02 Nov 2018

Reply: Federated Wiki and Directories

Brad Enslen

I think our choice of tools is widening. I’m going to experiment with Dokuwiki. And you really need to check out Federated Wiki. It’s that copying feature, in essence “forking” another persons post, that really caught my eye and made me think back to all your conversations with h0p3.

I spent about a week playing with Federated Wiki and was initially extremely excited about it—I’ve always admired Ward Cunningham’s work, there was a recent blog post called The Garden and the Stream that promoted Fed Wiki as a way to do Hypertexting (‘the garden’) and I had hoped to integrate my hypertext with it.

However, it simply did not function for me and I could not seem to find useful protocol documents. I didn’t even feel like it was worth posting about yet. I will continue to keep an eye on it to see if it becomes something practical. (Even as a reader, I find really neat but difficult to use—I feel that it is more opaque than TiddlyWiki even.)

If you chose to go with a search feature, I was going to add you to the search engines at the bottom of Indieseek’s SERP like I did with That way I could share traffic – like someday when I have traffic, with your directory.

Yeah, so—I think we start talking about federating our directories. Here are some basic starting points:

  1. A central search engine that we can use to index our directories. I will work on this at some point. Or maybe sites like could collaborate with us. I may require microformats for the directory entries and maybe there will be a novel way to use Webmentions.

  2. And, possibly, a directory using the same index—the question is how to find matches between our categorization systems. Perhaps we could treat categories like tags—or to provide a mapping to another category system.

  3. Perhaps a way of collecting submissions from a central bucket? Maybe we could publish our submissions on a page, regardless of whether they’re included—this could also be useful for establishing a spam list.

  4. It would be cool to syndicate entries—like I may want to take an entry from yours and embed it in mine. People may want to syndicate entries elsewhere—maybe as Twitter cards. And, most importantly, I may want to periodically ‘guest’ a directory and highlight that directory’s activity for a month.

I think it’s also useful to acknowledge that this is all different from Pinboard because our directories:

  • Are heavily filtered. We don’t include stuff that is ‘to-be-read’ or not (in our view at least) of very high quality or interest.

  • Entries generally have thorough commentary.

  • There is kind of a team thing going on—you and I are working separately, but there is a lot of collaboration and linking going on—I see this being good long-term because we can rope in others who cover other topics and act like a decentralized DMOZ. We could even safely double-up on the same topics because people will have different takes.

Interesting point about using comments and stars yourself. Sounds cool!

I will definitely add a query string search and will look at doing what you do on your results page. Cool, so far, so good.

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29 Oct 2018

Reply: Self-Made Doorways


I think if you look through FTO, my letters to people are meant to be the initial entry points for each of them. However one chooses to build and focus the storyriver in their link to this hyperobject is a curated entry point. […] curation appears to be something any agent can be engaged in here.

A discussion of portals into a large hypertext.

Ok, this is rich—this point is on fire. We agree, yeah, oh hell yeah we agree. This is what I’m saying every third paragraph about how our technology is underutilized. This is a great example of the ‘social’ overemphasis of the single ‘post’ or ‘link’ or ‘article’ as opposed to the hypertext ‘body’.

(For anyone just joining this conversation, h0p3’s link in the quote above loads about 10 pieces of hypertext that represent his current ‘place’ in this massive [20 megabyte] ‘body’ he’s creating—so the ‘link’ he’s sent doesn’t represent a single ‘article’ or ‘tweet’, which is what we’re trained to think of a ‘link’ representing. And I wonder—beyond h0p3’s twenty megs—how can I ‘link’ to the ten related tabs I might have open so that you can see them together? How can you create your own ‘link’ that puts me into the center of a hypertext perspective you have?)

(In some ways, this reminds me of heavily cross-referenced and footnoted texts like religious scripture—which are hyperlinked in a fashion—and folks have long batched together references to these works through verse-chapter or page citations, and most often through quotes. The amazing feature of the link above is that it isn’t just a set of quotes—it is the definitive source material, connected to the live author. Is it possible that citation could be improved by allowing one to construct a link of views to many definitive hypertexts?)

I won’t even touch Reddit [and it’s spidering onto the rest of the web] without half a dozen tweaks and tools; it’s not worth my time.

I like to say that all our problems are human problems at this point—but I think I am starting to see that every site needs good search, some kind of indexing and a way of positioning it within the whole landscape outside of it. I wonder what tools you find most useful—are they just useful within Reddit or should they be available to you and I somehow?

I grant, however, that some methods are better than others. What counts as finding relevance in our hyperreading in general is some ridiculously hard problem. It’s probably fair to say most people will quickly run out of things they find worth reading on this wiki (if they found anything).

Yeah, I think if we start to get too ‘hyper’ we get lost in the linkage and things get blurry. I mean when it comes down to it, I just want to do some very basic things: meet people, connect thoughts, really dig into a concept, see neat things—and try to route around the armchair arrogance that seems to be plaguing the world.

I don’t plan to read your whole wiki—I plan to use it to research your takes as we correspond and to consult it while I’m studying, to see what other directions I can go. (I wonder if you’ll agree with this:) I think the point isn’t to make your wiki the Penn Station of philosophy—I just think some valuable things will bubble up out of your project that will connect to Penn Station bidirectionally. Just like I might draw from Vigoleis or Dr. Strangelove from time to time— is in there, too.

I’m not sure if I can say that they are manipulating the feed.

Manipulators treat the minds of others as mere means; they do not respect your dignity. Satya Nadella is a manipulator. Does that mean he and cabal of powerful deep state actors have conspired to control every little detail of your mind? No. But, the science of rhetoric, mass manipulation, and our ability as a species to produce increasingly effective apex predators only continues to rise. Power centralizes at any cost, including moral ones.

I guess I try to manipulate the feed, too, so yeah, of course he’s manipulating the feed. Why I’m reluctant to just pin the award on him: I’m not sure he’s actually accomplishing what he claims to be. I love that he’s put all of this work into influencing Hacker News, but his boasting about it could clearly undo all that work—so what kind of master manipulator are we really dealing with here?

The short-term efforts undermine the long-term—his infrastructure is not nearly as sound as it seems.

What are games except for sets of rules we play by to win?

Yeah, man, good questions. I think the trolls are way ahead in this effort—I think they see that they can create games that are honeypots. And I do think that the Internet still holds the power to flip the structure so that it is the powerful who get caught in these games that they think they can play. (Thus, the meme warfare centers.) I think the trouble is that trolls are chaotic and can align anyway they like—evil, neutral and good—are even ‘neutral’ and ‘good’ more likely to turn out to be ‘evil’ than vice versa? On the other hand, chaotics have been the Robin Hoods, the Guy Fawkeses, the Snowdens perhaps. I think we benefit by tapping into that subversive light-heartedness.

As you point out, we are still going to need a standard for when we define something as cooperating. If I respond to your letters with one word answers, I’m offering a token. You cannot escape measuring reality to some very large extent. I think this is part of our plight. Yet, the goal is to not be overly quantitative (where, unfortunately, “overly” is quantitative).

Oh—I like your arguments, answers and agreements on the T42T outlines. I think this also goes in with my thoughts on what I called ‘pluralism’ (but which really just means ‘a multimodal system of thinking’)—just as one needs to both ‘quantify’ and restrain from such a thing, just as one must respond in kind, respond with a token, respond with a tome (and never know precisely if one is doing it ‘right’)—it is always a constant balancing in a battle of extremes and competing ideals. Much like a relationship is a balance between what I am looking for and you are looking for.

So also I look at socialism and capitalism as arrows in my quiver; left and right as sides of myself more than two religions at war. This is overly simplistic—but so is T42T, it is a useful starting place for me. It is not the end, it is the curated entry point. It is the self-made doorway.

(The remainder of your letter—the part that essentially argues for staking a position—I am going to digest and figure out how to respond. I don’t have any problem with what you’re saying in a general sense; it is principled. I, personally, cannot get myself to ratchet down to anything concrete, for some reason. I think part of it is that I really do enjoy human beings—I am hard-staked against misanthropy—and that puts me in a really weird place wrt to modern culture and forming an alliance with a group rather than an individual. But if the mindset is totally bereft, then I am willing to abandon it.)

(As far as the TiddlyWiki loader: I am also waiting for more inspiration there. I think of that prototype as ‘chapter one’—I usually have to batch up ideas and code fragments in order to realize them. But glad it got the conversation going. I am thinking a lot about versioning—for example, can the timestamp also be part of the curated doorway that is the undercurrent of this exchange?)

  1. @kicks These are the discussions that are showing me the value of the wiki format - online - even if it is just one's own musings and notes. Online other's can read and either reject or build upon those posts. So it's better than just having a private wiki notebook only on your own computer.

    Question: Wiki's as we currently know them are more about writing (knowledge base) connected in a non-linear fashion and minimal heirarchy, so can one make a wiki/directory - a fusion of the two forms? Not quite a wiki as we presently know it but not quite a directory either, but still a portal that lists other websites and is used to navigate the web. It would need to be searchable. Next question, would it be useable, or to put it another way would the man on the street understand it? Can it scale?

    I think this is something to think about.

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26 Oct 2018
19 Oct 2018

Reply: Emergent Connections Between You, the Readers of These Hypertext Piles

Pinboard and as clustering tools.

Ok ok, one other thing that has dawned on me: it’s not just the emergent connections between writers that is salient when clustering. It’s the connections between readers as well! (This is one thing that Google cannot possibly capture.)

To akaKenSmith’s point:

Having found each other, kindred parties need a work space where they can develop shared understandings.

The old Delicious was this kind of workspace for readers - a similar effort can be found in Pinboard.

One interesting thing I like to do with Pinboard is to look up a link - say ‘The Zymoglyphic Musem’ (results here) and then look at the other bookmarks for those who found the link. For example, the user PistachioRoux.

All of those links are now related to ‘The Zymoglyphic Museum’ by virtue of being in the realm of interest of PistachioRoux. YouTube uses these sorts of algorithms to find related videos by matching your realms of interest with someone else’s. However, in the process, that person is removed. (Or ‘those people’, more appropriately.) PistachioRoux is removed.

But perhaps PistachioRoux is the most interesting part of the discovery.

Particularly in a world which is becoming dominated by writers rather than readers - maybe the discovery of valuable readers is part of this.

Say a post tagged with #how_to #mk #fix_stabs could be crawled and collected into a single mechanical keyboard maintenance page. All that really calls for is emergent keywords from communities and tagging posts which bloggers can do and automations can assists with.

This does sound a lot like, as @jgmac1106 mentioned. The concept is simple:

  • Blogger ‘tags’ their post with a URL:
  • Their Webmention (pingback) software notifies that URL: “Hey, a post has been made on this tag.”
  • checks the page for a valid link - sure enough.
  • The blog post is added to that URL on

So the emergence should come from blogs clustering around a given URL.

I’ve been wondering if they could do a similar thing with - a ‘general’ blog community could be established around a simple ideal like that.

Might look like this:

  • Blog links to on their home page.
  • notices visitors coming from that page and checks that page for the link and the image.
  • If found, it adds the blog to a directory, using the meta description and keyword tags.

The home page then becomes a directory of the community. So, kind of like a webring, but actually organized. With Twitter cards and such floating in the metadata, it is probably much easier to extrapolate a good directory entry.

Spam is an issue with this approach - but it’s a start toward discovery. There aren’t a whole lot of ways for a blog to jump out from the aether and say, “I’m over here - blogging about keyboards too!” And, in a way, the efforts to squash abuse and harassment are making it more difficult.

This can become an important component in the new discovery system like how awesome-blahblah github repos are playing a key role in open source discovery.

I think it’s important to point out, though, that ‘awesome’ directories are intended to be human-curated, not generative. They feel like a modern incarnation of the old ‘expert’ pages.

  1. Ok ok, one other thing that has dawned on me: it’s not just the emergent connections between writers that is salient when clustering. It’s the connections between readers as well!

    In this way, I think blogs are a whole lot like essays:

    Of all forms of literature, however, the essay is the one which least calls for the use of long words. The principle which controls it is simply that it should give pleasure; the desire which impels us when we take it from the shelf is simply to receive pleasure. Everything in an essay must be subdued to that end. It should lay us under a spell with its first word, and we should only wake, refreshed, with its last.

    -- Virginia Woolf, The modern essay

  2. This is too good to be true. Yesterday I read Sebastiaan's write-up of how he graphically a link between two individuals who both liked the same thing on the internet, and how, by doing that, he could alert himself to things he might like.

    Today I finally see, in my reader, an earlier post from Kicks Condor, in which he talks about surfacing other readers who have linked to things he has linked, and how that might help him to discover interesting things to read. That could even be the basis of a self-organising discovery engine.

    Clearly, they ought to know about one another. Maybe this post of mine will trigger that.

  3. Reply: It’s a Link Thing (Re: Graph-Based Indie-reading)

    Jeremy Cherfas

    This is too good to be true. Yesterday I read Sebastiaan’s write-up of how he graphically [made] a link between two individuals who both liked the same thing on the internet, and how, by doing that, he could alert himself to things he might like.

    Today I finally see, in my reader, an earlier post from Kicks Condor, in which he talks about surfacing other readers who have linked to things he has linked and how that might help him to discover interesting things to read. That could even be the basis of a self-organising discovery engine.

    Clearly, they ought to know about one another. Maybe this post of mine will trigger that.

    Cool, yes, the alert worked! That alone is very worthwhile and goes a long way toward discovery. In a way, I think this is the most idealized form—you’ve just done the equivalent of “Hey, check this out” and I am very fortunate that I get to read your reasoning rather than to simply see a like in my box.

    I like that Sebastiaan’s end goal is to discover a person and not just CONTENT. To some extent the networks do this: mostly they promote trending squares of blurbs and images, but sometimes you see a note: “Follow these three people.” But you have no idea why and it’s not always based on similarity of our link neighborhoods, but based on geographical closeness or crossing some popularity threshold or your search terms and so on.

    I don’t want to be so allergic to social networks that I can’t see the positive tools—bubbling up blurbs and images can be good fun, liking things is effortless nudging—but I think the Indieweb has already improved on this because its protocols are so light that it forces the human connections. (The ‘homebrew website’ clubs are the opposite of viral marketing.) You could see these as counterproductive—but the problem with ‘productive’ protocols is that they become so saturated as to be useless. Google, for instance, is so good that it is useless.

    I still think algorithms are tremendously useful, particularly when the hypertexter controls the algo. And Sebastiaan is toying with this. I wonder to what degree his query language could simplified as to be more widely useful. Perhaps there is an Excel-type language that could become the dials for the ‘archivist’/‘librarian’/‘curator’ role.

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17 Oct 2018

Reply: Finding Blogs in the Future

Don Park

I feel that discovery layer is missing or lacking. blogrolls didn’t scale. ring blogs just sucked. SEO is just survival-of-the-fittest money pit.

Discovery layer is critical. Without it, even recent push to reshape blogs into shops is meaningless. even small towns have a Main Street for discovery.

Blogrolls worked more like book recommendations. Hard to maintain too. Worked well with new technology. With other and over multiple topics, not so well. We need a more self-organizing and ad-hoc, emergent if you will.

It’s constant work—finding each other through the noise.

Hi, folks - just jumping in because this is my wheel house a bit. I have been having an extended discussion with Brad Enslen (so, on our blogs: and about discovery. We talk a lot about how this is more of a human problem than a technology problem - and that technology has played a negative role in this, perhaps.

(My part in this is: I have been spending time every day for the past six months searching for blogs - to see what the Web looks like outside of social networks. So I have a good perspective on where one can search nowadays - you can’t just type ‘blogs’ into Google. And I’m starting to get a good feel for where I would want to go to find blogs.)

blogrolls didn’t scale. ring blogs just sucked. SEO is just survival-of-the-fittest money pit.

Yes, so - for sure. (See Brad’s comment on Google here.)

In addition, self-promotion has become a dirtier word these days - you can’t just post your blog to Reddit and Instagram - it’s seen as being overly assertive. So there is almost nowhere for blogs to go.

The thing is: no, blogrolls didn’t scale - but I think they are pretty essential. We’ve traded a human-curated list of links for a ‘friends’ list that is really just a number on an individual’s feed. And the best blogrolls had nice descriptions of who was who (see: Chris Aldrich’s following page as a good example) which is a generous way of turning your readers on to other good work.

I guess I just think of it practically: how would we treat our friends and the other ‘writers’/‘artists’ we admire - by making them a number in our list? Or by spelling it out: “Annie writes about her processes as a sci-fi writer and how to improve online relationships. Basically - it’s uplifting to read her.”

Blog clusters are emergent. Fake or not, blogs with posts on similar topics will be mapped to same cluster which can be seen as a place in which a blog belongs to. Once we have that, a blog reader should be able to ‘pop out’ of that blog and see some visual representation of that cluster with neighboring blogs, not unlike a shopper leaving a store will see a street lined with other shops. That’s how discovery is done IRL and I envision that may be possible online.

Sweet - feels practical. One question I have here is: ok, so blogs have also become more topic-based. The most common blogs are recipe blogs, movie blogs, etc. But a great ‘lost’ element of blogs was just the original web journal or meta blog, where a person is just writing about whatever - I think of stuff like the old J-Walk blog or Bifurcated Rivets. Even Boing Boing used to be more this way. (So like an online ‘zine’.)

I think the orderliness of the Internet and the systems for discovery - these blogs were not found through Google, but only because there was more of an ethic of linking to each other among early blogs. A lot of discovery was just being done by bloggers back then - people simply passed links around.

Again, ‘likes’ have drained linking of a lot of its bite. We don’t write so much about why we like something - we like it and move on. And it’s so easy to ‘like’, it is done so vigorously that even we can’t keep up with our own likes - whereas we used to be limited by how much energy we would spend dressing up our links.

I’m with Don on this – whatever is going to have a chance to work has to be emergent, meaning it can’t require any investment on the part of writers.

I think ‘emergent’ can require work - in fact, it might demand work. Yes, too much work will dissuade anyone. But if it’s too easy, then it’s virtually worthless. I think the value of human curation is in its additional care.

An algorithm cannot simulate the care. Chris’ blogroll linked above is done with care - a human can plainly see that another human has taken the time to write about others. And the more time he spends designing it and improving it, the more it shows that care. People can visit my blog and see that it is built with care. (To me ‘care’ can be represented by thoughtful writing and splendid artistry or shaping of the information.)

Ok - sorry to go on so long, I hope you see this as my effort to generously engage in your discussion.

The effort Brad and I are now engaged in is an effort to bring back the link directory and to attempt to innovate it based on what we’ve learned. (Link directories have already evolved several times into: blogrolls, wikis, link blogs, even the App Store’s new ‘magazine’ approach, etc.) The idea is to jump right into discovery and link up with anyone else who wants to get in on it. Thus, my reply today!

Good to meet you all - take care.

  1. @kicks Interesting. Good discussion on Github.

    I think there are some things we can automate better while still having human curation. For example: on a blog, I'd love to have a spider that harvests tags and categories and how many posts for each tag so I can get a sense of what that blogger spenda a lot of time writing about. Because some blogs are so big you really can't poke through it all.

    I'm beginning to think single author wiki's are way under utilized. Blogs are cool but relentless about pushing down older posts.

  2. Reply: Robot Plus Human

    Brad Enslen

    I think there are some things we can automate better while still having human curation.

    Mild automation alongside hypertexting in the Indieweb.

    Oh yes—I quite agree! I didn’t when I started this blog—I was pretty burned out on algorithms. But I’ve calmed down and, yeah, I think your word of ‘automation’ is more friendly to me than ‘algorithm’.

    I’m really getting a lot of good stuff out of Pinboard—it is better than Google, DDG, Million Short or any directory at finding interesting stuff. And it is due to its balance between machine and human: the humans find the link and tag it; the machine collates everything for the researcher. You can do pretty complex queries with it, which I am using every day now. (As an example: /u:krudd/t:links/t:web shows me all links tagged ‘web’ and ‘links’ under the user ‘krudd’.)

    However, it is still totally underutilized. I would be surprised if there were five other people on the Earth mining it like I am. (This wasn’t true of the old Delicious—it was a golden age for this kind of mining of bookmarks.)

    One great thing to automate would be Webmentions for Pinboard. Think of it: when you (Brad) mention me, I put a link to you at the bottom of that page. You are another writer, so if someone likes your comment, they can visit you to see more of your writings.

    But if I had Webmentions from Pinboard, you could go to the bottom of my page and see what readers are mentioning my page. And those readers can be visited—not to see what they are writing, but to see what else they are reading. There is a temptation to remove the reader’s name and just inline their relevant links at the bottom of my post. But I think that removing the human possibly destroys the most valuable piece of information.

    I’m beginning to think single author wiki’s are way under utilized. Blogs are cool but relentless about pushing down older posts.

    I’m starting to categorize the ‘blogging’ and ‘wiki-ing’ actions under the superset called ‘hypertexting’. Both are about simply writing hypertexts, but blogs arrange those texts in a linear summary and wikis arrange them as a web which starts from a single entry point. (And a self-contained hypertext book or directory would be a tree.)

    I think that if we could retreat to mere ‘hypertexting’ and then give people a choice of entry points, we could marry the ephemeral and the permanent and do exciting things with the entire body of the ‘hypertext’. This is where my blog is moving toward and it’s obviously inspired by h0p3’s system and the Indieweb as a whole.

  3. @kicks I like the term "hypertexting" as you define it! More and more I feel the need to try a wiki on something, The linear aspects of blogs are feeling constraining.

    I also need to try Pinboard.

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16 Oct 2018

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12 Oct 2018

Reply: Those Darn Phantoms


[to h0p3] I appreciate the exchange of notes! I feel the Dunbar Number problem; I think we can geek out together with informality, while also engaging each other on a higher level with the more formal, thoughtful, or directed letters.

I’m not really responding to your draft here—just testing the ‘whostyle’ I’m working on for your quotes. Of course, this is your idea, S. It’s simplified compared to what the two of you can do cross-wiki. I’m trying to decide if I want to copy h0p3’s complete letters over. I think I am against it.

I think about the Dunbar Number now and then. I’ve always felt resigned to it. There’s a limit, so why reach out? Maybe the point is to have few friends and find ‘depth’.

But I’m feeling awfully pluralistic—I just want to embrace the reverse as well. Can’t let a scientific number say how it should all be. ‘Knowing people’ seems like ‘all’ that should be. To make it easy to know me—say a bit here and there, but no need to be popping up all the time; to make it easy to know others—read many and try to develop the skill of ‘feeling’ for who they are, acknowledging their tones and colors.

There are people I’ve known my whole life who are still a mystery, whose relationship still feels tentative—I question whether depth can be. Perhaps there is only commitment.

A person changing changes the ‘depth’. When a singer’s voice or style changes, we have to start liking them from the place where they last were. But a singer who sang me a great song once—well, I could be devoted forever in sheer gratitude.

I quietly write this existentially isolating autopoietic self-idiom to (and seek the approval of) both current and future [conscious and non-conscious computational processes] which comprise my identity, the family I love, Humanity, The Others, the philosophers, my causal and especially memetic [sublators, descendents, and inheritors], any possible posthuman or AI-related demigods interpreting this text beyond some inconceivable (for me personally) techno-epistemic-blackbox singularity, and every appropriately fitting metaphysical object which transcends the limits of my mind or world.

Just testing another ‘whostyle’ here.

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09 Oct 2018

Reply to paulg

Paul Graham

[On the topic of Hacker News’ creation] At first it was called Startup News, but it was so boring reading about nothing but startups that a few months later we broadened the focus.

XDXDXD—imagine if the startup-related news was excised.

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Reply: Not Technically Salmentions

Eddie Hinkle

I don’t think it technically follows Salmention but it achieves similar results. Salmention requires each post to send it’s children posts up the chain. Since owns the whole thing it simplifies things. But the key is that if I’m not the originator of the conversation and someone replies to me, I’ll still be the replies to my post.

Ok, got it. It’s interesting—we kind of have to do this on our personal sites anyway. Like if I get a reply from myself further down the conversation, it’s useful to just use the post I ‘own’ directly rather than go parsing myself. 😄

It’s kind of tough to get it all working by hand—but it’s also amazing, so I’ll take it!

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Reply: Verify and T42T


I care about {Verify}. That doesn’t mean I’ve built it well or correctly. But it’s important to me that I can sign my wiki. This wiki is epicly portable, and I think signing makes good sense. Your tool makes signatures a bit more complicated, and I ask for your advice.

I realize you’re writing a draft 😉 but I’m going to say make a few squeaks and then go back to work.

So, {Verify} should actually be pretty trivial to add. Since the diffs are generated by this script, there would just need to be a step added to generate the .sig file (or add the hash to the .json file—the hash could be used by the loader to do the check there.) I will work on adding that soon—because my curiosity is peaked enough.

I fear I fail to T42T both you and kickscondor by failing to reciprocally build a useful tool for you. I’m trying to think of how I can contribute to your lives and art as much as you have for me. I apologize for not knowing how to do that. I feel inept like someone who doesn’t know how to buy a good Christmas present for their friend (and that makes me a bad friend). I don’t know you well enough to figure out how to create a gift that you’ll love and use. I’m sorry! I’m thinking about it.

So I think this is one of the possible misprojections of T42T—it leaves someone in ‘debt’. It is a very rational approach to relationships, because it reduces the interaction to numerical totals. But those numbers are very hard to derive—how much is the script I wrote worth? 2T? 3T? 16T? And how much are the thorough, immensely thoughtful replies that you write? Is that 2T? 53T?

Oh and: does 2T literally mean double? Or is it just a bit step beyond single T?

And–what is T? Does T represent “your last set of actions” in our relationship? So, if you just pulled off a 2T (doubled my T)—T is now 2T, expanding 2T into 4T from now on.

My take is that T is simply a ‘neutral’ action. It is a token of cooperation—it is not measured. I realize that 2T and perhaps even plain T imply a measurement, but I think that (might be wrong) measurement requires too much maintenance and is too difficult to sync (how do we keep our measurement identical?) so I see T as ‘neutral’ and 2T as simply ‘positive’—it will be hard enough for us (humans) to agree on the polarity of a T. So maybe let’s start there.

This way a simple ‘thank you’ for a massive gift can still be T42T. (If I were to remove the numerals: I might look at T4T as neutral-for-neutral and T42T as neutral-or-positive-for-positive. The question then becomes how to derive a polarity for an action—which brings us back to ‘the moral imperative’ and ‘the golden rule’ and the rest of THAT discussion that you are having.)

I’ve also read Grim Trigger, but I’m not talking about a recovery strategy in case T42T becomes malignant—this about how to do it in a realistic but generous way. To live it sustainably in a relationship like ours (it’s a tentative, nascent arrangement; but I think we both just want to make it work long-term.)

At any rate, I hope that riffing on your thoughts counts as a plus; your thankyous are sufficient and your generous replies are 2T always!

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Reply: Webmention Improvements on

Manton Reese

Improved replying on to send Webmentions to any external site in the reply chain, not just the root post. This more consistently allows replies to be copied to multiple external blogs that are participating in the conversation.

Sweet! So this works identically to Salmentions?

Ok, let me see if I’ve got this right—if I reply to a reply that’s later in the chain, I try to track down the original post like this:

  1. Load the URL I’m replying to.

  2. If it has an u-in-reply-to link, load that page (repeat step 1 & 2, ad finitum).

  3. Once I hit the end of the chain, I am left with an array of the reply history.

This should work on because the only actual h-entry on a reply’s permalink is the ACTUAL reply—the other entries shown on the page are just posts that won’t be picked up by the microformats parser? Pretty interesting approach.

  1. I don’t think it technically follows Salmention but it achieves similar results. Salmention requires each post to send it’s children posts up the chain. Since owns the whole thing it simplifies things. But the key is that if I’m not the originator of the conversation and someone replies to me, I’ll still be the replies to my post.
  2. Reply: Not Technically Salmentions

    Eddie Hinkle

    I don’t think it technically follows Salmention but it achieves similar results. Salmention requires each post to send it’s children posts up the chain. Since owns the whole thing it simplifies things. But the key is that if I’m not the originator of the conversation and someone replies to me, I’ll still be the replies to my post.

    Ok, got it. It’s interesting—we kind of have to do this on our personal sites anyway. Like if I get a reply from myself further down the conversation, it’s useful to just use the post I ‘own’ directly rather than go parsing myself. 😄

    It’s kind of tough to get it all working by hand—but it’s also amazing, so I’ll take it!

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05 Oct 2018 Sends Webmentions Now

But doesn’t receive them? Still—neat!

Sending Webmentions to other sites seems like an insane thing to turn down. Your blog software sends a simple message and now that blog can know to link back to you. (And go ahead and send pingbacks, too—way too easy.) But a site like this one,, where there is a lot of discussion about a given link—seems even better, more advantageous, generally, usually, to bring the author in.

Now imagine if this continued:

  • Send a Webmention (u-syndication style) to to submit a link.
  • Send a Webmention (u-like-of style) to a page to upvote.
  • Send a Webmention (u-in-reply-to style) to a page to comment.

And you could verify these Webmentions (and attach them to a user) by verifying that the Webmention source is listed in the user’s ‘about’ section.

Just a quick mention that this is how works and I am very anxious to see if it’s possible to really have a community work this way! (I’m not sure I know of any other community that is entirely built ENTIRELY from blog and wiki crosstalk—maybe the deceased ‘bloglines’ was one?—‘is’/‘was’ there one?)

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26 Sep 2018

Reply: H0p3styl1n6


The CSS fragment idea is very interesting; it celebrates and signifies our participation in each others’ identities and work. It is a gift to try to represent someone’s aesthetic point of view or voicestyle in quotation. It’s like reading a letter in someone’s handwriting that you’ve seen many times before, conjuring memories like the smell of cinnamon rolls.

Ok, great start to our discussion about styling citations from each other in matching CSS.

I am sending this reply with a musky pork pie smell. See the attached WIFF file.

Yet again to my ignorance: I clearly do not appreciate Art as well as others. I’m an uncouth pig here. I love consuming it as a drug, and I’ve (very poorly) made plenty of it before. Trying to emotionally communicate the cognitively ineffable is something I do take seriously (enough to be very particular about it). Forgive me for being the joyless buzzkill rhetoric-hawk.

Ha-ha! Well, you are becoming very endeared to me, hawk. And you are right to keep us all in check. The buzz that you do kill—and it’s certainly not a buzzard-sized buzz—is not any buzz that was killed just 'cause.

I’m especially interested in form as it relates to function; I want something productive (pleasant workspaces help me work, of course). I don’t think I’m obsessed with minimalism (though I appreciate it), but rather plainness irwartfrr. If it works and it looks good enough: cool, I like that. I’m the kind of dude that will buy 5 identical shirts if I know they are cheap and comfortable. I want the majority of expressive work in my wiki to be in my words. Ideally, I want my words to carry as much of their meaning as possible without relying upon appearance (which I think can be nearly all of it), and only then do I want to work on appearance beyond as function as the delicious bonus.

Oh, I see this in you and I applaud it—loudly, standing—an ovation which goes in a great arc, knocking over the drinks of everyone else standing around me. (Part of this ovation is a simple appreciation of your last epic missive, which is due.)

I only side more toward art because I get so much out of it. I can’t think of a reasoned argument that has transfixed me as much as “Starry, Starry Night” has. And I don’t reach for a reasoned argument when life has fallen apart, but for Neil Young. (I am not arguing with you here—I know you have these things, too, and that you love cartoons and songs and shows and all that. And, come on—you are nuts for ASCII art, amirite? Alas, I also do fall into the trap you’re talking about of form over function.)

Alright, so with all those caveats in mind, we may end up doing this all by hand and passing tiddlers around—I’m also going to play with some styled RSS tonight and see what happens. And we’ll toss some ideas around.

One thing I know for sure: I don’t want to go too crazy on fonts, because I don’t want readers to have to load ten Web Fonts to make this work. That would be EXACTLY fonts over functions. But the basic colors and stuff—worth a try, yeah?

(One time you asked if you should read Vigoleis—no, don’t. He’s mine. And it’s like Infinite Jest, it will take you way too long to read and you’ll never want to read it again. Infinite Jest also wasn’t for me.)

Oh, also, from the footnote:

In a blind, stripped-down test, I’d prefer to make it so even a paraphrase of something I’ve said would evoke: ‘that sounds like h0p3’ or ‘h0p3 would like that’ or ‘you know who probably wouldn’t stop blathering on about this if he were reading this with me right now?..h0p3’ or ‘omg, this sounds like that asshole h0p3, lol.’

I feel this way about the words, too, for sure—but also the appearance. It’s like remembering The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch for both the chitinous foreheads inside and the orange-red cover of the bug-eyed man with the robotic hands. It all comes flooding back like that.

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25 Sep 2018

Reply: Where Will the Current State of Blogging and Social Media Take Us?

Jacky Alciné

Using these isolated services make it hard for us to express ourselves in the days of MySpace (for my generation) or even further back. It has created ingenuity in terms of content production within these constraints but the act of being forced in a box for the sake of revenue reeks of that post-industrial content creation farms.

Your blog has been a big inspiration to me because of its design. Part of it is that you’ve used color and photography to craft a unique place. It’s nothing like a ‘a revenue box’—it’s like a lovely novel that stands out on the shelf.

And it goes beyond aesthetics and colors—it’s well-structured. (I really like the metadata section you have on each post. The layout is appealing and it makes me want to explore your site.) Sure, if I’m posting all pictures all day, then Instagram might have everything I need. But what if I’m writing essays and conducting interviews—I want to have the freedom to structure that data so people can find their way around. (In a way, I’m saying that I want to own the ‘algorithm’—I want to just do it by hand.)

And, yeah, I was using Jekyll, too—and left it partly because I want to start doing more blogging outside of the console. I think the Indieweb toolset is still so far behind social media’s—this is why people generally don’t hang out here.

I don’t know what existed before hashtags outside of planets but those two concepts were ways to find people and content on things you were interested in. Reddit’s plumbing is built around this notion. Twitter is compartmentalized around this notion too. Even platforms built on the notion of decentralization and federation uses a centralizing tactic of federating hashtag content to build community. It’s a bit inevitable.

Really great observation here. You’re right—we don’t have a way of tagging and community forming in the Indieweb. I have been building as a way to kind of do this—but it’s hard to know if the approach is right, it hasn’t managed to draw people in. Maybe we need a crawler you can sign up for that will index all your tags and hook us all together.

This thought of yours also brought me to the rel=tag page, which I hadn’t seen before. Not sure what to do with it. Perhaps could start adding these hashtags to syndicated posts? Don’t really know.

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21 Sep 2018

Sort Trek

Sweet ‘foone’ hack to re-sort Trek episodes based on the subs.

Foone’s got a great thing going on Twitter. I can’t quite complain as much about the place when it’s used to this effect.

The script is called ‘SplitBySubs’ and it gives you clips at all the timestamps where subtitles start and stop. And then you do things like… this!

So I generated the Silence Video. It’s 16 minutes long and it’ll get me copyright-striked on youtube, but here’s the first 2 minutes of it, basically everything up to the Intro. — foone (@Foone) September 21, 2018

Best of all, the script is now out there. Algorithms are well-suited to mischief. Gah, I was going to read this weekend…

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Reply: Steelwomaning

The text of my second private reply to h0p3’s ‘hyperconversations’—I am saving my own copy of this here after many days have passed.

(This letter was previously sent privately to h0p3, since I felt that I had bungled up a productive discussion. Now that I can see the overall waveform of our discussion, I think there are many things I’m learning about conversing through writing and reading—in fact, I really think my failures so far are more the failures of input rather than out!—and this immense dialogue is becoming a satisfying start to all the dialogues I would love to have with more of you out there!)

(Apologies in advance that I do so much talking here—I swear I’ll never write anything this long again. No one should feel compelled to read this. I will shut up and go back to silent, stoic reading for the rest of the weekend.)

Hi h0p3-

So I am going to try to rewind and do as you say: to take a better shot at addressing your part of our ‘hyperconversation’. I am sending you this as a private letter so that you can censor it if you like. I feel like I am starting to border on a troll of some type 😉 and feel like the nature of my blog would turn this into a type of ‘broadcast’ that can still receive ‘thumbs up’ and such sordid things. (Ed.: You can comment on this post, but ‘likes’ and ‘mentions’ are disabled to respect this sentiment!)

I hope I can preface these remarks—even if it seems like a bad idea, because it can perceived as changing the topic, taking time away from the ‘meat’. I will get to the topic(s)—but I wonder if some other items might be more pressing (might even be the ‘meat’) because it seems they might be preventing the main discussion from occurring fruitfully.

On Being ‘Intellectual’

Ok, so stepping back—I’ve jumped headlong into a discussion with you. (And might I just add: this is a rare opportunity for me and I feel fortunate to have the chance to converse—for you to respect my communications enough that you will give them the thought you have. I have NEVER had the opportunity to correspond in a strictly written way with anyone ever before—to attempt to come to an understanding with them—hmm, well, maybe once, but not to this extent—and this whole time I am wondering if the medium has its limits. I guess this is where Socrates chimes in. Well, of course it does—but I am probably the largest of those limitations—and that feels good. Perhaps my ability to write will strain under the pressure, perhaps yours—and it requires even more of our abilities to read and internalize each other’s writings! For this reason, I would like the conversation to remain written and for us to find some kind of resolution this way.)

This correspondence has had about three major episodes from each of us. I saw this encounter as a foray into a ‘pen pal’ type thing—which is to say: ‘informal’, ‘inconsequential’ and ‘probably frivolous’. (I hope you will let me say all three of those things in good ways, very good ways. I also admire that you are reaching out through/with your autism to speak with me—I do worry about aggravating your own pain, of putting you under unreasonable expectations of my own and of not seeing the full picture of ‘you’—who you are past ‘h0p3’. But only if you need it—I would rather just see ‘h0p3’ for now—this creation is by design and I intend to take it in.) I don’t feel that I want to ‘wrestle’ —I want to ‘pen pal’. After all, this is a work of fiction. The contents of this letter are products of the reader’s imagination. This letter is for entertainment purposes only. Although the form of this letter is autobiographical, it is not. Although this letter may appear authentic, it is not. What appears to be ‘wrestling’ may actually be a new type of sophisticated ‘pal’ engagement maneuver.

Now, I am not an intellectual by any stretch—I have idea no who Kierkegaard is and I can’t keep Kant and Hume straight. I do read a lot—fiction by a wide margin. I do read Vygotsky and Piaget and, sometimes, Jung. Of all the philosophers, I am most fond of Socrates—and feel a brotherhood with you through him. But the writers that I spend my time on are fiction writers - Albert ‘Vigoleis’ Thelen is someone I speak to in my mind very often. To call out to him: ‘Vigoleis’ when I see his place in the world. Denton Welch and Robert Walser are like this for me. But even these closest—I cannot speak intellectually about them, only romantically.

So yes—I think you want to have a philosophical debate with me, but I am not equipped to do it. And I wonder if it is possible at all. I can’t read all those guys and read your wiki and read the things I want to read and pursue my current ambitions. I don’t think you want to have this discussion unless I am an equipped intellectual. We are both trying to sing and shatter a glass—but your voice is trained. So while I might still be the one to shatter the glass here and there, it’s a hell of a lot more painful having to hear my notes along the way. So this is my opening question: am I misrepresenting what this discussion is—and what do you want out of it? (In a way, I feel I can almost ‘steel’ this because of the statement: “There is a lack of fairness in the dialectic here; I’ve had way more practice thinking about the nitty-gritty, and I must be extremely cautious not to assume others can or will see what I do.”—I agree with this and I feel like I am only fleshing it out further above. And this: “I can’t see far enough to know if he can see what I’m saying (which is a fairly technical claim in moral philosophy).”—I don’t see it, I had no idea there was some central claim to ‘hyperconversations’—I thought it was a series of different claims with some riddles mixed in—which is, I think, where the central claim is nestled? “I am failing this man.”—Dude, I don’t rely on you—I have my own system of living—I’m not just an imbalanced pinball lost in your machine! 😄)

And this: “Hedonic Kierkegaardian Aestheticism is here; it’s inaccurately factored into the eudaimonic calculation.” I’m not going to even try to parse this—if I tried, my reaction would be: I don’t feel like my aestheticism is hedonic at all, but quite virtuous! So I think your phrase is going to be misunderstood by me and I am just going to sound ridiculous. 😄 Perhaps this comment is not meant for me but for the audience, k0sh3k included. (Hey kid! If you exist! Hey! I /will/ you to exist for a single ‘Hey there!’)

Some classic Romanticism in here. Reminds me of that fighting phrase: “Brawl a boxer, box a brawler.” I’ve seen this shift many times against my arguments.

I do think we are paired as boxer vs brawler. That was what I trying to say when listing out some of our opposing polarities—you are codifying me in your statement above as well—no harm, just part of trying to understand someone. I don’t feel that you are degenerate and I don’t think you (yet) believe that I am either. I don’t sense that you are trying to assimilate everyone as boxers. But I do think that not being a boxer would forfeit my scrappy end of the ‘wrestle’ or ‘debate’ side and leave us to the ‘pen pal’ aspect strictly.

This is not a small aspect: while I have not been charitable with argumentation, I believe that I have been charitable with the effect you’ve had on my own work and charitable with the credit I give you for stirring up my inventive mind and stimulating me to materialize it. This will last beyond an argument.

For my part: I am not as interested in some of the topics we’re touching on: stuff like emotion/reason (I have spent almost no time thinking about my arguments there, I am going off half-cocked and I do appreciate/embrace your sayings), what ‘the good’ is (I am trying to figure out what the thrust of our discussion even is, man I can’t even begin to sort that out) and even T42T—I still think they are all very worthy topics, but I don’t think I’m your foil on those. I agree with you that I should be required to defend my ethics—but I also don’t have a list on hand like you do—and it’s changing too much for me to even know how to nail it down. I like the part which explores the texture of our online avatars, but even there—I think I need to sit in the presence of them longer before trying to mouth off about them.

On ‘Sadness’

I am going to try to make this quick and to the point—which isn’t “you can’t make me sad” but that “momentary sadness doesn’t register as much when there are more permanent sorrow in place” something like that.

But what’s so bad about this sorrow anyway? A woman crossed the street yesterday, waving to me, so I stood and waited for her. She said she knew someone—a name I recognized. She was pleasant and warm to talk to, so we talked. She said that her son had been murdered many years ago. If you just listened to her for five minutes, you would have thought she was insane. Very pleasant and insane. In a good way, a very good way. A whirlwind of details about trajectories and cover-ups. But if you listened for an hour, you could finally she her—and her sorrow. It wasn’t disgusting or repulsive—but familiar and natural. Just a sorrow—as plain as a pleasantness.

I wanted to show her something in the yard, so I motioned for her to cross the gutter—which is quite wide and was rushing with water—it’s more of a canal than a gutter. But her legs were short and she said, “Oh I don’t know.” I held out my hand and she made a move to try to cross. I realized that she was wearing flip-flops and trying to avoid some spiky weeds. I held out both hands—I probably shouldn’t have tried to persuade her—I don’t know, I began to pull her across and she kind of panicked and made a squeal! She stumbled over—she made it—and we laughed out of relief and I felt stubborn, but it was good to move abruptly from sorrow to laughter like that. Like we had come up for air. We are still in the ocean but we are in the air too.

And I wouldn’t like it if you held back some criticism. I should love to be rebuked! When you are in the freezing ocean, it is probably the best time to hear that you have made a grammatical mistake. What a helpful distraction that could be! And you may never forget to make it again.

And children, when they are rebuked—so often they simply drop their head down and say slowly, ‘Ohhh kay…’ For me, this embodies such an ideal—first, to acknowledge that criticism DOES sting, direct criticism truly can, possibly always does, it makes us drop our heads to hear—and, secondly, to simply ‘ack’ the criticism with no further commentary or defense. Perhaps to go without defense would be too submissive—on the other hand, can we endure any criticism as adults? Any?

I probably am doing my own sidestepping and defensiveness of criticism in this letter. I do know I am better to just drop my head and say slowly, ‘Ohhh kay…’

All of this context to say: I realize you aren’t making fun of me at all here, and I appreciate that very much.

Yes, but if we can find a way to truly make fun of each other—wouldn’t that be such a grand achievement?

On ‘Hyperconversations’

The shadow over our eyes is a serious problem: I believe it costs us the ability to be cognitively and emotionally vulnerable (even to ourselves). We don’t really get to know each other when we are engaged in good opsec (that’s kind of the point). The public/private adversarial tension does seem contradictory, but I hope to find a middle way; surely there is a linear logical framework from which geometric social cooperation can arise (I must hope).

Continued here:

You can always doubt, and you can only ever improve your Bayesian odds. The inductive step in trust is a leap of faith in Humanity, in The Other, sir. Building trust and real relationships is exactly why I reveal myself to you and everyone else. I want people to see how I conduct myself and my relationships across the board.

And then:

With diamond balls, I really aim to be practically transparent in my practice of saying what I mean and meaning what I say directly because my integrity is at stake.

And also:

We are each cameras, in a sense. I think of this wiki as an external, reifying camera of my internal camera states. I do hope to wield both wisely. I do not think I morally own either of them all the way down except insofar as I am constituted by (exist as an extension or instantiation of) The Moral Law.

If I were to try to identify this central ‘claim’ you are making and to ‘steel’ it: You feel that true and real relationships demand radical transparency. More than that, you see it as a virtue—embodying bravery, integrity and honesty. You see it as a direct solution to prevailing mistrust and misunderstanding in the world. You model this behavior for others.

To you, h0p3, this has a blissful and fortuitous collaboration with modern surveillance. You aren’t saying, “What do I have to hide?” It seems that you are saying, “You can’t make me hide.” And I do not think you do not see it as the ‘correct’ choice—you seem to acknowledge that it is a trade-off—but that you are willing to pay the price. But you believe you have sorted it out: you do believe that the reward will always be greater than the price.

Am I in the ballpark? I don’t really know how to do this!

To this, I have no response. I can only hang my head and say slowly, “Ok Mister H…”

I felt no need to respond to that claim after the letter—I found it well-reasoned! I did wonder how much of it is grounded in the tech ideals of ‘open source’ and ‘gratis’/‘libre’—I’ve had other tech friends dabble in transparency (sharing bank account info publicly, cataloging life activity publicly.) I stand by what I said:

The remarkable thing about your wiki is that you have turned your camera on. In fact, your wiki is defiantly personal—I think it goes beyond a mere camera. Your history. Your conversations. Your letter to your parents. Your thoughts about people—about me. A person can turn on a camera and never say these things. You are on to something. I have no desire to talk you out of it.

I realize now that saying nothing is a failure. You need an ‘ack’. Even if it is a repetition.

I think there is something unanswered here, though: Do you have any adaptations to ‘Gentle ClearNet Doxxing’ after the events of the last month? I have wondered if you were going to write more about this—maybe I missed it. To stand by a rule too doggedly is to be—well—dogmatic. Or has the rule functioned properly? (On the other hand, I might also aspire to be dogmatic about FOSS - just for myself and not for anyone else.) Feel free to just link me to the correct answers that I cannot seem to locate.

Ok, that is the end of this letter. I ran across the “business card” page on your wiki while researching “transparency” and loved it.


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09 Sep 2018

How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think

I am not linking to this so that you can make a complete map of every thought you think necessarily. I think this is an inspiring personal infobio or something. ✤ h0p3 has some news on this fellow!

This is a 100-or-so pages about how to put everything in your head into notebooks—this is an old link I have been searching out for a few years—its link changed and I couldn’t remember the name of it.

Anyway, the author has a very peculiar (remarkable?) system here that requires those four-color ballpoint pens that you can click to get different colors. In fact, he says to buy three of them.

You need one to carry with you, you need one for backup, placed in a trusted place, and you need one to be a backup to the backup. YES, you really need this. If you are wasting time looking for a pen that you lost, you are just wasting time. The pen will come back. In the mean time, you need to write, so you’ve got to fetch your backup. You have a backup to the backup. If you have ready access to a store, you need to buy another pen, should you not find your first pen by then.

It seems like you also don’t want to store the three pens together, because you REALLY cannot lose them all in one go. It seems like you really might need ten—one in your car/bike, one in your desk, no, two in your desk, one under the front mat, one in the junk drawer, one in the pen cup, one on the nightstand for sure, I had eight more places, what were they.

This is also a document that kind of sits in an interesting place wrt Indieweb, wikis—it mentions Ted Nelson’s Xanadu as inspiration, which has become an important namedrop in redecentralized web convos. What’s more he makes a very salient point related to web directories, library work—all the things I dabble in also—

Thinking about Information Architecture will be EXTREMELY important to society in the future. All these programmers wondering, ”Why aren’t we reusing each others components?” Yes, very significantly, our languages and practices are limiting us. Quite severly. But even if we had the best reuse languages mechanisms and what not, we STILL need it to be easier to figure out what other people have written. The RETRIEVAL problem is MASSIVE.

His name for it is: Public Field Technologies. But I can find no other reference to it.

UPDATE: h0p3 found the guy!

It’s interesting—I have been very wtf about h0p3’s ‘Gentle Clearnet Doxxing’ policy, where he posts the ‘private’ details of a person—their address, phone number and so on. But, this is quite incredible—he SMS’d Lion Kimbro and got a call back:

h0p3: Hey. I read your book recently. I was blown away by it. I’ve been working on my wiki ( for a couple years. I was hoping to have the chance to learn about how you think about the problem and what you practice these many years later.

kimbro: What a creative and itneresting idea– a Groundhog’s Day Dungeons and Dragons adventure …!

I look forward to talking with you. Can we make a time?

h0p3: Yes! anytime is good for me

Instantly called me. Cool.

We talked a bit on the phone. He told me about his adventures into the world, traveling to understand visionary communities. I’ve seen some of those breadcrumbs while looking into him. He’s definitely searching for community. He’s not a luddite, but he has moved offline (although, he clearly still uses the internet…he’s just building something else). He did not want to be associated with contemplative living. Honestly, he’s got that cultic charisma, no doubt.

This strategy is connecting people. It’s triggering a major rethink. Crontab of the mind LOADED UP.

  1. @kicks Interesting concept. But I'm really replying to say I love your site. That is one unique looking set up you're using. Completely against the current minimalist ethos, but I like it!

  2. Reply: Against the Ethos

    What an encouraging thing to say—thankyou for taking the time to say it. I am definitely trying to go against minimalism (and mutedness)! However, I also feel like I’m exercising a lot of restraint—this still feels quite tame. (Also looking forward to Halloween—the world’s transformation.)

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08 Sep 2018

Reply: Hash Tag Creative Coding


If you’re eager to find more “creative coding” type works. Going on instagram and using hashtags like #creativecoding are a great way to find amazing work. Also twitter is a great source of absolutely mind-blowing artistic work that leverages technology. I’ve spent far too much time just browsing all the amazing stuff out there.

Ok, I did this - this is great, there are some ‘neat’/‘inspiring’ things there. A few other questions for you:

  • How do I find more hashtags? I would have never found #creativecoding - is it known to be a community or is it just an ad hoc hashtag like #lostinthehashtags (which I just made up - but which has posts!) I guess what I’m saying is - I don’t sense that these hashtags are a community - or are they?

  • As ‘neat’/‘inspiring’ as these are, they are mostly only (very small) images and (very short) clips. I ultimately can’t see myself using Instagram or Twitter much because you just kind of skim and can’t go deeper. They lack the ‘hypertext’. (This is similarly to the OP’s trouble with this post just being a simple ‘box algorithm’ - where do I go for more?

  • Most of these look like art I’ve seen on t-shirts or album covers. Dating back even to the seventies. It is still beautiful and remarkable - but I can’t help but wonder: Where is innovation happening in tech+art?

I will say that I do follow a lot of things happening in vaporwave - any idea what else is happening out there? Thank you for your time, HammadB. I am eager.

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07 Sep 2018

Reply: Nothing is Personal


If you sent me your passwords or bank account information, I’d refuse to post them (and, of course, I don’t think you should test me on it, but you are free to try, even with fake information [I will reason about why you sent that kind of information outloud]). I think we can construct examples in which I would be truly silent as well, but those are quite farfetched (or so I hope!); you will have to rely upon your own judgment of who I am in such cases.

“Do not let my honesty become your enemy.” vs. “What if the secret discovered was a good one?”

Let’s also bring this in:

At last I understood that the way over, or through this dilemma, the unease at writing about ‘petty personal problems’ was to recognize that nothing is personal, in the sense that it is uniquely one’s own. Writing about oneself, one is writing about others, since your problems, pains, pleasures, emotions—and your extraordinary and remarkable ideas—can’t be yours alone.

— Doris Lessing, from her Introduction to The Golden Notebook, 1971

(Okay, time to get everyone else up to speed: I sent h0p3 a private e-mail—to determine if there was any way of privately communicating with him. I did this partly to satisfy my curiousity: he seems to post every chat log, e-mail and letter he sends—except to immediate family members that have grandfathered-in immunity—or perhaps he just defaults to public mode unless a kind of formal agreement is established.)

(I also did this to simply converse privately. Since h0p3 has settled on a dogged insistence on Wikileaking his life, I am unsure how to have a personal relationship in public hypertext with this avatar. He says the avatar is competely, realistically human—it aspires to be—and I am finding out if it is. Am I starting from a place of distrust? Well, surely. But that’s minor. I am suspicious of BOTH of us. We want to believe these pixels are us—don’t we already know they aren’t?)

(Because, most importantly, there is you. Isn’t it awful to address you during a letter to my friend? I steal time spent on answers he wants. I talk about him as a third, which sounds condescending, simply because he is not us. And you could be anyone: an other, likely a reader, an agent.)

(Maybe it’s not about us at all. Maybe it’s about you. Ours is just a performance. And so there is no us, but just you.)

Let me start by responding to your brother:

He read the kickscondor letters in full (I didn’t realize he’d read it all, which is cool). He pointed to a shift in the tone of the writing. He said we were jerking each other off at first and then got to the meat’n’potatoes. He thinks I’ve been tested in the last section of the last letter. I think he’s right.

Heheh—it’s very true! I think there is a kind of jerking-ones-anothers-off process that has to happen before you’ll honestly read each other’s words, though. But there’s no doubt: I’m the one being tested here.

You have filled a wiki so deep that I can’t see the bottom—and it lands like a monolith; it looks like your beliefs, it is a flashing rainbow conduit. But I am still ripped pieces of paper that blow around in the wind and are lost in wild valleys. I think these things will stay this way.

Yes and HELLO to your brother! How can I send him a private e-mail? It’s very important that it be private. It is like when two of my friends meet and later I find them muttering unintelligibly by the bookcase. God—what are they saying?? What if even the Real U.S. Government and Amazon Alexa can’t seem to make it out??

I am going to publicly think about you, who you are, how you think, what you say, and what you do. Do you wish to be so open and honest? Do you really want to interact and be in contact with me? In this context, informed consent is your responsibility. Do not let my honesty become your enemy. You do not have to wrestle with me, but I hope you see I’m actually trying to radically cooperate with Humanity. How will you treat this naked madman in the desert?

(This bit is not from the letter I am replying to, but from Contact h0p3. I’m not sure I read the whole thing previously, but his rules of engagement are clearly spelled out. Please read this if you intend to strike up a conversation. I wonder if we could all use a page like this—somehow I can’t see myself doing this, as it feels in close proximity to a sign my neighbor has on her door: “DO NOT BRING DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR ANY ILLEGAL MATERIALS OR SUBSTANCES INTO THIS HOME!!” Such a note has the fragrance of a previous encounter all over it; there is a distinct banishment of the “you do you” from 2018—which may not actually exist.)

He concludes the letter:

In part, I aim to be so public simply because I don’t trust people in private. I think very poorly of most human specimens (including many versions of myself), but I desperately hope we find a way to become good human beings. I hope to protect and enable the percentage of legitimate altruists who exist in humanity; they deserve every ounce of my effort. They are truly constituted by Reason.

I play with my cards face-up on the table. In a way, I hope it has a kind of ripple effect in spreading awareness of what it means to be ourselves […]

Ok, so this I get. It seems feasible that a public performance of the private could shake out some disasters. It’s possible that we need everyone to weigh in on this. And we already have the benefit of your pupil Sphygmus (a reader like you out there—us—who stepped out of the ‘real’ to join us here).

On the other hand, this now adds infinite perspectives to demonize these conversations, to shame them, to hate them. I’ve honestly never had a chance in my life for someone to hate one of my private conversations—except for the other person (and even that has happened far too frequently.)

I think if I were to develop a seed of my own personal code (to stand in contrast to yours,) it is that I believe in well-mannered pseudonymity. Bonhomminity.

Secrets get such a bad name. We always discover horrible secrets. Thousands of them, stretching all the way up to the Pope himself? Or a document circulating the CIA describing a series of golden showers…

What if the secret discovered was a good one? And what if it stayed secret? Like a good joke kept to one’s self. Or between my love and I. Never to be sold off in a book or blog—kept inside.

I don’t imagine much is lost on a public inside joke? This is probably what Dan Harmon has with all of his fans. They all get to be in on it. It is the token of the group now. It is a special key. Millions may have the special key.

(Following is not a h0p3 quote.)

Do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Not considered: your private joke is heard by angels in Heaven!! (Sigh, further surveillance systems…)

Actually I quote this because there is something to it—the reward of public recognition does seem to pollute the pure giving of a private communication.

And what’s more: you have no idea whether I talk of you. Whether you get zero conversation hits or thousands. What I have read of yours. How I react to it—what I really think of you. (Do I know what I really think of you? Do I know when I’ve conversed about you?) How would it be helpful for either of us to know these things? And, worse, to know them forever.

Picture two computers scanning each other ports. These two daemons find each other and swap drive contents, RAM, video card states. Then they blink: blue, blinking red or bright white. They understand each other!

But what does it matter? Perhaps they can part ways now—there is no more data to exchange.

I must ask: do you simply FO desire to encourage me, or do you SO desire to FO desire to encourage me? The difference matters. There is a tension in this letter I’ve not been able to peel apart.

Boy, I don’t know yet. I like to think it’s way down—like zed order enouragement.

I think this only happens out of motivations like idle curiosity, amusement and meandering conversation. Which is to say: the greatest, most noble pursuits I can imagine. Convincing you IS NOTHING compared to these treasures!!

I hope to find: not truth, not love, not happiness, not even meaning—but ‘fire’.

And I guess I do hope to have gratitude, which is greater than happiness. And I think a desire to have immense gratitude for the idle curiosity, amusement and meandering conversation—that would be FO for me. I don’t know where that puts us. I am very serious about this. (And I am not just saying ‘I am very serious about this’ as a joke—it’s all very serious!)

Building trust and real relationships is exactly why I reveal myself to you and everyone else. I want people to see how I conduct myself and my relationships across the board.

My dad talks this way—to him, a conversation is a sacrament. Sometimes I am with him on that.

But other times I want to be in the dark of night with friends, carefully putting a pie in the road, as an example, since it is very spiritual to do so. Or eating different leaves and needles and recording reviews of the taste.

To simply swing alongside someone on a swingset is miraculous. To use one of those air seesaw things—where you sit across from each other and swing back and forth—I did that with my nephew a few weeks ago and he was wearing a hat that had a LEGO texture on it. He could have attached to a hell of different bricks! The feeling of amusement and ‘fire’ was there.

Of course, my worry about “how it feels” is that emotions can betray us. It’s very easy to confabulate. It’s a realm where I aim for reason to reign as much as possible.

Ok so three primary facets where we graph as opposites:

  1. You vaunt transparency; I side with opaquery.
  2. You look for your chosen; I would like to eventually find everyone.
  3. But most of all: you center on the rational and I fall in with the heart.

The unreasonable. The supernatural. The stuff of imagery. Perhaps symbolism is there, between us. Just as you fear an emotion betraying you and guiding you into delusion, I fear needing to act on perfectly rational orders that betray my heart—that go against my experience of the world. (Sloppy sloppy work, Kicks! Why am I rushing to codify someone? I think what’s happening is that I’m seeing this dogmatism for transparency on his part and so I’m rushing to ascribe these other dogmatic views—rasfarasfaaaaplagdaaaaahnono, no, so I don’t really care about this part of the letter—in a way this serves to show that I was wrapped up much more deeply in the visual part of this thing and rushing the text. As he has already said in reply: “I worry you’ve not carefully represented my claims.” Yes! Can I rewind slightly? I don’t think the head-to-headedness of this part of the correspondence needs to be here—I have undermined connecting in favor of spiraling. Emotion (or gamesmanship or something) has scattered the ripped pieces of paper. Oh to be pure and kind as Sphygmus, help me, Sphygmus!)

Because of the events of my life, I am close to people who have been in unimaginably horrifying situations. It’s not that they’ve lost a child. It’s not that they’ve lost a spouse or that they’ve tried to kill themselves—it’s that they’ve lost their whole family. Everyone they held closest died. (Usually it’s a parent who lost their spouse and children—there are more people in this situation than you would think.)

Let rationality guide you through that catastrophe! (This is assinine. I think I got worked up for some reason, not because of a disagreement with you but because I got passionate and spiraled. I mean this is proof of the danger of emotion—tempering it is a challenge for everyone.)

I will need to stop there. It starts to feel exploitative to talk in this way—to use their tragedy to make my point. But there are also stories that I want to talk about down the road, because they have happened in such quiet, without the notice of society—and maybe I see a reason to write them, because they have ‘fire’.

Swinging on a swingset is god damn vital! (Shut up. I don’t like that this comes across as a heavy-handed point to be made. Be light-handed. Always let the hand rise into the atmosphere.)

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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: 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.

    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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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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18 Aug 2018

XXIIVV Webring

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


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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