Kicks Condor

LEECHING AND LINKING IN THE HYPERTEXT KINGDOM

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

PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

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

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

indieseek blog, bumped into brad somehow and we crosstalk a ton about the web.

linkport by joe jenett---blogs at i.webthings.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. whimsy.space, caesar naples.

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

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

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

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

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

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

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

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.

12 Sep 2018

Caesar Naples Wiki Social Media Website

I created Caesar Naples so I could have an influence in social media sites. The name is part of my personal brand of writing that only I can write. Over the past 3 years, I’ve been gathering influence on different popular social media sites, and I’m almost to a point where I can give control of the brand over to an organization of writers all aligned to the same purpose. He’s like an action figure, when he is friendly, fun, and inviting. But the information he delivers to people is often very uncomfortable for them to accept.

I think I am prepared for Caesar Naples to have an influence on me. I don’t know if you all will see it, but this ‘wiki’/‘book’/‘presence’ is at the crossroads of a lot of things that seem to be going on around here.

I see faint threads to Lion Kimbro’s serious and informationally whimsical work in Caesar’s Social Media Marketing Book, excerpt:

  1. Do you make odd faces when you’re thinking? This is know as tardive diskinesia and is a sign that you’re being controlled by a drug user.

  2. Do you make hand gestures at weird times? You’re basically lost at this point; it’s a satanic method of marking their territory.

  3. Does your mood shift greatly depending on your behaviors? It’s not that you’re learning how to control your emotions; it’s that an Illuminati controller is.

(From the section titled “Manchurian Candidates: The wild-card in your campaign.”)

There are echoes of zine culture in this—Charlie McAlister would love this, I think. The author is active on /r/conspiracy and seems to be forming a group there to write under this and other personas—though it’s difficult to tell whether it’s all made up—don’t think I care, I think it’s very exciting.

I see h0p3 in there too: in the Caesar Naples Wiki, there is reference to autism as a horcrux—this seems uncanny, given Sphygmus’ recent usage of the horcrux as a metaphor… What is going on??

Unlike h0p3, his writing is scattered everywhere, laced together with a bunch of Google sites—the copypastapublishing one is a good place to start, with the story Publishing Company 2002 and the To OK Gov piece. More are here. Some of the stories appear to be based on Markov chain generated text, others are quite lucid.

(Ah, I am not familiar with the ‘copypasta’ thing—this is my first exposure to it—it seems to want to take conspiracy-sounding or overserious rants out of context? I don’t know if it is a political thing—I am naive about all of that. There is a prolific person under this. I also am starting to see that people likely suspect my own self of being fradulent, of being h0p3, of being alt-right, of being an ARG, of being Brad Enslen, of being a schizophrenic, of being a radical leftist, of being a greatest showman—I am fine with all of these explanations and I think it would be a fortunate thing to even be thought of by someone somewhere.)

This person also has an understanding of community dynamic, another topic that is bubbling up lately.

I let my Caesar Naples act pour mercilessly into my communication with the writers of this community. There were personal details I shared that would make anybody uncomfortable related to my schizophrenia. I would host imaginary games where I pretended the chat room was a group of survivors in the apocalypse. I also made some very unreasonable claims and tried my damnest to justify them - all part of the Caesar Naples act. Eventually, I was kicked from two communities that I very much wanted to be part of, because they represented my instant recovery from exile.

Now that I’m no longer a part of those communities, I try my hardest to balance the wild, incredible parts of Caesar Naples with something more human.

Posts can be found under ‘CaesarNaples2’ on Reddit.

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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 (https://philosopher.life/) 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

HammadB

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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Web Recorder

An incredibly sick tool for archiving—maybe this is already popular and beloved, but it doesn’t hurt to wave it around a bit here.

A modern WWW archiver service—just was overhauled and the bleeding-edge can save the archive to Dat. (Makes me want a ‘record’ ⏺ button in my URL bar that I can just leave on! Any ideas if this exists??)

(INCIDENTALLY discovered this on the Code for Society Agenda notes on Etherpad, which I hadn’t seen in many years—it’s fantastic that it’s still around! This is a tool surely in the vein of what our little internet surf club here has been discussing recently. (Video here, haven’t watched this, so this is also a TODO.)

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Blogging

A ‘steno’ format. A depleted word. A still personal word. A simulation. A read-write simulation. A truncated octahedron.

(This is the first of a new type of post on this blog—a “steno”. This format will house ‘thoughts’/‘discussions’/‘works’—much like an old-time c2-style or everything2-style wiki page that always ended up being an amazing catastrophe. The “steno” acts as hasty notes, links to other places around the blog, recurring nexus, link stations, breathers maybe, between the other articles and notes, revolving around a kind of ‘topic’/‘idea’.)

(In a way, I realize that starting off with an aside is a bad way to get anyone jazzed about some new ultimately pointless post styling—but I purposefully want these pieces to be less heavily edited and focused than all the other things. So, by throwing in a wankery introduction, it acts as a kind of gate you have to get through. So if this is too self-indulgent or tangential then you know to go away and I just continue and we’re all fine—although I think we’re deep into peak self-indulgence now that ‘people’ have evolved into ‘influencers’. Gah, that sounds condescending—and it is—and, worse, I think being condescending—especially in public like this—is probably much, much more destructive than influencing.)

(This isn’t just a gate, though, I want to mark this as the first steno, so that I can point to it later—and have it contain the reasoning behind this. Sure, I could make a separate steno that goes into those ideals, but it’s also kind of tied into the topic of ‘blogging’ anyway, so it’s like: why not just explain the thing and then flow right into it and then let it be for awhile and then come back and build on to it and—this is all just like what h0p3 does on his pages, this whole thing is a chance to have a part of that—and, again, what c2 had, what everything2 had/‘has’—it’s almost as if they were a fad. Like a sudden explosion of truncated octahedrons.)

Blogging simply made the static page seem alive. Then it turned into feeds and streams and the rate of speed was dramatically hiked up.

It’s possible that the word ‘blog’ is depleted. I think it was entirely stupid, but nostalgia has made it kind of neat. Like those little dixie cups dispensers that people used to have stuck on their bathroom walls. How great would it be to brush your teeth with such a companion again?

(This is unrelated, but if we are in a simulation, then we are probably deep into many, many simulations. It seems unlikely that we are only ever one-level removed from ‘reality’. It makes me feel like we’re probably either not in a simulation or that our inability to leave the simulation makes this absolute reality regardless.)

(This IS starting to feel strange. It does feel self-indulgent. It feels like it’s more for me than for you. Because I can’t rightfully expect anyone to read this—much like trying to read all of Wikipedia, there’s a threshold you have to set for yourself, that you’re not going to spend the time to read this kind of tripe. I don’t respect you for this, I don’t respect either of us. Maybe I never should have. And, for myself, it’s good to write carefully—to draw you in with great care and to not act this way. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to possibly know what to do with any of these pages! There are recipe and howto articles. There are anecdotes, punchline type things. You can easily add your two cents to a thought that’s propagating around. But I don’t know—I’ve never lived in a large city, and rarely even been to a really massive city, and I find myself looking at the buildings, just the sound of the air is so strange to me, the feeling of being on a street that is so worn and has fragments of millions of boots and beards and bits of sandwiches. I can see that it is an inverted rock tumbler, where the street is being tumbled by all of the things colliding against it. It is erosion of an industrial strength. But that wouldn’t be interesting to someone in a city, would it?)

(And then there is the experience of swimming—and often when we are swimming, we just wander around and work ourselves, talk and float. But if the pool is empty and you go to the bottom and hold your breath, it is the opposite of the city, it is insanely quiet, or an alien kind of subterranean quiet, and it feels like you have entered another level of the simulation, where you are a different person—you can do advanced yoga things down there that you normally wouldn’t be able to do and you sound differently, the bubbles that burst out in spurts produce loud, spontaneous waves and that’s what we sound like down there. And that, also, might not be interesting to anyone—or it might be interesting for everyone. Revealing that I also don’t know what’s interesting is a poor choice!)

Anyway, there’s about fifty reporters behind that door—real ones, not bloggers.

— Tony Stark, Spiderman: Homecoming, 2017

I like that ‘blog’ has remained a non-corporatized word in many respects. A ‘blogger’ is an ‘amateur’; the ‘blogosphere’ is the peanut gallery. It is a futile endeavor—and this is all good, because it important that some of these words stay personal.

Ok, so:

  • A blog is still the state-of-the-art as far as the personal ‘home’ online.
  • And, actually, all the credit goes to the browsers—HTML and CSS are pretty marvellous: they’ve gotten better and we have choices, it’s an impressive platform overall.
  • A static blog is fantastic. You can always back it up and move it anywhere.
  • No one seems to have figured out what to show on the first page yet. A list of recent things is almost the same as a list of random things—until a visitor knows where they are? But how do they know where they are? h0p3 has done a good thing with having an actual front door. (In a way, it feels like an old-school BBS.)
  • RSS is gone for me.
    • I don’t want to read unstyled content.
    • Yeah, don’t want to be fed posts everyday, I want to drop in.
    • I could see a use in a blogroll that colors the sites that have had activity. But no stats or anything.
    • It would trouble me if I was in your face everyday.
    • I still understand if you like RSS and it’s all about the raw text and links for you.
  • Indieweb-style replies and mentions are a huge leap forward. It is just so flexible—we can have threaded discussions, forums, e-mail and new-style hypertext wiki back-and-forth madness simply by adding Webmentions. (See These Indieweb Folks Just Might Be Onto Something.)
  • Beaker Browser means you don’t even need a server to host your blog. This is so straightforward that it’s mindblowing. The browser has hit a point where it has become fully read-write. (See A Web Without Servers.)
  • I think you have to pack it all up at some point. Perpetual blogging seems—arrogant?
  • I wonder if there would be a way to let other bloggers take the wheel from time to time. (This seems along the lines of how Sphygmus is writing into h0p3’s wiki through this ingenious tactic of simply sending him wiki-formatted text. Since h0p3 is bound by creed to publish in full anything that comes his way, Sphygmus can effectively communicate with his audience directly—though I start to worry that h0p3 is just going to become another silo. 😎)
  • It is important to repost stuff that has been overhauled. If we revisit writing, we move away from a strictly ‘chronos’ view of the blog and toward a focus on where thought is concentrated.
  • Yes, so salience. Perhaps this is what the algorithms are attempting and FAILING at. So give it to the nomad. How does a nomad sprinkle salience?

As for the software behind this particular blog, I call it Homeshade. I moved away from Jekyll the first week of September 2018. It was taking two minutes to generate my blog. That is down to three seconds now. (I’m sure Hugo could have done that, too. But I had other things I wanted to do as well—such as putting it into the Beaker Browser so I can just do everything from there.)

The technical part of this discussion is, fortunately, not that interesting really. The things that excite me out there right now are just being done with plain HYPERTEXT. (There’s another great corporatized word that never even got to be lame!) Homeshade is only a refinement, it is not a big deal. The point is only to utilize those things that we have that are under-utilized—like swimming on the bottom long enough to shut the sound out.

  1. Kicks, you provide some interesting thoughts and reflections on blogging, especially in regards to the technical, as well as the different parts. I must admit I am yet to get to the Beaker Browser. Sounds intriguing.

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29 Aug 2018

Reply: Linkfarmville

Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    >>Yahoo!

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

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

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

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Reply: When the Social Silos Fall

Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  2. Reply: Linkfarmville

    Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    >>Yahoo!

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

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

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

  4. Reply: Pinboard Serendipity

    Jeremy Cherfas

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

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

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

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28 Aug 2018

Sharing and Archiving with Dat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Browser-Side Includes in Beaker Browser

A proof-of-concept for enjoying HTML includes.

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

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

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

Quick Example

Beaker editing index.html

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

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

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

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

Beaker displaying index.html

And here we see the HTML displayed in the browser.

But Does Beaker Need This?

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

Here are a few positives that I see:

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

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

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

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

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23 Aug 2018

Ticker Tape Parade

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exaggerated Importance

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

Screenshot of the new home page.

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

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

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

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

It’s All There

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

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

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

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

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


Screenshot of right-clicking on a post.

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

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

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

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

Time to get back to linking to you.

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

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21 Aug 2018

Reply: Visual Vocabulary

Don MacDonald

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

“…Before there was a set visual vocabulary…”

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

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

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

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

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18 Aug 2018

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

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Reply: Syndicating to Twitter, Micro.blog

Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. >email digests

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

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

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

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XXIIVV Webring

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

XXIIVV Logo

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

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16 Aug 2018

Reply: Owning You

Frank McPherson

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

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

  1. Reply: Syndicating to Twitter, Micro.blog

    Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  2. >email digests

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

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

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

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The Word.com Archive

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

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15 Aug 2018

Reply to _joesavage

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

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

Josh de Lioncourt

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

Heh, Usenet, anyone?

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

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

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Reply: The Public Square

Brent Simmons

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

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

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

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Reply: Blogs in the Wild

Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So spam prevention would involve:

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

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

As always—really enjoy this ongoing discussion!

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13 Aug 2018

Reply: Webrings are Dead

Brad Enslen

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

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

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

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

Microcast.club screenshot.

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

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

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

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12 Aug 2018

Reply: Ripped Sheets of Paper

h0p3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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03 Aug 2018

My Href Hunt for August 2018

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

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02 Aug 2018

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Brad’s Blog Directory

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

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

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

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30 Jul 2018

A Web Without Servers

This is a tremendous talk, given so casually! I previously thought Dat was the exciting part of this story—but Beaker is incredibly elegant, now that I step back and survey the scene. At this point, I don’t care what kind of traction Beaker gains, I just want to use it for the sheer fun. (In olden times, the phrase was “get my jollies,” but I don’t know if that expression has taken a turn for the perverse.)

  1. Wow! Glad you liked it. Thanks for watching 😊
  2. really awesome demo, been following your work for quite some time, awesome to see the progress! rock on!

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29 Jul 2018

Reply: Why Decentralized Search is Good, Especially for Blogs

Brad Enslen

The more advanced the solution, the greater the technology bar to entry. Just about anyone can start a human edited directory, but creating an RSS search engine requires more programming skill.

A more advanced solution also scales. Which I would argue is a bad thing! 😃

A large super-crawler ends up taking on the Whole Web. Which leads to a massive directory. Which leads to the big players having the resources to game that directory. Drowning out the individuals again.

If there are 100,000 bloggers, then we need 100,000 blogrolls.

This is the magic of it: Google can’t compete with 100,000 blogrolls. Yes, they can aggregate them. Destroying them in the process.

So, yes, we agree on how decentralized can really give us progress. And I agree that our problems are mostly not technological, but are human problems.

(This is similar to the discussion on decentralization out there that seems to think the answer can simply be solved by new technologies. Dat and IPFS are fantastic, but we can decentralize in vastly more meaningful ways today—but we don’t. We could learn to be better human discovery engines.)

If people began to link again, to read again, to explore again. Less statistics, fewer algorithms. More curation, more editors.

Great stuff today, Brad!

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Reply: How Do You Find New/Interesting Blogs?

Brad Enslen

In the past there were blog specific places to search for blogs and new blog posts: blog directories, blog search engines, RSS feeds directories, RSS search engines. In addition there were blogrolls, mentions by fellow bloggers, regular web search engines,etc. Not a lot of that infrastructure remains today.

Mostly, similar to what coldbrain has said, I find blogs when they are casually mentioned on a blog or comment somewhere. Stuff like blogrolls and directories and such just don’t seem to exist. I know, because I’m constantly looking for them!

Now, these things do exist in the small enclave of the Indieweb. There is the Indieweb wiki, which has links all over it. And IndieNews, Indiemap, Blog Snoop and so on. But if I’m looking for blogs and websites that are out there—it’s impossible.

If I’m looking for a specific topic, I’ll Google “quilting blog” or I’ll look on Pinboard under the tag “chess”—and see what blogs come up.

But more often than not, I really want to read someone interesting. Someone’s stories and thoughts. To find all the great writers of our time that are out there. (Most writers I know that write in the literary tradition are lost as to where they should find readers now. It’s terribly ironic when you consider all the reading that is done on the Web in this age.)

This all excites me, though! It seems that there is still a frontier on the web. There is still a chasm to cross between all of us. We have a long way to go.

And I think that’s what drew me to the Indieweb. The answer will start here, in this group, because we’re thinking about it. I think about when Ward Cunningham came out with the wiki—it seemed like such a small, pointless invention. But what a masterstroke! What will be next?


Oh and one more thought about directories: I have a theory that exploring a directory is possibly not directly the best way to discover new things. They can be big and dry and tough to get through. I think they more directly benefit the builder of the directory and, also, those listed in the directory.

The builder of the directory explores and unearths other folks. They then leak into this person’s life in a myriad of ways. (For example, I began by simply linking to you once, in pursuit of new things, but now I follow you very closely.) The initial link begets more. Knotty, twisty—here I think of Sam Ruby’s word intertwingly—vines of links around each other.

And the recipient of the link is possibly motivated to build their own directory, so as to establish (or at least to not forget) their new network. So it can be viral. Blogrolls very much experienced this.

  1. I think I agree with most of your points. A directory is not the best discovery experience. It does however have the advantage of being available now and at very low cost. Because, as you say, there really is nothing out there currently and better solutions like a real search engine are years off. It’s a stopgap measure to be sure to be superseded eventually by better technology.

    There is a hard part to a hierarchical directory: sometimes blogs just don’t fit, neatly, into one category. For instance: my blog, your blog, Chris Aldrich’s blog, how does one categorize the entire blog by subject other than “Personal Blog” which tells us nothing? This is where the directory search function comes in, but frankly most directory searches are very rudimentary.

    There are a couple of blog directories left. I’m suspicious of all of them. If you are charging $85 for a listing red flags start flying in my head. Worse, some say they have tens of thousands of listings – that’s too big to browse and they need to have a really good site search to be any use. I don’t see that as a good discovery experience.

    >intertwingly

    Never heard that before, but I love it. In this context it fits in so well with “Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.” I think what you say is true – it forms another informal network.

  2. I have always found the traditional ‘list’ blogroll as limited and cumbersome. That is why I developed my own template. When I find a new author I add it to my spreadsheet.

    I like this in part, but also find the workflow a little annoying. I wish it were more integrated with my site. That is what interests me about Chris Aldrich’s work.

  3. https://islandinthenet.com/41457-2/
    Reading one blog article that mentions another blog article that then mentions another blog article is the way that I have found interesting content over the years. I have a few hundred feeds in my RSS reader and that helps too. But I am sure that I am missing out on a lot more interesting content.

    Right now discovery is one of the weakest areas of the IndieWeb. I think that many people POSSE their content for this reason. I get more readers via Facebook and Twitter than I do via organic Google searches or links from other bloggers. I recently stopped POSSE my posts and … the traffic has fallen off significantly.

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27 Jul 2018

Reply: The Future of Blog Snoop

Brad Enslen

I’m hitting a fork in the road with this site and the experiment of using a blog as a directory of blogs. […] I don’t think using a blog for this is as good as using a real web directory script, but if a blog is all you have it can be pressed into this use.

I think the idea behind Blog Snoop is solid—I mean you’re just talking about trying to define the edges of a certain community. I’m sufficiently convinced now (between Reddit wikis and ‘awesome lists’) that directories still serve this purpose. Find The Others.

I guess part of the problem is—what is the community? Bloggers? The Indieweb? The subset of the Indieweb that wants to talk about discovery? (Search, directories, blogrolls, etc.) I think you are shooting for larger than the Indieweb—bloggers, in general, right? That operate independently? So, do Medium blogs count?

Ok, so, the usability of the directory is central. This makes sense: a directory is a practical instrument. It needs to be elegant and tight. Using a blog as a directory is very novel and very convenient—and it can work! But I think the directory itself needs to be incredibly sweet to use: full of great stuff, well-organized and fun to use, if possible. I think you have to really want to visit the directory regularly.

Google won by distilling everything down to one box. It was actually fun to use Google because you could start typing and it would try to finish your sentence for you. Which I actually think more people enjoyed for its novelty than its usefulness. And it was useful, too!

So a few starter suggestions:

  • The whole tag cloud is off to the side, as if it’s not important.
  • I can’t see some of the words in the tag cloud, they are too small.
  • The biggest words in the tag cloud are words like “General” and “Internet” which are almost non-categories because they apply to all blogs.
  • It’s not clear how to submit my own blog unless I dig. People should really be encouraged to participate.
  • The text is large, so lots of scrolling is involved. I think this is what the ‘awesome lists’ are doing right. It’s also what Chris Aldrich is doing so well with his blogroll.
  • A dense list, like the one Chris has, also feels more active, for some reason.
  • The thing you are doing perfectly, though, is the care in the descriptions. This is actually the most important thing once the directory is usable—and you have that already.

I am working on a personal directory right now, so my attention is there. But maybe if we keep talking about this, we can figure it out. Don’t give up—just keep talking and refining.

You’ve actually given me a great idea (I think it might be ‘great’, who knows) for Indieweb.xyz. I think I’m going to make a directory of the sites that submit to it. And it will also show the sub (‘tag’) that they most commonly submit to. It would be a simple change and might help me gradually collect links to blogs that I can go through over time.

Good luck, Brad! These tiny efforts may seem small in the face of massive social empires out there, but I think there are many people who are (or will) participate if they can just be found.

  1. Kicks, great suggestions, although I’m limited by my template on some of those. I’ll see what I can do about the tag cloud. Descriptions: well I’ve written thousands of those when seeding directories over the years. I did get one idea that will make seeding Blog Snoop easier: find single subject blogs. (ie. blog with original poetry, blog full of funny pictures of a dog in superhero costumes, etc.) Because trying to read back into a general blog that writes about everything and then describe it is work. 🙂

  2. Replied to Memo: Announcement: The Future of Blog Snoop Blog Directory by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
    I’m hitting a fork in the road with this site and the experiment of using a blog as a directory of blogs.  The problem here is me: I’m running out of time.  I’m duplicating a lot … Source: Announcement: The Future of Blog Snoop – Blog Snoop Weblog Directory We’ll see what happens.  It...

    Brad, much like Kicks Condor, I think you’re making a laudable effort, and one of the ways our work grows is to both keep up with it and experiment around.

    If I recall, programming wasn’t necessarily your strong suit, but like many in the IndieWeb will say: “Manual until it hurts!” By doing things manually, you’ll more easily figure out what might work and what might not, and then when you’ve found the thing that does, then you spend some time programming it to automate the whole thing to make it easier. It’s quite similar to designing a college campus: let the students walk around naturally for a bit then pave the natural walkways that they’ve created. This means you won’t have both the nicely grided and unused sidewalks in addition to the ugly grass-less beaten paths. It’s also the broader generalization of paving the cow paths.

    In addition to my Following page I’ve also been doing some experimenting with following posts using the Post Kinds Plugin. It is definitely a lot more manual than I’d like it to be. It does help to have made a bookmarklet to more quickly create follow posts, but until I’ve got it to a place that I really want it, it’s not (yet) worth automating taking the data from those follow posts to dump them into my Follow page for output there as well. Of course the fact that my follow posts have h-entry and h-feed mark up means that someone might also decide to build a parser that will extract my posts into a feed which could then be plugged into something else like a microsub-based reader so that I could make a follow post on my own site and the source is automatically added to my subscription list in my reader automatically.

    In addition to Kicks Condor, I’me seeing others start to kick the tires of these things as well. David Shanske recently wrote Brainstorming on Implementing Vouch, Following, and Blogrolls, but I think he’s got a lot more going on in his thinking than he’s indicated in his post which barely scratches the surface.

    I also still often think back to a post from Dave Winer in 2016: Are you ready to share your OPML? This too has some experimental discovery features that only scratch the surface of the adjacent possible.

    And of course just yesterday, Kevin Marks (previously of Technorati) reminded us about rel=”directory” which could have some interesting implications for discovery and following. Think for a bit of how one might build a decentralized Technorati or something along the lines of Ryan Barrett’s indie map.

    As things continue to grow, I’m seeing some of all of our decisions and experiments begin to effect others as these are all functionality and discovery mechanisms that we’ll all need in the very near future. I hope you’ll continue to experiment and make cow paths that can eventually be paved.

    Featured Image: Cows on the path flickr photo by Reading Tom shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

    Syndicated copies to:

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26 Jul 2018

I admit that the Indieweb (and the blogosphere before it) seemed repellent at first - I thought it was navel-gazing. Blogging about blogging. I think I discounted the beauty of innovating a medium by simply using the medium.

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Reply: Hello, Nomad!

h0p3

It’s important to form accurate representations of yourself even if only for yourself. To do it in public is morally valuable because deconstructing and constructing yourself out in the open casts some sunlight on the process (keeping us out of temptation, in some cases).

I like that other people can get a very palpable view of who I am through my site (if they wish to invest the time). If you really want to know who I am, you can know (it’s been a very useful tool in my life).

Ok, here we go. Hello my friend.

It is a real surprise to get a note from you. Frankly, I’m blown away by what you’re doing—and I felt that you were deeply embedded somewhere in your wiki, not exactly reaching out to pass notes. But I’m so glad.

The representation you’ve chosen for yourself is no illusion. If all I see of someone is pictures and quips, the image of that person is just a bit of shattered glass. But one thousand words cannot lie. They may be untrue, but they divulge so many more triangles to build that person with.

I am reluctant to say that even a verbose persona can ever be accurate, though. We start to believe that these pixels are us. I think they are just a good show. We are always in public here. And our souls know it.

I do look forward to the good show you have going. (Likewise: to you out there reading—hark, reader!—we are looking for you. Please read h0p3’s Find the Others as proof.)

I like what you are doing; my quest differs. I’m not looking for an ennobled species of thinker. I don’t want to avoid the unsavories. I am looking for Anyone. This is not right—there are plenty of Anyone’s around, aren’t there? Well, I am wanting to fall into fate, rather than to find only my most meaningful bosom friend. I want to travel down the river and stop at all the places that happen to be there along the way. And maybe a friend will crop up. Strange things, images and tales, too.

I am sold on it myself. I know I can communicate who I am, what I’m thinking, etc. with very low friction on my own medium-turf. My message integrates well into my identity when I use my own tools.

Yes, well, this is quite stunning actually. There is a sense on your wiki of a full use of hypertext that I haven’t seen before. It is the complexity of your organization and nomenclature. It is somehow still inviting. You have made a journal that is a vast puzzle.

I have been working, privately, on a directory of the web from a certain vantage. (I don’t know that my role is to journal; more, to explore out there.) And I think the real key that has been missing—from directories, wikis and engines—is artistry. To make it beautiful and elegant. Your work is a brilliant stone in that respect. Anyway, (hark, reader,) I’ll stop there.

Well, this will be fruitful. Feel no pressure to find some technology to make a connection with me. Climb down. We can link just fine.

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25 Jul 2018

TBL Has Some Regrets

Mark Damon Hughes

Getting more people connected is somewhat positive and empowering for the “last billion”; although you, presumably fellow first-world libertarian/liberal/con-but-not-an-asshole-servative reader, may well not like the political and religious programming the last billion have…

I’ve also been thinking lately that linkrot is such a good thing for this reason. It’s very “human” for The Web to evolve, forget, to shed.

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Reply: Brad’s Comment on ‘The Awesome Directories’

Brad Enslen

On some hypothetical future niche directory it’s that webring code that prevents the linkrot. As long as the webring/directories robot keeps finding that validation code you stay in the directory, no code and eventually you will be dropped. Not perfect but it automates the process a bit.

Ok, yeah—this will be essential. I wonder if I can use the page’s title tag for this? Like: save the title tag the first time I check the site. Because it’s much less rare for the title tag to change than the body text.

I like the idea of the webring code. I just don’t have any influence on some of the sites that I am linking to. But yeah: mixing webrings and Indieweb.xyz is interesting.

As for the size of a directory (or webring), that is such a big problem on the Web. They need to have upper limits, for sure. If it gets too big, it feels (and does become) unusable. If it’s too large, then nothing in it is special. Like with these “awesome lists”—you are led to believe that the list is a severe abridgement, because the links in it are truly impressive.

With webrings, someone is special by virtue of discovering the ring first. So I can see closing admittance. I’m not that into webrings because it’s a pretty fragile link between all parties.

I’d like linking to take some effort, which also limits the amount of links you can have and makes them more potent.

Thanks for the ideas! Great stuff.

  1. I’m not yet convinced webrings will work in 2018 for traffic. But even just a validation code would help indicate the site has lost it’s ability to be listed. OTOH a ring code gives traffic options to members 2 ways either from another member in the ring, or from the directory itself.

    The trick with a directory is the directory needs to attract visitors itself so it can disperse them out to those listed. If the directory provides no traffic there is little reason to be listed.

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24 Jul 2018

The Awesome Directories

Continuing my discussion from Foundations of a Tiny Directory, I discuss the recent trend in ‘awesome’ directories.

All this recent discussion about link directories and one of the biggest innovations was sitting under my nose! The awesome-style directory, which I was reminded of by the Dat Project’s Awesome list.

An “awesome” list is—well, it isn’t described very well on the about page, which simply says: only awesome is awesome. I think the description here is a bit better:

Curated lists of awesome links around a specific topic.

The “awesome” part to me: these independently-managed directories are then brought together into a single, larger directory. Both at the master repo and at stylized versions of the master repo, such as AwesomeSearch.


In a way, there’s nothing more to say. You create a list of links. Make sure they are all awesome. Organize them under subtopics. And, for extra credit, write a sentence about each one.

Dat Project's Awesome

Generally, awesome lists are hosted on Github. They are plain Markdown READMEs. They use h2 and h3 headers for topics; ul tags for the link lists. They are unstyled, reminiscent of a wiki.

This plain presentation is possibly to its benefit—you don’t stare at the directory, you move through it. It’s a conduit, designed to take you to the awesome things.

Hierarchical But Flat in Display

Awesome lists do not use tags; they are hierarchical. But they never nest too deeply. (Take the Testing Frameworks section under the JavaScript awesome list—it has a second level with topics like Frameworks annd Coverage.)

Sometimes the actual ul list of links will go down three or four levels.

But they’ve solved one of the major problems with hierarchical directories: needing to click too much to get down through the levels. The entire list is displayed on a single page. This is great.

Curation Not Collection

The emphasis on “awesome” implies that this is not just a complete directory of the world’s links—just a list of those the editor finds value in. It also means that, in defense of each link, there’s usually a bit of explanatory text for that link. I think this is great too!!

Wiki-Style But Moderated

The reason why most awesome lists use Github is because it allows people to submit links to the directory without having direct access to modify it. To submit, you make a copy of the directory, make your changes, then send back a pull request. The JavaScript awesome list has received 477 pull requests, with 224 approved for inclusion.

So this is starting to seem like a rebirth of the old “expert” pages (on sites like About.com). Except that there is no photo or bio of the expert.

About.com screenshot.

As I’ve been browsing these lists, I’m starting to see that there is a wide variety of quality. In fact, one of the worst lists is the master list!! (It’s also the most difficult list to curate.)

I also think the lack of styling can be a detriment to these lists. Compare the Static Web Site awesome list with staticgen.com. The awesome list is definitely easier to scan. But the rich metadata gathered by the StaticGen site can be very helpful! Not the Twitter follower count—that is pointless. But it is interesting to see the popularity, because that can be very helpful sign of the community’s robustness around that software.

Anyway, I’m interested to see how these sites survive linkrot. I have a feeling we’re going to be left with a whole lot of broken awesome lists. But they’ve been very successful in bringing back small, niche directories. So perhaps we can expect some further innovations.

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18 Jul 2018

Catalog of Internet Artist Clubs

Here’s a web directory I stumbled onto—all the links you could want related to the “surf clubs” of the mid-2000s. I like the tight structure and the histories woven in. I’m beginning to think that the failure of early directories was that they were just piles of links with no sense of an editor or curator. (Oh and I had also long forgotten about Google Directory, which was shuttered in 2011.)

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13 Jul 2018

TiddlyWiki PLUS Dat PLUS Glitch

Stay with me here. I realize that’s quite a pile of buzzwords. But this is good stuff! This is a wiki that runs totally in your browser. You edit it in your browser. But it gets saved to a peer-to-peer network. You can also authorize someone else (!) to edit it! I’m really impressed by Dat and HyperDB.

You can’t revoke permissions or restrict permissions. But still.

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12 Jul 2018

Foundations of a Tiny Directory

Can the failing, impotent web directory be transformed? Be innovated??

Can we still innovate on the humble web directory? I don’t think you can view large human-edited directories (like Yahoo! or DMOZ) as anything but a failure when compared to Google. Sure, they contained millions of links and, ultimately, that may be all that matters. But a human editor cannot keep up with a Googlebot! So Google’s efficiency, speed and exhaustiveness won out.

But perhaps there is just no comparison. Perhaps the human-edited directory still has its strengths, its charms. After all, it has a human, not a GoogleBot. Could a human be a good thing to have?

An Age of Link Fatigue

We now have an abundance of blogs, news, podcasts, wikis—we have way too much really. Links constantly materialize before your very eyes. Who would even begin, in 2018, to click on Yahoo!'s “Social Science” header and plumb its depths?

Yahoo! '95

Strangely enough, even Wikipedia has a full directory of itself, tucked in a corner. (Even better, there’s a human-edited one hidden in there!) These massive directories are totally overwhelming and, thus, become more of an oddity for taking a stroll. (But even that—one usually begins a stroll through Wikipedia with a Google search, don’t they?)

The all-encompassing directory found another way: through link-sharing sites like Del.icio.us and Pinboard. If I visit Pinboard’s botany tag, I can see the latest links—plant of the week the “Night Blooming Cereus” and photos of Mount Ka’ala in Hawaii. Was that what I was looking for? Well at least I didn’t have to find my way through a giant hierarchy.

Where directories have truly found their places is in small topic-based communities. Creepypasta and fan site wikis have kept the directory alive. Although, hold up—much like Reddit’s sub-based wikis—these mostly store their own content. The Boushh page mostly links back to the wiki itself, not to the myriad of essay, fan arts and video cosplays that must exist for this squeaky bounty hunter.

Besides—what if a directory wasn’t topic-based? What if, like Yahoo!, the directory attempted to tackle the Whole Web, but from a specific viewpoint?

Craft Librarians on the Web

You see this in bookstores: staff recommendations. This is the store’s window into an infinite catalog of books. And it works. The system is: here are our favorites. Then, venturing further into the store: this is what we happen to have.

Staff recommendations shelf

“But I want what I want,” you mutter to yourself as you disgustedly flip through a chapbook reeking of hipster.

Well, of course. You’re not familiar with this store. But when I visit Green Apple in San Francisco, I know the store. I trust the store. I want to look through its directory.

This has manifested itself in simple ways like the blogroll. Two good examples would be the Linkage page on Fogus.me, which gives short summaries, reminiscent of the brief index cards with frantic marker all over them. This is the staff recommendation style blogroll.

Another variation would be Colin Walker’s Directory, which collects all blogs that have sent a Webmention[1]. This serves a type of “neighborhood” directory.[2]

What I want to explore now is the possibility of expanding the blogroll into a new kind of directory.

Social Linking

Likes, upvotes, replies, friending. What if it’s all just linking? In fact, what if linking is actually more meaningful!

When I friend you and you disappear into the number twenty-three—my small collection of twenty-three friends—you are but a generic human, a friendly one, maybe with a tiny picture of you holding a fishing rod. With any luck, the little avatar is big enough that I can discern the fishing rod, because otherwise, you’re just a friendly human. And I’m not going to even attempt to assign a pronoun with a pic that small.

Href Hunt

It’s time for me to repeat this phrase: Social Linking. Yes, I think it could be a movement! Just a small one between you and I.

It began with an ‘href hunt’: simply asking anyone out there for links and compiling an initial flat directory of these new friends. (Compare in your mind this kind of treatment of ‘friends’ to the raw name dumps we see on Facebook, et al.) How would you want to be linked to?

Now let’s turn to categories. A small directory doesn’t need a full-blown hierachy—the hierarchy shouldn’t dwarf the collection. But I want more than tags.

---
Link Title
url://something/something
*topic/subtopic format time-depth
Markdown-formatted *description* goes here.

Ok, consider the above categorization structure. I’m trying to be practical but multi-faceted.

  • topic/subtopic is a two-level ad-hoc categorization similar to a tag. A blog may cover multiple categories, but I’m not sure if I’ll tackle that. I’m actually thinking this answers the question, “Why do I visit this site? What is it giving me?” So a category might be supernatural/ghosts if I go there to get my fix of ghosts; or, it could be writing/essays for a blog I visit to get a variety of longform. An asterisk would indicate that the blog is a current feature among this topic (and this designation will change periodically.)
  • format could be: ‘blog’, ‘podcast’, ‘homepage’, a single ‘pdf’ or ‘image’, etc.
  • time-depth indicates the length one can expect to spend at this link. It could be an image that only requires a single second. It could be a decade worth of blog entries that is practically limitless.

The other items: author, url and description—these are simply metadata that would be collected.

The directory would then allow discovery by any of these angles. You could go down by topic or you could view by ‘time depth’. I may even nest these structures so that you could find links that were of short time depth under supernatural/ghosts.

The key distinct between this directory and any other would be: this is not a collection of the “best” links on the Web—or anywhere near an exhaustive set of links. But simply my links that I have discovered and that I want to link to.

I don’t know why, but I think there is great promise here. Not in a return to the old ways. Just: if anyone is here on the Web, let’s discover them.


  1. Hat tip to my new friend, Brad for pointing this out. ↩︎

  2. I should also mention that many of the realizations in this post are very similar to Brad’s own Human Edited vs. Google post, which I cite here as an indication that this topic is currently parallelized. ↩︎

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10 Jul 2018

My Href Hunt for July 2018

Ok, a few folks out there let me link to them! Oh, I’m so excited! It’s strange how hard it is to ask a question out on the open Web and to get a reply. If you have any idea how I can find new, unusual personal home pages and blogs—please clue me in.

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