a post by Jeff Doshna (facebook.com)
I have a real problem. I HATE FACEBOOK, what they are doing with our data, how they control access to information and news for millions of people, and the fact that they've insinuated themselves into every aspect of our lives.

So I'm inclined to walk away from it entirely.


There's real information on here that I need, about people I care about, about things going on in my communities, and keeping connected with folks who've been part of my life over the years.

So, what to do?

You can add people to custom Facebook lists and just read those, but then you’re not necessarily getting all the data you want given the Facebook algorithm deciding what you see.

There’s lots more I could advise doing, but if you’re only using Facebook for reading content you want to get out of Facebook, then lock the whole thing down as best as you can (privacywise) and then use https://facebook-atom.appspot.com/ to suck the data you want out as a feed and pipe it into a feed reader.

You can unsubscribe or unfollow folks to limit your feeds to the bare minimum. The atom feed the appspot tool gives you will be everything and it will be reverse chronological. Good feed readers like Feed.ly and Inoreader will allow you to filter out posts you don’t want to see using a variety of keyword filters.

If you need specific help in setting it up or the instructions are unclear, let me know; I’m happy to help.

If you want to set up and run your own custom private system/server for close family, I can make some suggestions for doing that too.

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Support for importing syndication links for Mastodon Autopost · Issue #75 · dshanske/syndication-links by Chris Aldrich (GitHub)
Now that SL has the Mastodon icon (#66), I'll also note that the latest version of Mastodon Autopost plugin should now also support importing the URL for the last successful toot to allow the closure of automating the POSSE loop.

I’m verifying, for the tape since I know you don’t use Mastodon Autopost, that this works as expected now.

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Reply to ravisagar on Twitter

ravisagar on Twitter (Twitter)
@ChrisAldrich Just found your blog after searching more about implementing #POSSE and #Webmention Great content. Thanks for sharing.

If you’re building in Drupal, I’m sure you’ll also find some valuable help from @hongpong, @mlncn@dries, and @swentel.

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Updates broke query variable fill · Issue #158 · dshanske/indieweb-post-kinds (GitHub)
The adding of kindurl= no longer works. Fix needed.

@mrkrndvs I’ve found that if there’s an emoji within any of the metadata sucked into the meta box fields, the filter that sits on these fields to prevent malicious code, can then remove ALL of the data from them when you either save as a draft or try to publish the post.

If you’re finding that it doesn’t seem to work or does so sporadically, you might take a look for things like emoji or other potential unrecognized characters for the URLs you’re trying to use to see if that’s what is causing the bug.

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Support GitHub · Issue #56 · dshanske/bridgy-publish (GitHub)
Bridgy now supports stars (likes), replies and new issues in early beta. I believe the Issue kind is coming to post-kinds. Forgive me if this is already being worked on.

@snarfed and @dshanske are brilliant!

With any luck, this will be my first POSSE reply to Github via my WordPress site using Bridgy Publish.

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👓 Shriver Hall renovation expands to include more enhancements—and a longer timeline | The Hub

Shriver Hall renovation expands to include more enhancements—and a longer timeline by Dennis O'Shea (The Hub)
Homewood campus performance space now expected to reopen in early 2019 with improved sound system, seating, and much more. The Shriver Hall renovation project, now slated for completion in early 2019, includes replacing the auditorium’s uncomfortable and often broken seating. Seat removal took place in the fall.

A few years ago they actually took out the awesome sound system because it didn’t “fit in” with the new orchestra shell and handicapped elevator access to the stage that the HSO felt made it too “cramped”. I have no expectation that this will make it a better place for film screenings. I’m also sure the seating capacity will be far less than it was before. Alas…

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Reply to @Vasta about podcasts

a post by Sameer Vasta (vasta.micro.blog)
Just unsubscribed from all 324 podcasts I was trying to keep on top of every day; starting with a clean sheet, again. If you have one or two podcasts you think are must listen, please do let me know. (Looking for endorsements, more than just recommendations.) Thanks!

@vasta I think that the 14 part Seeing White series(Scene on Radio) was stunning storytelling, introspection, and history. My other must listen is the fantastic Eat This Podcast by @jeremycherfas which is about science and culture via the lens of food.

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Reply to Jon Mitchell on reading bots

Are you familiar with Reading.am by Jon Mitchell (Everything is ablaze!)
@brentsimmons Are you familiar with Reading.am and/or the many homespun varieties of feeds people use to share what they′re reading online with minimal friction? For me this solved the problem of wanting RSS to have a social component, but it needs no centralized back end. People build a reading bot however they want, and they fire it off when they want to tell the internet “I am reading this.” For example, I trigger mine by using Pinboard just the way I normally would, and its RSS feeds feed the bot.For me this solved the problem of wanting RSS to have a social component, but it needs no centralized back end. People build a reading ...

I like the general idea behind what you’re talking about here Jon, though I may be missing part of the conversation as I came across it via a GitHub issue and it’s taken some time to find even a portion of the conversation on micro.blog, though I suspect I’m missing what I’m sure might be a fragmented conversation.

I too love the idea of indicating what I’ve been reading online. The problem I see is that very few platforms, social or otherwise are focusing on what people are actually reading. Reading.am is the only one I’m aware of. Pocket and Instapaper let people bookmark things they want to read, but typically don’t present feeds of things after they’ve been checked off as having been read.

Most others are systems meant for a specific purpose that are being bent to various other purposes and it’s rarely ever explicit so that everyone knows their intention. As an example, I know people who star, like, favorite or do something else on various platforms to indicate what they’re reading. Some also use these to indicate bookmarks. As a personal example, on Twitter, I sometimes “star” a tweet to indicate I “like” it or it’s a “favorite” while most other times I’m really using the functionality to quickly bookmark an article and use an IFTTT.com recipe to automatically add the URLs of these starred posts to my Pocket account for later reading.

The overarching issue with these is that the general concept is painfully spread out and the meaning isn’t always concrete or explicit. Wouldn’t it be better if it were vastly more specific? In an attempt to do just this, I use my own website, in linkblog-like fashion, to indicate what I’m physically reading. It has an RSS feed that others could subscribe to if they wish to read it elsewhere. I also “syndicate” copies to places like Reading.am or occasionally to Twitter, Facebook, etc. for those who prefer to follow in those locations. Incidentally on Twitter, mine often look a lot like your Twitter feed with visual icons to indicate specific intents.

For something like Evergreen, or any reader really, I’d much prefer if there was UI and functionality to allow me to directly interact with the content I’m reading and post that interaction to my own website (and own it) in a relatively frictionless way. This would be far better than using things like stars to do something that others may not grasp.

In the reading case, it would be cool if I could physically mark something explicitly as “read” in Evergreen, and the reader would post to my website that I’ve actually read the thing. While there are many ways to do this (including RSS), perhaps one of the most interesting currently is the open web standard called Micropub. So my WordPress site has a micropub endpoint (via a plugin) and apps that support it could post to my site on my behalf. If the reader could post to my site via micropub, I could use it to collect and create a feed of everything I’m reading. Similarly readers could also do similar things to explicitly indicate that I mean to bookmark something, or I could use the reader to compose a reply directly in the reader and post that reply to my website (which incidentally could send webmentions to the original website to publish those replies as comments on their site.)

As an example we’re all familiar with, micro.blog has micropub support, so I can use micro.blog’s app to post and micro.blog uses micropub to send the post to my own website.

With the proper micropub support, a reader could allow me to post explicit bookmarks, likes, favorites, replies, reads, etc. to my own website. All of these could then have individual feeds from my site back out. Thus people could subscribe to any (or all) of them as they choose. Want to know what I’m reading? Easy. Want to know what I’m bookmarking or liking? Which events I’ve RSVP’d to? Shazam!

My homepage has a full list of post types I’m currently supporting, and each one of them can be subscribed to individually by adding /feed/ onto the end of the URL.

In summary, let’s try not to impute too much meaning onto a simple star’s functionality when we can be imminently more specific about it. Of course, for completeness, for most readers, we’d also need to change the meaning of the traditional “mark as read” which in reality means, “mark as done” or “don’t show me this anymore”.

For more detail on how this could work in an advanced reader-based world I’ve written a more explicit set of details here: Feed Reader Revolution

And to quote Brent back:

…it’s okay if this is a work in progress and isn’t ready for everybody yet. It’s okay if it takes time. We don’t know how it will all work in the end.

We’re discovering the future as we build it.

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A better way to subscribe to or follow sites on the open web

Just as I was getting sick last week, Colin Walker wrote “There has to be a better way to subscribe to sites.” He’s definitely hit the nail right on the head. The process is currently painful and disorganized, it’s also working on technology that’s almost two decades old and difficult for newcomers at best.

I’ve always posited that one of the reasons that social media silos have been so successful is that they’ve built some fantastic readers. Sure their UI is cleaner and just dead simple, but to a great extent 95% of their product is an evolved feed reader while the other 5% is a simple posting interface that makes it easy to interact. To compare, most CMSes are almost completely about posting interface, and spend very little time, if any, worrying about providing a reading experience.

The IndieWeb has been making some serious strides on making cross-site interactions easier with the Webmention and Micropub protocols, but the holy grail is still out there: allowing people to have an integrated feed reader built into their website (or alternately a standalone feed reader that’s tightly integrated with their site via Micropub or other means).

For those watching the space with as much interest as I have, there are a couple of interesting tools in the space and a few on the immediate horizon that are sure to make the process a whole lot easier and create a new renaissance in the open web.

SubToMe: a Universal Subscribe Button

First, for a relatively simple one-size-fits-all subscribe button, I recommend people take a look at SubToMe which touts itself as a “Universal Follow button” because it  “makes it easy for people to follow web sites,because browsers don’t do it.” The button is fairly straightforward and has an awful lot of flexibility built in. In the simplest sense it has some solid feed detection so it finds available feeds on a web page and then provides a handful of recommended major readers to the user. With two clicks, one can pretty quickly and almost immediately subscribe to almost any feed in their reader of choice. 

For publishers, one can quickly install a simple button on their site. They can further provide a list of specific feeds they want to advertise, and they can even recommend a particular feed reader if they choose.

For consumers, the service provides a simple browser bookmarklet so that if a site doesn’t have a button, they can click a subscribe button in their browser. Then click on a provider. Done. One can also choose a preferred provider to shorten the process.

Almost all the major feed readers are supported out of the box and the process of adding new ones is relatively simple.


Since last June there’s been a quietly growing new web spec called Microsub  that will assuredly shake up the subscription and reader spaces. In short it provides a standardized way for clients to consume and interact with feeds collected by a server.

While it gets pretty deep pretty quickly, the spec is meant to help decouple some of the heavy architecture of building a feed reader. In some way it’s analogous to the separation of content and display that HTML and CSS allows, but applied to the mechanics of feed readers and how readers display their content.

There are already a few interesting projects by the names of Together and Indigenous that are taking advantage of the architecture

I can’t wait to see how it all dovetails together to make a more integrated reading and posting interface as well as the potential it has for individual CMSs to potentially leverage the idea to include integrated interfaces into their products. I can’t wait for the day when my own personal website is compatible with Microsub, so that I can use any Microsub client to read my timeline and follow people.

I’m also sure that decoupling the idea of displaying posts from actually fetching remote feeds will make it easier to build a reader clients in general. I hope this has a Cambrian explosion-type of effect on the state of the art of feed readers.

I’d recommend those interested in a high level discussion to have a listen to the following thee short episodes of Aaron Parecki’s Percolator microcast.

Episode 3: Following

Episode 10: Microsub for Readers

Episode 17: It’s 2018!

Featured photo credit: Flock of sheep flickr photo by Jo@net shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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Reply to “To PESOS or to POSSE?” by Dries Buytaert

To PESOS or to POSSE? by Dries BuytaertDries Buytaert (dri.es)
Comparing two different approaches that help you take control back over your own data on the web. [...] The goal of this analysis was to understand the pros and cons of how I can own my own content on https://dri.es. While PESOS would be much easier to implement, I decided to go with POSSE. My next step is to figure out my "POSSE plan"; how to quickly and easily share status updates on my Drupal site, how to syndicate them to 3rd party services, how to re-organize my mailing list and my RSS feed, and more. If you have any experience with implementing POSSE, feel free to share your takeaways in the comments.

What a fantastic breakdown of the concepts of POSSE vs. PESOS, though to be sure there are also additional variations for syndicating, cross-posting, or moving content around to reach various audiences.

One thing that I think you’ve only briefly touched upon is the ability to also have likes, replies/comments, etc. also come back to your site as native content via webmentions. I’ve been able to get rid of five apps and their incessant notifications and trim it all back to just using my own site to handle everything instead. Using something I choose to use instead of something I’m forced to, while also owning my data, is really very liberating.

Like you, I too have always wanted to own my own content on the web, and there are some easier and some harder methods. Not being as strong a developer as many, I’ve taken a more hybrid approach to things which is still evolving. To some extent I began at the easy end with some PESOS based workflows and relying on simple tools like IFTTT.com to at least begin owning all my content. For many content management systems, this is nearly dead easy, and could even be done with something as simple and flexible as Tumblr without much, if any, coding experience.

Over time, as I’ve been able, I’ve  moved to a more direct POSSE method as either I or, more often, others have managed to master making the simple posting interfaces easier and easier. I think in the end, POSSE is the strongest of the methods, so that has always been my ultimate goal.

From a Drupal-centric approach, you might be able to gain an interesting perspective on the multitude of ways POSSE/PESOS can be done by looking at the various ways that are available in WordPress ecosystem. It’s probably easy to discern that some are far easier than others based on one’s facility with coding. In general, I’ve noticed that the more freedom and flexibility a particular method or plugin has, the longer it takes to code and/or configure. The less flexibility a plugin offers, the easier. (So one could compare something like SNAP at the more comprehensive/difficult end to something simpler like JetPack for POSSE.) The difficulty is in the administrative tax of keeping up with the panoply of social media platform APIs to keep things working smoothly over time, particularly when you want your posts to be able to leverage the broad arrays of posting options and display outputs platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer. The other difficult questions can sometimes be: am I just replacing one or two social platforms, or am I trying to replace 20? and am I doing them with one plugin or with 20? and finally, how DRY is that process? Sometimes manually cutting and pasting is just as good.

As you do, I write first and foremost for myself and then a distant second for reaction and conversation with others. Thus I think of my personal site as just that: personal. To some extent it’s a modern day version of a commonplace book where I collect a variety of thoughts in a variety of means, while still trying somewhat to keep it in an outer facing form to look what people might expect a site to look like. This means that I have a good number more than the traditional types of posts most social media sites have. I try to own all my own bookmarks and even post what I’m reading both online and in physical form. I keep highlights and annotations of things I find interesting. I naturally keep longer posts, status updates, and photos like many. I even log scrobbles of music and podcasts I listen to as well as film and television I watch. Interestingly there’s a tremendous amount I only publish privately to myself or a small circle of others that’s hidden on my site’s back end. Depending on how far and deep you want your experience to go you might want to consider how all these will look or be represented on your site. To  a great extent, I think that WordPress’s attempt to copy Tumblr (text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, video) with their Post Formats was interesting, it just didn’t go far enough. Naturally, this may take a different form for you depending on whether you’re building just for yourself or if you’re planning something more modular for the larger Drupal community to leverage.

Screencapture of my homepage with a list of the various post types my site supports including: articles, notes, bookmarks, jams, checkins, watches, RSVPs, etc.
A few of the post types my website supports.

The best part of all this is that I’ve not done any of it alone. While I try to maintain a list of some of my experiments to help others (you’ll probably appreciate the ones on mobile posting and RSS based on your outline), there’s also a wealth of other examples on the IndieWeb wiki and a terrifically stellar group of people around almost 24-7 in the IndieWeb chat to help spur me along. I’ll echo Tantek’s welcome to what I think is a more thoughtful and vibrant open web.

I hope others also find these resources so they’re not fumbling around in the dark as I was for so long. Since you’re obviously building in Drupal, I can recommend you take a look at some of the examples provided by the WordPress and the Known communities which Ben referenced. Since they’re all .php based and open-source, you may get further faster in addition to being able to iterate upon and improve their work. Many of the developers are frequently in the IndieWeb chat and I’m sure would be happy to help with ideas and pitfalls they came across along the way.

Like others, I’m posting my reply first on my own website, and manually cross-posting it to yours (manually until you support Webmention–perhaps via the Vinculum plugin?) as well as automatically to Twitter and others.

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Reply to Why we transitioned from Medium back to our own blog | Baremetrics

Why we transitioned from Medium back to our own blog by Josh Pigford (Baremetrics)
Where to publish something has becoming a difficult decision for a lot of businesses. You read so many stories about using various channels to distribute content and grow traffic, it’s hard to know what does and doesn’t work. Medium, in particular, has become a major player in the world of startup content, but is it really that great? [...] The numbers just didn’t make sense. Yes, I could put more into Medium and try to build up readership even more. The guys at Basecamp regularly get 250k+ views on their content. But doing that helps Medium the most in the long run. They’ve been fumbling left and right trying to figure out how to make Medium sustainable, and I’m just not convinced they’ll always do what’s best for us and our business. Switching back Now I didn’t want to throw out distribution on Medium entirely. There can definitely be some benefit to syndicating content there. It’s essentially another distribution channel to expose people to our content. So we needed a game plan on how we could still make use of Medium as a distribution channel without cannibalizing our own readership or SEO work.

This is 100% on the mark, you should definitely own your own content. Syndicating it out to Medium is a great idea, particularly when you can get a rel=”canonical” tag for the original on Medium. Incidentally Medium has their own WordPress plugin that will allow you to quickly and easily syndicate your site’s content directly to Medium without needing to separately import it. It’s also available on a per post basis.

But, even with this, you’re only getting 50% of the value of having your own website because you’ve only got one way communication out. Next you’ll need communication back in. What if I said you could get a lot of the comments, likes, and interactions from those other silos back into your website too? This way the conversations others are having relating to your content also come back to your site and enrich it there? What if you could own all (or almost all) of the conversation around your content?

Think about it, what if there was an @mention functionality that worked from website to website instead of being stuck inside Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr etc.? Interestingly, it exists! And you can set it up for free with last year’s new W3C Webmention protocol which already has WordPress plugins ready to go. Roughly for WordPress you’ll need the Webmentions plugin, the Semantic Linkbacks plugin, the Syndication Links plugin, a few strategically placed rel=”me” tags on your site, (maybe some tweaks to your microformats on your theme), and a free Brid.gy account. Details for setting it up can be found on the WordPress pages of the indieweb.org website. I suspect if you’re strong enough to have figured out the tech for your article, you could probably have it up and running in under an hour or so. Then instead of feeding content from your blog to the black hole of social media, you could have actual two-way communication with many social silos! Now you won’t need to pay as much attention to those other sites as you can use your WordPress site as an “app” to interact with them instead.

I’m happy to help walk you through it if you’re interested and need help. My own personal site has some documentation of some of the above as well as examples of how it works.

In some sense, hopefully this post on my site will be an interesting exemplar. I own it and “loaned” or syndicated copies to Disqus and Twitter. Comments, likes and reposts you make to the Twitter copy will automatically be ported back here after the fact using Brid.gy. (Sadly, Disqus isn’t supported–yet.)

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Reply to 2018: Some Hope by Brent Simmons

inessential on Twitter (Twitter)
2018: Some Hope: http://inessential.com/2018/01/03/2018_some_hope

Brent, I think you’ve hit the nail directly on the head. I’m glad someone working on a feed reader has these ideals. It may be a bit pedantic for you, but since you mention it in the close, here’s a reasonable primer which may help: http://boffosocko.com/2017/07/28/an-introduction-to-the-indieweb/

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