IndieWeb and Webmentions plugin for WordPress FTW!

I don’t think I’d used it before or really seen it happening in the wild, but Khurt Williams used his website to reply to one of my posts via Webmention. I was then able to write my reply directly within the comments section of my original post and automatically Webmention his original back in return! Gone are the days of manually cutting and pasting replies so that they appear to thread correctly within WordPress!

Without all the jargon, we’re actually using our own websites to carry on a back and forth threaded conversation in a way that completely makes sense.

In fact, other than that our conversation is way over the 280 character limit imposed by Twitter, the interaction was as easy and simple from a UI perspective as it it is on Twitter or even Facebook. Hallelujah!

This is how the internet was meant to work!

A hearty thanks to those who’ve made this possible! It portends a sea-change in how social media works.

Three cheers for the #IndieWeb!!!

Published by

Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

40 thoughts on “”

  1. And Chris, quite honestly, I didn’t even realize we were doing that!!! Definitely a win!

  2. If you’re curious how I’ve managed to do natural #WordPress to WordPress threaded commenting, then join us for the virtual Homebrew Website Club this afternoon for more details:

    Syndicated copies:

    1. Unfortunately, I had another event scheduled …

  3. Amanda says:

    Caught wind of WordPressers federating comments via Twitter and of course I had to join in. Not impressed with Twitter’s character limit, or its new threading feature, and don’t like Facebook either. Looking forward to the day when participating on the indieweb becomes as easy as participating in silos.

    1. Amanda, I’m writing this as a reply to you within the admin UI of my WordPress comments dashboard (at /wp-admin/edit-comments.php). I’ve tried this out a couple of times and it seems to work incredibly well so far. I’ve written up more of the details on my site here: Threaded Replies and Comments with Webmentions in WordPress ( Hopefully you like it and find it as incredibly useful as I do.

  4. Aaron Davis says:

    Replied Finally! Simple Blog to Blog conversations in WordPress. by Chris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)

    IndieWeb and Webmentions plugin for WordPress FTW!
    I don’t think I’d used it before or really seen it happening in the wild, but Khurt Williams used his website to reply to one of my posts via Webmention. I was then able to write my reply directly within the comments section of my original post…

    I was wondering how I was meant to facilitate a threaded comment. Wondering Chris, is that with the Threaded Comment plugin? I remember seeing it listed as ‘optional’. Can’t remember if I installed it.
    I still want to know how to bake more code into my responses/posts etc. Is it something that you handcraft or put into the theme?
    I remember when I thought I had my head around WordPress and blogging. Then I found the IndieWeb and realised I had sold myself a lie.

    1. Aaron, it is in fact with the Threaded Comment plugin (though it’s a GitHub repo and not in the main repository). A few people have asked me about it in the last couple of days, so instead of writing it out multiple times, I’ve done it once. Here are the details: Threaded Replies and Comments with Webmentions in WordPress. I’d had it ages ago and disabled it because I couldn’t quite get it to work (or it didn’t do what I expected), and didn’t really have instructions, so sadly I gave up. Now that I know what it was meant for and how to use it, I don’t know how I lived without it before.

      Syndicated copies:

      1. I’m excited to use it!!

  5. Aaron Davis says:

    Yep, came through. Will have a read. Thanks as always

  6. Aaron Davis says:

    Thank you Chris for explaining the process behind it. I know that you mention the hope that the process and plugin will improve, I wondering if you have any thoughts or advice for making this workflow smoother as it currently exists? Do you just a text file with random chunks of code that you regularly use or do you use a template? I think that this is my next step in regards to webmentions, adding more content to my links.

    1. Aaron, I’ve heard a few mention that the plugin works for them without including either a link or a u-in-reply-to class at all, so it apparently should work exactly as one would want. I suspect that somehow the microformats mark up in my comments template is a bit “off” and thus it’s not working as expected for me. I’m worried this may also be the case for others as well, but this is the eternal theme issue that we’re all always dealing with at the moment.

      Typically I’m typing out the reply and then simply adding a URL link and adding the class=”u-in-reply-to” manually, which is something I had done in the “old days” before I was using the Post Kinds plugin for all the other post types (bookmarks, likes, etc.) This seems to work for me in most cases despite my theme markup, though I notice it doesn’t seem to be sending my avatar/photo properly.

      If things are as smooth as I’ve heard, the only future improvement is encouraging this sub-plugin to be merged into the primary webmentions plugin. From a programmatic viewpoint though, I’m not sure how easy/difficult that may be.

      I’m not quite sure if I’ve answered all of your question as I don’t think I’m getting what you mean by “I think that this is my next step in regards to webmentions, adding more content to my links.”

  7. Aaron Davis says:

    Sorry for the confusion Chris. What I meant about ‘adding contentu’ is in regards to h-cards. I tried using your invisible code – #8203 – to bake in categories into my post. I also like the idea of adding a h-summary to each post on my main blog.
    I am assuming that some of this is best done through the theme, that is what I am unsure about.
    For example, when you comment it includes things like syndicated links. Is that the theme or something you do manually?
    Hope that makes sense.
    P.S. Your comment did not come through in the thread. My webmentions playing up once again …

    1. It could easily have been my fault for the comment not pushing through. I’m still working out some issues, but I’m trying my best; sometimes it’s guesswork if people are moderating contents in which case I can’t quite tell if things went through. I can manually syndicate, just to make sure; you’ll just have to excuse/delete the duplicates.

      I think a lot of the things you’re talking about are often best baked directly into your theme or at worst perhaps using a plugin and/or widget if they’re easier. I know the IndieWeb Plugin has an h-card widget, but I wanted some more control, so I made my own by hand and dumped the code into the widget that appears on my homepage. I just used the typical WordPress widget system and dumped it into the sidebar area for my homepage.

      As for summaries, you typically add them as sub-microformats to things like h-entry. Thus you’d want to add something like p-summary instead of the older entry-summary or e-summary. I think that some of this was being worked on in Independent Publisher already, but haven’t noticed if it’s being actively used in the current version. Often many themes will use the WordPress “Excerpt” field in the admin UI to add a summary which would have this microformat on it for use elsewhere whether it’s displayed or hidden within the page source for open graph data which is used by Twitter or Facebook. The p-summary would typically be added by the theme itself depending on where it’s used.

      I could have sworn that the Independent Publisher Theme used and displayed WordPress’s built in categories and tags details for posts, so that should cover your needs there hopefully.

      The syndication links on comments are a hidden bit of functionality and aren’t documented well (or at all?). I recall stumbling across the functionality myself. The syndication links plugin definitely adds the functionality, and depending on how the comment is received, it can sometimes display them automatically. Generally however, I’m often syndicating things I write in comments manually to Twitter (often using it as a notifications system for those without webmention support). Then I’ll go to the particular comment I syndicated and “edit” it, either by using the admin UI directly at /edit-comments.php or by clicking on the “edit” button on the public facing comment on the particular page. Then scrolling down that page you’ll find the Syndication Links meta box which will allow you to manually add the link! Eventually plugins like Bridgy Publish might automate some of this better, but for now, that’s where it’s hiding.

  8. Aaron Davis says:

    Thank you Chris for the tips. I will have a tinker. I think that in the end what you highlight is that if you want it done well then it takes effort and work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *