Kathleen, Happy to help; never fear pestering. And congratulations on taking the leap!

These plugins are actively being developed and maintained by a group of folks and have updates with new niceties every couple of months. There were some new things relating to local avatars recently, but apparently some of the initial settings weren’t being saved. To fix things temporarily until the next update, go to the Webmention settings page and simply save it so that the Webmentions plugin will save the default settings to show the avatars.

I hadn’t heard of the Twitter Mentions as Comments plugin before, but there are several similar old plugins which now no longer work or have been long abandoned.

The links to the author names is another known bug as a result of the system not recognizing an initialization in set up. If I recall, the solution mentioned above of going to /wp-admin/admin.php?page=webmention in your site’s admin UI and simply clicking save should fix the problem and display everything as avatars. Generally most people facepile all their received reactions except for “replies”, though you can obviously pick and choose in the settings.

Depending on how mentioned Tweets appear, Brid.gy attempts to provide a reasonable answer as to whether it was a mention or a reply. A recent update to the suite now allows you to go in and manually change webmention types if you wish by editing the comment directly.

I try to document some of the major changes in the suite and write about some of the (hidden?) features. As a result I maintain an IndieWeb Research Collection of posts (mostly WordPress focused though there are some generic pieces as well as some coverage of WithKnown). You may find some interesting tidbits there as you delve in deeper.

I’m always happy to help, though for convenience, you should feel free to hop into one of the IndieWeb chat rooms (there’s even a specific WordPress related chat), where you’ll find an array of people (including the plugin developers) almost 24 hours a day who can help with problems and issues, which means you may get more immediate help/troubleshooting. You can also feel more than free to file issues (or even feature requests) to the plugin’s development pages on GitHub–the community uses them as much as the developers to track issues and potential enhancements as well as document discussion. You can find links to them on the IndieWeb WordPress Plugin page.

Once you’ve got these working, you might (optionally) take a look at also adding the following:

  • An h-card to your homepage, so that others receiving replies from you will have your name, URL, and avatar to display your comments properly
  • IndieWeb Plugin (this has a built-in h-card widget as well as help for additional plugins below)
  • Syndication Links (for indicating the places you syndicate your content)
  • Post Kinds (allows you to post a variety of social media-like types of posts: bookmarks, likes, favorites, listens, reads, etc.)
  • WebSub (a notification-based protocol for real time web publishing and subscribing to streams and legacy feed files)
  • Micropub (allows you to use other clients to publish to your WordPress website)

I and a few others view the DoOO/Domains crowd as an education sub-category of IndieWeb, though in my experience there are more active developers and technologists in the broader IndieWeb side of life. We’re glad to have you tinkering with us.

Again, I’m happy to help (even via phone or conference call if it’s more convenient).

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