👓 Connections | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Replied to Connections by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (kfitz.info)

There are still some wrinkles to be ironed out in getting the various platforms we use today to play well with Webmentions, but it’s a real step toward the goal of that decentralized, distributed, interconnected future for scholarly communication.  ❧

...the upshot is that this relatively new web standard allows for round-tripped connections among discrete domains, enabling the conversation about an individual post to be represented on that post, wherever it might actually take place.  ❧

The fun, secret part is that Kathleen hasn’t (yet?) discovered IndieAuth so that she can authenticate/authorize micropub clients like Quill to publish content to her own site from various clients by means of a potential micropub endpoint. ​

I’ll suspect she’ll be even more impressed when she realizes that there’s a forthcoming wave of feed readers1,2 that will allow her to read others’ content in a reader which has an integrated micropub client in it so that she can reply to posts directly in her feed reader, then the responses get posted directly to her own website which then, in turn, send webmentions to the sites she’s responding to so that the conversational loop can be completely closed.

She and Lee will also be glad to know that work has already started on private posts and conversations and posting to limited audiences as well. Eventually there will be no functionality that a social web site/silo can do that a distributed set of independent sites can’t. There’s certainly work to be done to round off the edges, but we’re getting closer and closer every day.

I know how it all works, but even I’m (still) impressed at the apparent magic that allows round-trip conversations between her website and Twitter and Micro.blog. And she hasn’t really delved into website to website conversations yet. I suppose we’ll have to help IndieWebify some of her colleague’s web presences to make that portion easier. Suddenly “academic Twitter” will be the “academic blogosphere” she misses from not too many years ago.  🙂

If there are academics out thee who are interested in what Kathleen has done, but may need a little technical help, I’m happy to set up some tools for them to get them started. (We’re also hosing occasional Homebrew Website Clubs, including a virtual one this coming week, which people are welcome to join.)

References

1.
Aldrich C. Feed reader revolution: it’s time to embrace open & disrupt social media. BoffoSocko. https://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/. Published June 9, 2017. Accessed July 20, 2018.
2.
Parecki A. Building an IndieWeb Reader. Aaron Parecki. https://aaronparecki.com/2018/03/12/17/building-an-indieweb-reader. Published March 21, 2018. Accessed July 20, 2018.
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3 responses on “👓 Connections | Kathleen Fitzpatrick”

  1. My last post, Connections, gathered a fair bit of response — enough that you can see a good example of Webmentions in action below it. There’s a little back-and-forth discussion there that mostly took place on Twitter, as well as a lot of likes and mentions that came from there as well.

    One important question surfaced in that discussion: Lee Skallerup Bessette asks how we keep in conversation with one another from our separate domains. Webmentions are one part of that equation, but discovery as François notes is another. One thing that Twitter has been pretty good at, after all, is gathering a sense of what people are reading and talking about, or what they ought to be reading and talking about.

    Before Twitter, there was RSS. In fact, after Twitter, there still is RSS, a means of sharing information from one service or domain to another whose possibilities have never felt fully explored. I will admit to having all but abandoned my RSS reader some time back; none of the options after Google Reader were quite as satisfying community-wise, and Twitter was directing me to more than enough to read, so I let it go.

    But now, as I find myself withdrawing a bit from Twitter and heading toward more intentionally chosen and cultivated spaces, discovery once again becomes an issue. Happily, a Twitter conversation (yes, I know) between Mark Sample and the folks at Reclaim Hosting led to the addition of FreshRSS to Reclaim’s Installatron, meaning that in just a few clicks I was able to self-host my own RSS aggregator. I transferred my subscriptions from my old feed reader, and was back in business.

    In the process, I discovered that a lot of folks I’d been following hadn’t updated in yonks, and that some feeds no longer existed at all. So I’ve done a lot of pruning. But having done so, I’m ready to start cultivating that garden again, so do let me know if you’ve got a feed that I ought to be following.

    In the meantime, Chris Aldrich indicates (in a reply to my post, posted on his site, that appears in my dashboard here as a comment but that for some reason is not appearing on the front end) that there is a forthcoming generation of feed readers that will not only gather in content but also syndicate responses to it, allowing replies (like Chris’s to me) to appear both on the comment author’s site and on the site of the original post.

    This all raises, as Dorothea Salo notes, some serious questions about spam and harassment. One of the things about the early community of academic bloggers that I’m so nostalgic for (nostalgic enough that I should know to be a little self-critical here) is that it was pretty small, and so could be pretty intentional. And even so, problems arose. Maintaining the care exercised in a known community while remaining open to other voices and inputs is an issue that the next wave of distributed but interconnected communication platforms are going to need to face head-on. The IndieWeb folks are exploring this through Vouch, a protocol for mediating new connections through mutually known community members.

    These are real challenges, I think, a few among the many that social media platforms have utterly fumbled: finding ways to be open to the web while safe from harassment; finding ways to maintain ownership of one’s content while being open to discussion; finding ways to develop and extend community without endangering the very thing we’re trying to create. Finding ways to care for one’s plot, in other words, without winding up in a walled garden. I’m looking forward to seeing how a decentralized, distributed, interconnected web might find new ways to approach these challenges.

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