Ask Me Anything (AMA)

In the spirit of the old “Ask Me” pages on Tumblr or the popularized version of Ask Me Anything on Reddit, and partly as an IndieWeb experiment, I thought I would have and own my own Ask Me Anything page.

Ideally, you’ll ask your question on your own website and send me a webmention to have the question appear in the comments section below where I can then answer it. If your site doesn’t support webmentions, you can ask your question and include the permalink for this page on it and then webmention me here manually. If you prefer to remain anonymous you can probably use the service CommentParade. You can always go old school and just ask your question in the comment box below as well. I’ll also accept emailed questions which I’ll post without the personally identifying information of the person making the query.

So go ahead, feel free to ask away about anything…

26 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything (AMA)”

  1. Chris, I have been investigating bookmarking lately. I noticed that you trialed Radio3 a while back. I like what it offers in regards to syndication, but was wondering if there was a way of doing the same sort of thing in WordPress? That is, post a ‘Like’ on my site, but publicise the original link? I guess I could do this manually, I was just dreaming of something a little more automated?

    1. Aaron, I’ve been watching some of your bookmarking explorations and more closely contemplating some of my own. For “publicizing” the original link there are a few things you can do. I know you’ve come across my use of the PressForward plugin. It does a solid job of pulling in the entire post, which you’re bookmarking/liking/favoriting/etc., and allowing you to forward to the original canonical URL by setting an auto-forward time within the plugin. This allows you to syndicate your bookmark/like/favorite/other out to places like Twitter, Facebook, et al. and then when users click on those links, they go to your website which then in turn forwards them back to the original. This is much like the way linkblogs worked in the early 2000’s (John Gruber/Daring Fireball was one of the first to do this as I recall) and is pretty similar to the way some bookmarking sites like Diigo or work to forward you to content. When I checked last there were a few linkblog-esque plugins in the WordPress repo that did similar things, though none that did exactly what I wanted them to. Since the code is all open source though, you could extract the portions you need and bend them to your will if you liked/needed.

      Another option is to set the canonical URL for your post to that of the original you’re bookmarking, which will push the “credit” to the original. Some popular plugins like All In One SEO Pack allow you to do this. PressForward goes one step further and physically redirects people from your permalink to the original.

      One of the things I liked about PressForward and syndicating out was that it allowed my site to garner the traffic and referral links to the things I bookmarked as well as to collect the webmentions and potential conversations from social silos. Because my original post always forwarded, those conversations were only viewable (by the public) on the silos and not my site. I suppose sometimes you’ve got to take what you can get.

      I’m sure there are solutions beyond this, but there haven’t been many experimenting with them lately to my knowledge. Welcome to the bleeding edge!

      Syndicated copies:

    1. Part of the point and beauty of the IndieWeb movement is that you can choose any platform or set up you choose! There are far more options than just Known and WordPress. The harder problem is is to figure out what it is you want to do online. Then you can find, build, or find and build a tool that best suits those needs. If you need help, feel free to try the chat rooms at

    1. Kim, There are interesting pieces of functionality out on the web that are easy enough to replicate, and I thought that Webmention would be a good fit into an AMA workflow. I didn’t “need” to do it so much as “wanted” to while I was participating in a friend’s AMA on a major platform.

      As for the socks: a brand new pair of black/grey Puma athletic socks–yes they match!

      Syndicated copies:

  2. To: Chris Aldrich
    From: Glenn
    Re: Doing a talk together at WordCamp Riverside 2018
    Hi, Chris!
    It was great talking about the IndieWeb and many other topics with you at WordCamp Los Angeles on Saturday!
    Would you be interested in doing a talk together at WordCamp Riverside? Maybe something like:

    WordPress & IndieWeb:
    Rediscovering the creativity, joy, and power of Web 1.0 in a Web 2.0 world

    LMK what you think, if your schedule will permit it, what a better topic or title might be, etc.
    ~ Glenn

    Syndicated copies:

    1. Look at Glenn with the webmentions turned on!! We should definitely put something together for November in Riverside. Let’s chat this week and brainstorm a bit on what that might look like. Perhaps a call tomorrow if you’re free? I haven’t seen a closing date for proposals, but we should try to turn something in relatively soon.

      Depending on how deep you’ve gotten into things, you might be interested in attending (remotely) IndieWebCamp NYC this Friday and Saturday. They should have some reasonable remote participation options on Friday and Saturday that are sure to help get our creative juices flowing.

      Syndicated copies:

      1. Glenn Zucman says:

        Great, Chris!

        Now the question is… how do I do a Webmention reply?? Hmm…

        I spoke to Various about this on Sunday and he said that the 27th (this Thursday) was the deadline for submissions.

        I’m in the Pacific Ocean today (Tue) and at School tomorrow (Wed)… I probably have some talk time tomorrow… or maybe we can sort something out here online. I think the proposal could be pretty simple, and then if we get selected we can flesh out greater ideas/details.

        I’ll take a look at IndieWebCamp NYC… sounds very interesting! Will you be going?

        ~ Glenn

  3. Jeffrey Paul says:

    What theme are you using that’s Indieweb-friendly?

    1. Chris Aldrich says:

      Jeffrey, I’m using a slightly modified and customized version of the TwentySixteen standard theme. WordPress supports microformats v1 in core, so most themes will do somewhat well. If you’re looking for the most IndieWeb friendly themes, take a look at some of the ones I and others have documented at Let me know if you have any other questions. You might also try asking for help in

    2. Chris Aldrich says:

      Circling back and noticing your background, I’ll also mention there’s a pretty good post by David Shanske Converting WordPress Themes for Microformats 2 that goes through some of the changes one would want to add to a theme to make them more IndieWeb friendly. At the bottom of that post there’s also a comment by me about a GitHub repo that has a step-by-step set of changes that adds microformats v2 to the TwentySixteen theme. (Be careful though as some of the changes also gut Post Formats out of the theme in lieu of support for Shanske’s Post Kinds Plugin.)

      My coding skills aren’t what I wish they were, but I was going to file an enhancement for Anders Norén’s new TwentyTwenty theme to support microformats 2 following his thread with Kevin Marks and Tantek Çelik at WordCamp US. Having proper, modern microformats in annual themes could help to provide better examples for other developers and themers.

      Ideally, it would be awesome to see WP core upgrade to microformats2, and because it’s not recommended that these classes be used in combination with CSS (they’re solely for semantic purposes) it shouldn’t cause any backcompat issues that I can think of off hand. (There also shouldn’t be any issues for the older microformats1 to sit alongside microformats2, which means that they can co-exist–the parsers that use them will correctly chose the correct ones.) Sadly, it’s beyond my pay grade to attempt such a change or to wrangle the necessary buy-in to attempt it. If it’s an area you’re interested in pursuing or learning more about, I’m happy to chat about it at length.

  4. Have you written up a guide or do you have a repository or something that I could use to create a site like yours (this one)? It would be great to get started because I am overwhelmed trying to figure out how to piut the IndieWeb pieces together (I’ve been using the site but I guess I need more hand-holding than that. Or something!

    1. Are you building on a based platform? If so, then may be what you want to start with. (I’ve written some of it, so let me know if there are particular pieces you’re having trouble with so we can improve them.)

      I’ve got a handful of broad articles including a few that have full walk-through videos here:

      I’m sure some of the small pieces in the videos may have changed (improved) since I recorded them, but in general they should be helpful on process.

      If you’ve got specific questions try asking in the IndieWeb chat: and we can help you out with the particulars.

  5. Chris, I have a question about your use of URL Forwarder for generating posts on Android. As a solution, I really like it, however I find that when I use it I often get a blank post. This seems to be because when I share some links, Android include both the title and the url. I was wondering what you do about this and whether you had found a way around this. All the discussions about Android’s Share function that I have read focus on pinning apps and that sort of customisation, rather than how to customise what sort of link is actually shared.

    1. Aaron, I don’t think I’ve run into blank posts before. I’ve often seen it forward to URLs with odd % encodings and usually going to the URL and deleting some of the cruft fixes those problems. Do you have a particular example or two I could take a look at?

  6. A.G. says:

    Hey, Chris:
    AMAZING job on the steel desk you rehabbed! Here’s my AMA question: I have a different steel piece I want to get powder coated in the L.A. area. I was intrigued about your comments regarding Steel Santos and not loving the quality of some of those pieces. Can you recommend a good auto shop or someplace else to bring my piece to get powder coated? I’d be grateful for any leads! Thanks in advance!

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