IndieWebCamp NYC on 09/28-29

Want to see what the bleeding edge of the web and the future of social media looks like? Join an inclusive and welcoming group of creators at IndieWebCamp NYC on 9/28-29 either in person or live streaming.
https://indieweb.org/2018/NYC

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Reply to Equity Unbound Webcomic: Splintered Digital Identities | Kevin Hodgson

Replied to Equity Unbound Webcomic: Splintered Digital Identities by Kevin HodgsonKevin Hodgson (dogtrax.edublogs.org)
I am dipping into Equity Unbound, a new online course/collaboration with Mia Zamora, Maha Bali and Catherine Cronin. They will be working with university students as well as opening things up to other spaces where folks, like you and me, can jump in. (The Twitter tag is here: #unboundeq)  I am always interested in seeing how new offerings can be riffs off previous open learning networks, such as NetNarr, Rhizo, Digiwrimo, CLMOOC, and others.

Kevin, your comic really resonates, particularly for someone who’s got over 200 social media related accounts and identity presences in various places on the internet.

It reminds me of a line I wrote a few months back in an article about the IndieWeb idea of Webmentions for A List Apart entitled Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet:

Possibly worst of all, your personal identity on the internet can end up fragmented like so many horcruxes across multiple websites over which you have little, if any, control.

Inherent in this idea is that corporate interests and others who run social sites can disappear, delete, or moderate out of existence any of my writing, photos, audio, video, or other content into the memory hole at any time and for almost any reason. And just like a destroyed horcrux, their doing so takes a bit of my soul (identity) with it each time.

A few years back, I decided to take back my own identity on the web and post everything of interest to me on my own website on my own domain first–a digital commonplace book if you will. Only then do I syndicate it into other communities, websites, or areas as needed. (Even this reply is on my own site before I syndicate it to yours.) As a result, I own a tremendously large part of my online identity (though even at that, a lot of it is published privately for myself or select small audiences).

I hope that as Equity Unbound continues and we explore the ideas of identity, public/private, and related topics, people might consider some of these ideas and implications and potentially work on expanding solutions for students, teachers, and the rest of the world.

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🔖 ADN Finder

Bookmarked ADN Finder (adnfinder.herokuapp.com)
Looking for someone? Use the search above to find friends on Twitter, Micro.blog, Mastodon, and App.net. Want others to find you? Use the form below to add yourself.

If only there were a way to also add one’s canonical website…

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👓 Trying Mastodon | Gary Pendergast

Replied to Trying Mastodon by Gary PendergastGary Pendergast (Gary Pendergast)
It’s no secret that Twitter is red hot garbage fire, so I’ve signed up for a Mastodon account to give them a try. Because I’m super vain, I decided to create my own Mastodon instance, with a custom domain.

I know of a few folks in the IndieWeb and WordPress communities like Ryan Barrett (with FedBridgy) and Mathias Pfefferle (with OStatus plugin) who are actively working on helping bridge the technology between websites and the Fediverse so that one could use their WordPress install as a stand-alone “instance” of Mastodon.

It already seems somewhat obvious that moving from Twitter to Mastodon is bringing along some of the problems and issues that Twitter users are facing, so being able to use your current WordPress (or other) website to interact with other instances, sounds like a very solid idea. In practice, it’s the way I’ve been using my website with Twitter 1 2 (as well as Google+, Instagram, Facebook and other social silos) for some time, so I can certainly indicate it’s been a better experience for me. Naturally, both of their efforts fall underneath the broader umbrella of the web standards solutions generally pushed by the IndieWeb community, so I’m also already using my WordPress-based site to communicate back and forth in a social media-like way with others on the web already using Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and (soon) Microsub.

These federation efforts have got a way to go to offer a clean user experience without a tremendous amount of set up, but for those technically inclined, they are efforts certainly worth looking at so one needn’t manage multiple sites/social media and they can still own all the data for themselves.

 

References

1.
Aldrich C. @Mentions from Twitter to My Website. BoffoSocko. https://boffosocko.com/2017/04/15/mentions-from-twitter-to-my-website/. Published April 15, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2018.
2.
Aldrich C. Threaded conversations between WordPress and Twitter. BoffoSocko. https://boffosocko.com/2018/07/02/threaded-conversations-between-wordpress-and-twitter/. Published July 2, 2018. Accessed September 11, 2018.
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Blue sky sketch for Overcast

Replied to a tweet by Marco Arment on TwitterMarco Arment on Twitter (Twitter)

Marco, your post about supporting rel=”payment” for Overcast made me start thinking about other potential solve-able problems in the podcast space. Now that you’ve solved a piece of the support/payment problem, perhaps you can solve for a big part of the “who actually listened to my podcast” problem?

In a recent article on the topic of Webmention for A List Apart, I covered the topic of listen posts and sending webmentions for them. In addition to people being able to post on their own website that they’ve listened to a particular episode, the hosting podcast site can receive these mentions and display them as social proof that the episode was actually listened to. In addition to individual websites being able to do this, it would be awesome if podcast players/apps could send webmentions on behalf of their users (either with user specific data like Name, website, avatar, etc. if it’s stored, without it, or anonymized by the player itself) so that the canonical page for the podcast could collect (and potentially display) them.

As a proof of concept, here’s a page for a podcast episode that can receive webmentions. Someone listens to it, makes a “listen post” on their site, and sends a webmention of that fact. The original page can then collect it on the backend or display it if it chooses. Just imagine what this could do for the podcast world at scale for providing actual listening statistics?

In addition to aggregate numbers of downloads a podcast is receiving, they could also begin to have direct data about actual listens. Naturally the app/player would have to set (or allow a configuration) some percentage threshold of how much was played before sending such a notification to the receiving site. Perhaps the webmention spec for listens could also include the data for the percentage listened and send that number in the payload?

The toughest part may be collecting the rel=”canonical” URL for the podcast’s post (to send the webmention there) rather than the audio file’s URL, though I suspect that the feed for the podcast may have this depending on the feed’s source.

If you want to go a step further, you could add Micropub support to Overcast, so that when people are done listening to episodes, the app could send a micropub request to their registered website (perhaps via authentication using IndieAuth?). This would allow people to automatically make “listen posts” to their websites using Overcast and thereby help those following them to discover new and interesting podcasts. (Naturally, you might need a setting for sites that support both micropub and webmention, so that the app doesn’t send a webmention when it does a micropub post for a site that will then send a second webmention as well.)

One could also have podcast players with Micropub support that would allow text entry for commenting on particular portions of podcasts (perhaps using media fragments)? Suddenly we’re closer to commenting on individual portions of audio content in a way that’s not too dissimilar to SoundCloud’s commenting interface, but done in a more open web way.

As further example, I maintain a list of listen posts on my personal website. Because it includes links to the original audio files, it also becomes a “faux-cast” that friends and colleagues can subscribe to everything I’m listening to (or sub-categorizations thereof) via RSS. Perhaps this also works toward helping to fix some of the discovery problem as well?

Thanks, as always, for your dedication to building one of the best podcast tools out there!

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👓 The way out | Manton Reece

Read The way out by Manton ReeceManton Reece (manton.org)
There have been many articles written in the last month about the role of social networks. Some even reach the obvious conclusion: that the top social networks are too big. This interview on Slate was fairly representative, covering monopolies and centralized power. But these articles always stop sh...
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👓 New WP Glossary Site Translates WordPress Techspeak into Plain English | WordPress Tavern

Read New WP Glossary Site Translates WordPress Techspeak into Plain English (WordPress Tavern)
Anders Norén has launched a new website called WP Glossary that contains definitions for terms that people encounter when using WordPress. The resource was born out of a need to provide documentati…
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Space separated tags not appropriate for WordPress multi-word tags

Filed an Issue Omnibear (GitHub)
A Micropub browser extension. Contribute to keithjgrant/omnibear development by creating an account on GitHub.

WordPress installs will frequently use multi-word tags/categories, thus there is no way to send those tags when Omnibear defaults to space separated tags. Comma, semi-colon, or other separators may be better in these situations.

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👓 An Indieweb Web Directory | Brad Enslen

Read An Indieweb Web Directory by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
My random thought for the day.  These can be dangerous.  Hold my beer. What would happen if you combined a standard web directory script with Indieweb.org features like webmentions and such?  I think you could end up with a very powerful tool for a directory. I have not the slightest idea how on...
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👓 The mysterious case of missing URLs and Google’s AMP | sonniesedge

Read The mysterious case of missing URLs and Google's AMP by sonniesedgesonniesedge (sonniesedge.co.uk)
When I saw a speculative article about Google wanting to “kill” URLs appear in my news feed, I didn’t think too much about it. Trying to hide “ugly” URLs… well, that feels like a natural thing for an app to try and do. Designers of apps often (erroneously) assume that users cannot cope with “technical” things like URLs and try to hide them away, lest the user start bleeding from their eyes.
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👓 The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. | Wil Wheaton

Read The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. by Wil Wheaton (WIL WHEATON dot NET)
As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network tha…

As I read article this I find myself wondering why Wil Wheaton was looking for a new social media platform? Hasn’t he realized yet that he’s already got one–his very own website?!!

While Wil maintains it more like an old school blog with longer thought pieces and stories, there’s certainly no reason he couldn’t use it to post shorter thoughts, status updates, or notes as he might do on Twitter or Mastodon. It’s also an “instance” which no one is going to kick him off of. He has ultimate control. If people moan and complain, he can moderate their complaints as he sees fit.

This particular post has 410 comments, most of which seem relatively civil and run a paragraph or two–at least enough to convey a complete and coherent thought or two. At some point he decided to cap the commentary for mental health or any other reason he may have, which is certainly his right as well as the right of anyone on their own website. Sadly most social services don’t provide this functionality.

I also notice that instead of trying to rebuild a following on someone else’s platform, he’s already got the benefit of a network of 3,689,638 email subscribers not to mention the thousands more who visit his site regularly or subscribe via RSS. I suspect that those subscribers, who have taken more time and effort to subscribe to his website than they did on any other platform, are likely a much better audience and are far more engaged.

So my short memo to Wil: Quit searching for an alternate when you’ve already got one that obviously seems like a much healthier and happier space.

If you feel like you’re missing some of the other small niceties of other social networks, I’ll happily and freely help you: set up some Micropub apps to make posting to your site easier; add Webmention support so others would need to post to their own websites to @mention you across the web from their service of choice; add a social media-esque Follow buttton; set up Microsub service so you can read what you choose on the web and like/favorite, reply to, bookmark, etc. to your site and send the commentary back to them. Of course anyone can do this on their own with some details and help from the IndieWeb.org community if they wish…

 

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👓 How I send webmentions to Micro.blog | Eddie Hinkle

Read How I send webmentions to Micro.blog by Eddie HinkleEddie Hinkle (eddiehinkle.com)
If you use Micro.blog completely from the native apps, everything works smoothly. If you communicate via the IndieWeb through webmentions, everything (mostly) works smoothly. But there is a big hiccup that is still being worked out when you communicate via Webmentions to Micro.blog. The current functionality is described here, however it's not exhaustive and it doesn't work 100% of the time. Some of the issues are documented on this GitHub issue, and eventually we'll work out the best practice use case. So what if you don't care about best practices and just want to communicate with Micro.blog through Webmentions? I have a working solution on my own website. Typically in a Webmention you have a source (your post) and a target (the post you are replying to) and the Webmention endpoint used is retrieved from the target. However because with Micro.blog sometimes the target post is on Wordpress or an externally hosted blog instead of Micro.blog. This causes an issue, because if you are wanting the Webmention to be received by Micro.blog but the target post does not advertise the Micro.blog Webmention endpoint, your post will never make it in to the Micro.blog system for an externally hosted post that you are replying to. What I do is I essentially do a "cc/carbon copy" Webmention. First I do the standard Webmention sending procedure, and then I check if the target Webmention endpoint was Micro.blog's endpoint (https://micro.blog/webmention), if it is not then I know Micro.blog did not receive the post and I send an additional Webmention. The CC Webmention contains the source as my post, the target as the post I'm replying to, and it gets sent to the Micro.blog Webmention endpoint. Micro.blog does a couple of things upon receiving the Webmention. First, it checks to see if the source post is coming from a URL that belongs to a verified Micro.blog user. Second, it checks if the target post exists already in the Micro.blog system. If both of those checks go through, then it will add the new post and link it up to the correct Micro.blog user as a reply to the correct Micro.blog post. This is not necessarily an easy thing to add in most Webmention systems and is not the intended final destination of cross-site replies. But if you want it to work today, this useful hack will get it working for you.

A useful layout of the technicalities, particularly for those running their own sites and syndicating into the micro.blog network.

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Reply to Facepile for webmention does not link to source

Replied to Facepile for webmention does not link to source · Issue #208 · pfefferle/wordpress-semantic-linkbacks (GitHub)
For testing purposes I created a new post that links to another of my own posts. This creates a new comment, through webmention I guess. When I approve it, it only shows the / my icon in a facepile...

Here’s a good example: http://v.hierofalco.net/2018/08/23/weird-indieweb-idea-of-the-day-guestbooks/
There’s a mention from https://ramblinggit.com/ in the comments, but it’s incredibly difficult to find that mention or what it contains, because there isn’t a linked URL on the avatar that goes to ramblinggit.com’s (Brad Enslen’s) content. In this particular case, it’s probably the most important piece of content on the page because the post itself is about a theoretical idea or “blue sky”, while the mention itself actually puts the theoretical idea into actual use and provides a great example. Sadly as it stands this value is completely hidden because of the UI. In some sense hiding the mention is also potentially contributing to unnecessary context collapse within hierofalco’s post’s comments and lessens the value of the mention itself.

While I appreciate the UX/UI desire to limit the amount of data displayed in one’s comment section since it is rarely, if ever, used, there’s a lot of value in the bi-directionality of webmentions and how they’re displayed. I’ve suggested before that newspapers, magazines and journalism sites (not to mention academics, researchers, and government sites) might benefit from the verifiable/audit-able links from their material to the reads, likes, favorites, and even listens (in the case of podcasts). If the comments sections simply have an avatar and a homepage link to the original, some of this (admittedly) marginal value is then lost. What about when Webmention is more common? Sites could simply display avatars and homepage links without actually linking to the original location of the webmention. They might do this to imply an endorsement(s) when none exists and the viewer is left with the difficult task of attempting manual verification.

I do love the fact that one can facepile these reactions, but why not simply have the facepile of avatars with URLs that direct to the original reaction? To me these should ideally have a title attribute that is the sending account’s name wrapped with the URL of the original webmention URL itself. While these are seemingly “throwaways” for likes/favorites, I often personally post “reads” and “listens” that also have notes or commentary that I use for my own purpose and thus don’t send them as explicit replies. If the facepiles for reads & listens are avatars that link back to the original then the site’s admin as well as others can choose (or not) to click through to the original. Perhaps the site administrator prefers to display those as replies, then they have the option in the interface to change the semantic linkback type from the simple response to a more “featured” response. (I’ve documented an example of this before.)

The issue becomes even more apparent in the case of “mentions” which are currently simply avatars with a homepage. There’s a much higher likelihood that there’s some valuable content (compared to a like certainly) behind this mention (though it still isn’t a specific reply). Readers of comment sections are much more likely to be interested in them and the potential conversation hiding behind them. As things stand currently, it’s a difficult and very manual thing to attempt to track down. In these cases, one should ideally be able to individually toggle facepile/not facepile for each mention depending on the content. If shown as a comment, then, yes, having the ability to show the whole thing, or an excerpted version, could be useful/desirable. If the mention is facepiled, it should be done as the others with an avatar and a wrapped URL to the mentioning content and an appropriate title (either the Identity/name of the sending site, the article title, or both if available).

For facepiled posts (and especially mentions) I’d much rather see something along the lines of:
<a title="Brad Enslen" href="https://ramblinggit.com/2018/08/new-guestbook/"><img src="https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0ce8b2c406e423f114e39fd4d128c31d?s=100&amp;r=pg&amp;d=mm" width="100" height="100"/></a>
(with the appropriate microformats markup, of course.)

As an example, what happens in the future when a New York Times article has webmentions that get hundreds or thousands of webmentions? Having everything be facepiled would be incredibly useful for quick display, but being able to individually go follow the conversations in situ would be wildly valuable as well. The newspaper could also then choose to show/hide specific replies or mentions in a much more moderated fashion to better encourage civil discourse. In the case where a bad actor/publisher attempts to “game” the system by simply showing thousands of likes/favorites/reads, what is to prevent them from cheating by showing as many as they like as “social proof” of their popularity when the only backtrack record is an avatar and a homepage without the actual verification of a thing on a site if someone chooses to audit the trail?

Perhaps even a step further in interesting UI for these semi-hidden mentions would be to do a full page preview (or hovercards) in a similar method for how WordPress handles hovercards for Gravatars or they way the hover functionality works for links at /wp-admin/edit-comments.php?

Going even farther from a reader’s perspective, I could also see a case that while the site admin wants to slim down on the UI of all the different types of interactions for easy readability, perhaps the reader of a comments section might want to see all the raw mentions and details for each one and scroll through them? Perhaps it would be nice to add that option in the future? As things stand if a site facepiles even dozens of mentions, it’s incredibly painful and undesirable to track their associated commentary down. What if there was UI for the reader to unpack all these (especially per reaction category as it’s more likely one would want to do it for mentions, but not likes)?

👓 How social media makes fascists of us all | UnHerd

Read How social media makes fascists of us all (UnHerd)
About twenty years ago the novelist Umberto Eco, noting like George Orwell how loose the word fascism had become, wrote that the ideology is like a virus that changes to reflect the contours of the society in which it exists. Mussolini’s version was quite different from Franco’s, for example. But wherever it went, claimed Eco, …
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👓 Facebook is deleting timeline posts that users cross-published from Twitter | The Verge

Read Twitter posts on Facebook temporarily disappeared by Nick Statt (The Verge)
Oops
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