[[wikilinks]] and #hashtags as a portal to cross site search

[[wikilinks]] and could act as snippets for custom searches on various platforms. I’d like to be able to either click on a link or possibly right click and be presented with the ability to search that term (or nearby terms) on a variety of different platforms or trusted websites. This could be a useful form of personal search that allows me to find things within a much smaller space of knowledge I’m aware of. Sometimes the serendipity from the wisdom of the crowd via major search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, or Bing may suffice, but shouldn’t I be able to more easily search a trusted personal group of hand curated sources?

Platforms like Wikipedia and Twitter already have these patterns as links to resources within themselves, but why couldn’t/shouldn’t a browser or browser plugin allow me an option when clicking on them to go to other resources outside of the expected (narrow) search provided? Perhaps I’m in my own wiki and a redlink [[wikilink]] obviously doesn’t exist on my site. Why shouldn’t I be able to click on it to go to another source like Wikipedia to find it?

These search resources can still be larger platforms like Google, Wikipedia, and Twitter, but could be subspecialized to include Twitter users I follow, smaller wikis I use (including my own), websites of people I follow in my feed reader or social reader (by searching on categories/tags or even broad text search). I should be able to easily define a multitude of resources for each custom search using common standards. This affordability could give me a much more refined and trusted set of search results, particularly in a post-fact society.

One could go further still and highlight a word or words on one’s browser screen and use these as a custom search query.

If built properly, I ought to be able to create “playlists” of sites and resources to search for myself and be able to share these with other friends, family, and colleagues who may trust those sources as well.

I’m curious what others think of this idea. What should the UI look like to make it clear and easy to use? What other things might one want to search on beyond plain text, hashtags, and wikilinks? Am I missing anything? What downsides or social ills might this pattern potentially entail?

Replied to Thinking about Planets and Challenges by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (david.shanske.com)
Earlier today, at the special Transatlantic Bonus Homebrew Website Club, we continued a discussion on trying a community challenge to create content, similar to some of what micro.blog does with their photo challenges.  One of the stumbling blocks was discovery on this, being distributed, how you can...
GWG, Some random thoughts:
Your challenge question is tough, not just for the mere discovery portion, but for the multiple other functions involved, particularly a “submit/reply” portion and a separate “I want to subscribe to something for future updates”.
I can’t think of any sites that do both of these functionalities at the same time. They’re almost always a two step process, and quite often, after the submission part, few people ever revisit the original challenge to see further updates and follow along. The lack of an easy subscribe function is the downfall of the second part. A system that allowed one to do both a cross-site submit/subscribe simultaneously would be ideal UI, but that seems a harder problem, especially as subscribe isn’t well implemented in IndieWeb spaces with a one click and done set up.
Silo based spaces where you’re subscribed to the people who might also participate might drip feed you some responses, but I don’t think that even micro.blog has something that you could use to follow the daily photo challenges by does it?

Other examples

https://daily.ds106.us/ is a good example of a sort of /planet that does regular challenges and has a back end that aggregates responses (usually from Twitter). I imagine that people are subscribed to the main feed of the daily challenges, but I don’t imagine that many are subscribed to the comments feed (is there even one?)
Maxwell’s Sith Lord Challenge is one of the few I’ve seen in the personal site space that has aggregated responses. I don’t think it has an easy way to subscribe to the responses though an h-feed of responses on the page might work in a reader? Maybe he’s got some thoughts about how this worked out?
Ongoing challenges, like a 30 day photography challenge for example, are even harder because they’re an ongoing one that either requires a central repository to collect, curate, and display them (indieweb.xyz, or a similar planet) or require something that can collect one or more of a variety of submitted feeds and then display them or allow a feed(s) of them. I’ve seen something like this before with http://connectedcourses.net/ in the education space using RSS, but it took some time to not only set it up but to get people’s sites to work with it. (It was manual and it definitely hurt as I recall.)
I don’t think of it as a challenge, but I often submit to the IndieWeb sub on indieweb.xyz and I’m also subscribed to its output as well. In this case it works as an example since this is one of its primary functions. It’s not framed as a challenge, though it certainly could be. Here one could suggest that participants tag their posts with a particular hashtag for tracking, but in IndieWeb space they’d be “tagging” their posts with the planet’s particular post URL and either manually or automatically pinging the Webmention endpoint.
Another option that could help implement some fun in the system is to salmention all the prior submissions on each submission as an update mechanism, but one would need to have a way to unsubscribe to this as it could be(come) a spam vector.

Independently-hosted web publishing

Bookmarked Independently-hosted web publishing by Daniel Villar-Onrubia & Victoria I. MarínDaniel Villar-Onrubia & Victoria I. Marín (Internet Policy Review Volume 11, Issue 2 DOI: 10.14763/2022.2.1665)
The term independently-hosted is used here to describe online publishing practices that utilise the World Wide Web (hereafter the Web) as a decentralised socio-technical system, where individuals and communities operate as the owners or controllers of the online infrastructures they use in order to share content. Such practices may be adopted as an alternative of, or as a complement to, the use of centralised content-sharing systems that belong to and are entirely operated by third parties. The term “publishing” is used here in a rather inclusive way and refers to the act of making content available online, rather than being restricted to the editorial processes that characterise, for instance, academic publishing.
DOI: 10.14763/2022.2.1665
Great to see IndieWeb.org cited in the academic literature.
Is anyone in the or space using @tinysubversionsHometown fork of to create small “local only” posting spaces for their classes? Are there any inexpensive hosts that have one click installs/setups for this? Screen capture of paragraph that reads: "In August 2018, Kazemi created his own Mastodon server (an “instance”) called Friend Camp. But he didn’t want it to be a popular instance — he wanted to run a small social network, with under 100 users. The goal was to foster community-related discussion and attain a sense of “group cohesion.” The following year, based on his experience of running Friend Camp, Kazemi forked Mastodon into a new software package he called Hometown. One of its main features is “local only posting,” which gives users the option of not federating their posts." The last line is highlighted in yellow.

The Logos, Ethos, and Pathos of IndieWeb

Editor’s note: This is another in a continuing series of essays about the IndieWeb.


Where is the IndieWeb?

Logos

One might consider the IndieWeb’s indieweb.org wiki-based website and chat the “logos” of IndieWeb. There is a small group of about a hundred active to very active participants who hang out in these spaces on a regular basis, but there are also many who dip in and out over time as they tinker and build, ask advice, get some help, or just to show up and say hello. Because there are concrete places online as well as off (events) for them to congregate, meet, and interact, it’s the most obvious place to find these ideas and people.

Ethos

Beyond this there is an even larger group of people online who represent the “ethos” of IndieWeb. Some may have heard the word before, some have a passing knowledge of it, but an even larger number have not. They all act and operate in a way that either seemed natural to them because they grew up in the period of the open web, or because they never felt accepted by the thundering herds in the corporate social enclosures. Many are not necessarily easily found or discovered because they’re not surfaced or highlighted by the sinister algorithms of corporate social media, but through slow and steady work (much like the in person social space) they find each other and interact in various traditional web spaces. Many of them can be found in spaces like Micro.Blog, Tilde Club or NeoCities, or through movements like A Domain of One’s Own. Some can be found through a variety of webrings, via blogrolls, or just following someone’s website and slowly seeing the community of people who stop by and comment. Yes, these discovery methods may involve a little more work, but shouldn’t healthy human interactions require work and care?

Pathos

The final group of people, and likely the largest within the community, are those that represent the “pathos” of IndieWeb. The word IndieWeb has not registered with any of them and they suffer with grief in the long shadow of corporate social media wishing they had better user interfaces, better features, different interaction, more meaningful interaction, healthier and kinder interaction. Some may have even been so steeped in big social for so long that they don’t realize that there is another way of being or knowing.

These people may be found searching for the IndieWeb promised land on silo platforms like Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogger, or Medium where they have the shadow on the wall of a home on the web where they can place their identities and thoughts. Here they’re a bit more safe from the acceleration of algorithmically fed content and ills of mainstream social. Others are trapped within massive content farms run by multi-billion dollar extractive companies who quietly but steadily exploit their interactions with friends and family.

The Conversation

All three of these parts of the IndieWeb, the logos, the ethos, and the pathos comprise the community of humanity. They are the sum of the real conversation online.

Venture capital backed corporate social media has cleverly inserted themselves between us and our interactions with each other. They privilege some voices not only over others, but often at the expense of others and only to their benefit. We have been developing a new vocabulary for these actions with phrases like “surveillance capitalism”, “data mining”, and analogizing human data as the new “oil” of the 21st century. The IndieWeb is attempting to remove these barriers, many of them complicated, but not insurmountable, technical ones, so that we can have a healthier set of direct interactions with one another that more closely mirrors our in person interactions. By having choice and the ability to move between a larger number of service providers there is an increasing pressure to provide service rather than the growing levels of continued abuse and monopoly we’ve become accustomed to.

None of these subdivisions—logos, ethos, or pathos—is better or worse than the others, they just are. There is no hierarchy between or among them just as there should be no hierarchy between fellow humans. But by existing, I think one could argue that through their humanity these people are all slowly, but surely making the web a healthier, happier, fun, and more humanized and humanizing place to be.

I’d appreciate others’ thoughts and perspectives on this regardless of where they choose to post them. 

While the new community members section of the IndieWeb newsletter is just a tiny subset of people who are joining the IndieWeb movement by actively adding themselves to the wiki, it’s been encouraging to see expanding growth both here and in the broader web (even Tumblr) and Fediverse space since Musk announced the acquisition of Twitter.

Here’s to more positive growth to a healthier and happier online social experience.

Replied to a thread by Mia (not her best work) and Zach Leatherman (Twitter)
I always circle back to the Lost Infrastructure chart here https://indieweb.org/lost_infrastructure and wonder:

  • in which boxes can the technology requirements be simplified for publishers and maintainers of individual websites but still allow for the broadest inter-operation?
  • which axes are missing?
  • which boxes need to be expanded with technology for better plurality?
For those fleeing Twitter, know that I post everything on my personal website first and syndicate it to a number of places including Twitter and Mastodon.

Much of my short status updates cross post to @chrisaldrich@mastodon.social while everything can be found at the “Mastodon account” @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com, which is really just my personal website pretending to be a Mastodon server.

If you want your own website that acts a lot like traditional social media I also recommend you try out micro.blog where you can follow me @chrisaldrich

If you have difficulty finding/reading my content wherever your new internet home is, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help. I try to support a number of open standards to be read in many forms and formats.

Before you leave, do let me know where I might find and stay in touch with you, because it’s the friends and the people that make any of this worthwhile at all.

IndieWeb Readlists: Tools and Brainstorming

Readlists revived

Apparently early last year Jim Nielsen (Twitter) cleverly rebuilt an IndieWeb friendly version of readlist functionality! He describes his motivation and provides some examples in his post (Re)Introducing Readlists. You can try it out at https://readlists.jim-nielsen.com/.

Missing ReadLists.com

I fondly remember the original ReadLists site, and I too have desperately missed my account and the ability to more easily create and share “mixtapes, but for reading” from my own site or in formats like .epub, .mobi, and .pdf. I still remember the now missing textbook I made with ReadLists because I foolishly relied on an embeddable widget to display content on my website.

Just a month ago I wanted to pull out all the archived articles of Manfred Keuhn’s excellent and now memory-holed blog Taking Notes and turn them into an e-book. The process was just too painful and tedious, in part because some of the individual articles weren’t individually archived though they were archived on monthly archive pages.

With Jim’s tool the process has now gotten a bit easier.

Brainstorming improvements and other options

It does make me wonder how we might make the the process of doing this sort of thing easier. What sorts of formats and building blocks could mitigate some of the work? Are there an potential standards that could be leveraged? How could one take linkblogs and convert them into a book for reading offline? Could one take an h-feed and pipe it into such a tool? Or RSS/Atom to e-book tools? Could I take collections from tools like Zotero and pipe them into such a service to bundle up journal articles? Could the idea be expanded into something along the lines of Huffduffer and provide similar sorts of native APIs? How could it be made more IndieWeb friendly? Micropub support, perhaps? Could Microsub readers take inputs and provide e-book outputs?

I know that there are a handful of browser extensions that will help one convert URLs into e-books. Some even take lists of open browser tabs and automatically convert them into an e-book, but these don’t allow one to easily share the lists so that users can pick and choose what to omit, or add other content to them.

How might we encourage community curated readlists?

How might this all tie into the rise of the prominence of the newsletter over the past several years? How could I more easily pipe subscriptions into such a tool to give me daily/weekly/monthly e-books of content?

What else are we missing?

SEO Traffic Increases for IndieWeb Reads, Watches, Listens, and other Bookmarked Content

I usually think not a wit about SEO and web stats/traffic with respect to my personal website, but a recent WordPress notification about an unusual spike in traffic got me thinking.

In the past, I’ve very often posted some social bookmark-type posts of what I read, watch, and listen to online. They’re usually of a very small microblog or linkblog sort of nature and have very little intrinsic value other than to people who may want to closely follow this sort of minutiae to see what I’ve been interested in lately.

Recently I noticed that there’s been a 4-5 fold increase in web traffic to my site, so I thought I’d take a look and it turns out that I’m getting some larger than usual numbers of visitors to my site for an article I bookmarked as having read three years ago.

Here’s a list of the top ten most highly trafficked pages on my website over the past year. 

Most visited pages on my website over the past year

The top post with almost 18,000 views in the last year is essentially a link to an article I read about gaslighting in 2018 which includes a brief reply context (reminder) of what the original post is about. The next two are slightly differently named links to my homepage for a total of 6,500 views followed by an article I wrote about TiddlyWiki (1,500 views). Articles I wrote about commonplace books, my furniture hobby, and my about page are also among my native content in the top ten.

However a watch post about How to Buy a Velomobile (1,310 views), and read posts about configuring an iPhone (I don’t even own one) (654 views) and an article about opinions and fact checking in the Houston Press (619) round out the bottom of the list.

I don’t know what to really think about these short bookmark posts accounting for so many views or that my site ranks so highly in terms of SEO for some of these oddball topics (look at the mnemonics and commonplace aficionado calling the kettle black).

I’m wondering if I should look at my little widget that recommends content and begin to narrow it down to more of my own native content? Should I tamp down on content I was tangentially interested in at some point but don’t really care about or want to rank on? Gaslighting and fact checking are interesting broad topics to me, but velomobiles and iPhones really aren’t. Of the tens of thousands of things I’ve linked to, why should these stick out in particular? I get that there’s probably only a limited number of people writing about velomobiles, but the others?!?

It does make me wonder if other IndieWeb site owners have experienced the same sort of quirky behavior? What implications might this have on SEO if more of the wider web was taken over by personal sites instead of corporately controlled silos like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? I’m sure there are other great questions to be asked here. Brainstorming of ideas, answers, and implications are encouraged below.

#IndieWebCamp Personal Libraries pop up session
📅Saturday, February 19, 2022
⏰ 9:00am – 1:00pm Pacific
Focusing on personal libraries on one’s own site and how they can interact with each other.
RSVP to the main page or this tweet.
https://events.indieweb.org/2022/02/personal-libraries-pop-up-session-Wax8N17zQuY0
 
cc: @WeeGee @TheStoryGraph @ReadAndBreathe @gRegorLove @TomCritchlow @Ton_Zylstra @reading @tripofmice @tw2113 @ampinsk @sawyerh @alexwlchan @aworkinglibrary @Mappletons @tmcw @hyperlink_a
 
@MarkGraham @OpenLibrary (can someone ping Mek plz?) @InternetArchive @kzwa @fileformatology @LC_Labs @Crowd_LOC @anaulin @omz13 @AndySylvester99 @megarush1024 @jamietanna @jaheppler @cygnoir @kimberlyhirsh @libreture @literal_app @getlitsy @thestorygraph
 
Invite your friends 📚😀