The battle against the uncivil comments section is also a battle against high bounce rates for reallyread.it.
This is an intriguing little company. I could see this being some great opening infrastructure for creating read posts.
On my own website I’ve got a relative heirarchy of bookmarks, likes, reads, replies, follows, and favorites. (A read post indicates that I’ve actually read an entire piece–something I wish more websites and social platforms supported in lieu of allowing people to link or retweet content they haven’t personally vetted.) Because I’m posting this content on my personal site and it’s visible to others as part of my broader online identity I take it far more seriously than if I were tossing any old comment into an empty box on someone else’s website. To some extend this is the type of value that embedded comments sections for Facebook tries to enforce–because a commenter is posting using an identity that their friends, family, and community can see, there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll adhere to the social contract and be civil. I suspect that the Nieman Lab is using Disqus so that commenters are similarly tied to some sort of social identity, though in a world with easy-to-create-throw-away social accounts perhaps even this may not be enough.
While there’s a lot to be said about the technology and research that could be done with such a tool as outlined in the article, I think that it also ought to be bundled with people needing to use some part of their online social identities which they’re “stuck to” in some sense.
The best model I’ve seen for this in the web space is for journalism sites to support the W3C’s recommended Webmention specification. They post and host their content as always, but they farm out their comment sections to others by being able to receive webmentions. Readers will need to write their comments on their own websites or in other areas of the social web and then send webmentions back to the outlet which can then moderate and display them as part of the open discourse. While I have a traditional “old school” commenting block on my website, the replies and reactions I get to my content are so much richer when they’re sent via webmention from people posting on their own sites.
I’ve also recently been experimenting with some small outlets in allowing them to receive webmentions. They can display a wider range of reactions to their content including bookmarks, likes, favorites, reads, and even traditional comments. Because webmentions are two-way links they’re audit-able and provide a better monolithic means of “social proof” relating to an article than the dozens of social widgets with disjointed UI that most outlets are currently using.
I want people to be able to put up their own web servers. Not companies. Not people with Computer Science degrees. People. Anyone. Everyone. #
I think every journalist should learn how to set up and run a web server. I think any student, no matter how young, should learn, if they want to. The doors to publishing should be open to everyone. It's never been easier, and it could be getting easier all the time. That should be one of the overarching goals of our profession, to make what we do easier and easier, all the time. To make what we did ten years ago something anyone can do. It's the nature of software, that once we know what we can do that we make it easy for everyone to do it.
I think every journalist should learn how to set up and run a web server.
A salute to just 35 once vibrant free web sites that have bit the dust. Read their names (below) the next time someone raves about some site that will host your content for free. I'm prepping to do an updated version in 2018- please add dead webs to include in the comments.
An awesome little concept to highlight corporate silo site-deaths.
Here are my answers to Alan’s list of questions about my domain:
What is your domain name and what is the story, meaning behind your choice of that as a name?
I’ve spent 20+ years working in the entertainment industry in one way or another and was enamored of it long before that. Boffo and socko are slanguage from the trade magazine Variety essentially meaning “fantastically, stupendously outstanding; beyond awesome”, and used together are redundant. I was shocked that the domain name was available so I bought it on a whim expecting I’d do something useful with it in the future. Ultimately who wouldn’t want to be Boffo, Socko, or even both?
In my youth I think I watched Muppets Take Manhattan about 1,000 times and apparently always thought Kermit was cool when he said “Boffo Lenny! Socko Lenny!”
What was your understanding, experience with domains before you got one? Where were you publishing online before having one of your own?
Over the ages I’d had several websites of one stripe or another going back to the early/mid-90’s when I was in college and everyone was learning about and using the web together. Many of my domains had a ~ in them which was common at the time. I primarily used them to promote work I was doing in school or with various groups. Later I remember spending a lot of time setting up WordPress and Drupal sites, often for friends, but didn’t actually do much with my own. For me it was an entry point into working with coding and simply playing with new technology.
I didn’t actually begin putting a lot of material online until the social media revolution began in 2006/2007. In 2008, I purchased a handful of domain names, many of which I’m still maintaining now. Ultimately I began posting more of my own material, photos, and observations online in a now defunct Posterous account in early 2010. Before it got shut down I had moved back to WordPress which gave me a lot more freedom and flexibility.
What was a compelling feature, reason, motivation for you to get and use a domain? When you started what did you think you would put there?
When I bought my first handful of domains, it was primarily to begin to own and brand my own identity online. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to do with them, but I was posting so much content to Facebook and Twitter I thought I ought to be posting it all (especially the longer form, and in my mind, more valuable content) to a site I owned and controlled and then syndicating the content to those other sites instead. Initially microblogging, bookmarking, posting checkins, and sharing photos made it easier to being writing and producing other things.
What kinds of sites have you set up on your domain since then? How are you using them? Please share URLs!
Most of my domains are personal and personal education related, though I do have a few for separate business/work purposes.
collect bookmarks of interesting things I see online or want to read in the future;
post about what I’m reading, watching, or listening to;
post what I’m eating, drinking, or places I’ve checked into, photos of things around me;
post podcasts and microcasts from time to time;
draft and synthesize big pieces of the above to write reviews or longer pieces (from articles to books) and publish them for others to read.
Generally I do everything others would do on any one of hundreds of other social media websites (and I’ve got all those too, though I use them far less), but I’m doing it in a centralized place that I own and control and don’t have to worry about it or certain pieces of functionality disappearing in the future.
In large part, I use my website like a modern day commonplace book. It’s where I post most of what I’m thinking and writing on a regular basis and it’s easily searchable as an off-board memory. I’m thrilled to have been able to inspire others to do much the same, often to the extent that many have copied my Brief Philosophy word-for-word to their “About” pages.
Almost everything I do online starts on my own domain now, and, when appropriate, I syndicate content to other places to make it easier for friends, family, colleagues, and others to read that content in other channels and communicate with me.
https://chrisaldrich.withknown.com — This is a WithKnown-based website that I used when I initially got started in the IndieWeb movement. It was built with IndieWeb and POSSE functionality in mind and was dead simple to use with a nice interface.
http://stream.boffosocko.com — Eventually I realized it wasn’t difficult to set up and maintain my own WithKnown site, and it gave me additional control. I made it a subdomain of my primary website. I’ve slowly been using it less and less as I’ve been able to do more and more with my WordPress website. Now I primarily use it for experiments as well as for quick mobile replies to sites like Twitter.
What helped you or would have helped you more when you started using your domain? What do you still struggle with?
Having more examples of things that are possible with a domain and having potential mentors to support me in what I was attempting to do. I wish I had come across the IndieWeb movement and their supportive community far earlier. I wish some of the functionality and web standards that exist now had been around earlier.
I still struggle with writing the code I’d like to have to create particular pieces of functionality. I wish I was a better UX/UI/design person to create some of the look and feel pieces I wish I had. Since I don’t (yet), I’m trying to help others maintain and promote pieces of their projects, which I use regularly.
I still wish I had a better/more robust feed reader more tightly integrated into my website. I wish there was better/easier micropub support for various applications so that I could more easily capture and publish content on my website.
What kind of future plans to you have for your domain?
I’d like to continue evolving the ability to manage and triage my reading workflows on my own site.
I’d like to be able to use it to more easily and prettily collect things I’m highlighting and annotating on the web in a way that allows me to unconditionally own all the relevant data without relying on third parties.
Eventually I’d like to be able to use it to publish books or produce and distribute video directly.
I’m also continuing to document my experiments with my domain so that others can see what I’ve done, borrow it, modify it, or more easily change it to suit their needs. I also do this so that my future (forgetful) self will be able to remember what I did and why and either add to or change it more easily.
Tomorrow I’m positive I’ll see someone using their own website to do something cool or awesome that I wish I had thought to do. Then I hope I won’t have to work too hard to make it happen for myself. These itches never seem to stop because, on your own domain, nearly anything is possible.
What would you say to other educators about the value, reason why to have a domain of your own? What will it take them to get going with their own domain?
Collecting, learning, analyzing, and creating have been central to academic purposes since the beginning of time. Every day I’m able to do these things more quickly and easily in conjunction with using my own domain. With new tools and standards I’m also able to much more easily carry on two-way dialogues with a broader community on the internet.
I hope that one day we’re able to all self-publish and improve our own content to the point that we won’t need to rely on others as much for many of the moving parts. Until then things continue to gradually improve, so why not join in so that the improvement accelerates? Who knows? Perhaps that thing you would do with your domain becomes the tipping point for millions of others to do so as well?
To get going it only takes some desire. There are hundreds of free or nearly free services you can utilize to get things rolling. If you need help or a mentor, I’m happy to serve as that to get you going. If you’d like a community and even more help, come join the IndieWeb chat room. You can also look for a local (or virtual) Homebrew Website Club; a WordPress Meetup or Camp, or Drupal Meetup or Camp; or any one of dozens of other groups or communities that can help you get moving.
Alan Levine recently put out a request for stories about domains as a part of the Ontario Extend project What is your domain name and what is the story, meaning behind your choice of that as a name?
In part, my domain name comes from my interest in the notion of marginalia, the stuff that we write, ...
I saw Alan’s call for submissions the other day and need to get around to posting my own.
I’ve seen one or two much smaller projects along the lines of bash_kernel, but they’re either in incredibly rough shape or have very limited scopes or very niche uses. There’s a reasonably interesting list of open science related resources on GitHub, but it’s a tad old and some of the projects on it have merged or changed drastically since it was started. Foster has some interesting material and resources on open science if you care to dig through it. One day I’ll delve into the Open Science Framework to see if they’ve got anything I haven’t seen before too.
I keep meaning to document people who are using their own websites for pieces of this type of thing , but most are doing it in a hybrid fashion. Carl Boettiger is certainly a good example and may be aware of some additional resources including one he helps manage.
Dan, There are a lot of moving pieces in your question and a variety of ways to implement them depending on your needs and particular website set up. Fortunately there are lots of educators playing around in these spaces already who are experimenting with various means and methods as well as some of their short and long term implications.
@jbj Given the number of people I’ve seen experimenting over the past months, I’d be happy to put together a series of short pieces for @ProfHacker covering the areas of overlap of between #edtech, #DoOO, #indieweb, research, academic publishing, samizdat, commonplace books, etc. Essentially tighter versions of some of https://boffosocko.com/research/indieweb/ but specifically targeting the education space using WordPress, Known, and Grav. Let me know if you’d accept submissions for the community.
In A Hypothesis-powered Toolkit for Fact Checkers I described a toolkit that supported the original incarnation of the Digital Polarization Project. More recently I’ve unbundled the key ingredients of that toolkit and made them separately available for reuse. The ingredient I’ll discuss here, HypothesisFootnotes, is illustrated in this short clip from a 10-minute screencast about the original toolkit. Here’s the upshot: Given a web page that contains Hypothesis direct links, you can include a script that pulls the cited material into the page, and connects direct links in the page to citations gathered elsewhere in the page.
Jon is always building something interesting. Here he covers some useful tools for journalism as well as education.
Syndicated copies to:
I’m thinking that, just to show the concept and an implementation, I’m going to support creating dislike posts on my website.
I’m pleased to announce a new project I have been working on. indiebookclub is an app for keeping track of the books you are reading or want to read. It is primarily intended to help you own your data by posting directly to your own site with Micropub. If your site does not support Micropub yet, y...
This portends some awesome things to come. Can’t wait to get this working and see what pieces come along with it later. This is going to make it much easier to leave silos like GoodReads.com.
This is my version of the steps you need to take to make your site part of the indie web community. Swentel helped me getting it all setup on this here Drupal site using his indieweb module. It’s all a bit complicated still, so this is mostly me trying to retroactively understand what’s going on...
It’s great to see people using swentel‘s Drupal plugin to better own, control, and use their presence online to better communicate with others! I may have to spin up an instance and check it out soon myself.
Now you can have richer reply contexts on your posts in WordPress
One of my favorite parts of the Post Kinds plugin isn’t just that it provides me the flexibility to add a huge variety of post types to my website or the semantic HTML and microformats it provides to help my site dovetail into the IndieWeb. It’s that it allows me to quickly and easily provide very rich reply contexts to my posts so that I more easily know what I’ve bookmarked, liked, favorited, read, or replied to online. In some sense it helps guard against some of the problem of context collapse found in many social media sites on the internet. As my friend and foodie extraordinaireJeremy Cherfashas said, “a reply without context is like an egg without salt.”
For a long time I had been wanting a bit more control of how the Post Kinds plugin presented some of the data it allows.1,2 After one inputs a URL, the plugin uses several methods to scrape the related web page and returns a lot of metadata about it including the title, a summary, the site name, tags, a featured image, publication date and time, the author and author’s website among others. The data returned depends on how the page is marked up and is generally based on available microformats or open graph protocol data when they’re provided.
The plugin has a setting to “Embed Sites into your Response” on its settings page, and this is generally okay, but it relies on sites to have some sort of oEmbed set up predefined. For bigger sites like YouTube and WordPress, this is generally alright, but it’s not always the case that any data is provided by the external site. Even in YouTube’s case you’ll only display the video with no other meta-data about it. As a result I leave it turned off.
Let’s take a quick look at what some of these default outputs for the reply context with a short comment underneath them look like.
With the embed option turned off the plugin will return a “Summary” of the parsed website page. This too is generally well supported in 90% of websites in my experience. But the data it returns is (smartly) filtered using wp_kses for security so that a malicious page couldn’t inject random html or code into your page. This means that useful functionality is often being stripped out of the “Summary/Quote” field in the reply context. I’d prefer to have the ability to have text with links, video, and audio to appear in-line in these contexts so that there’s a better representation of the actual post I’m reacting to.
The question then, is how can I make this happen?
In older versions of the plugin there was a setting for this feature, but it wasn’t well documented and most people didn’t know what the setting was or what it meant. For simpler UI and support it was ultimately stripped out although the raw code for it was left in. In fact, it’s literally the first short block of code within the plugin’s main code! It looks like this:
To enable the ability to manually add arbitrary html, links, audio, video, etc. you can go to your main administrative user interface in WordPress and go to Plugins >> Edit and then choose the Post Kinds option in the drop down selector in the top right hand corner and click select. Search for the code listed above (it should be right at the top, underneath the title and details for the plugin) and change the single word false to true. Next scroll down the page and click the Update File button.
Now you should be able to manually change any of the fields within the Response Properties metabox and they’d display in full HTML as you’d expect them to. (Caveat: because you’ve disabled a small layer of security, you should keep a close eye on what data appears in your “Summary/Quote” field and make sure you’re not allowing your site or your readers to be led astray or hacked. In my case, I’m almost always modifying it by hand, so it’s not a big issue. Your mileage may vary depending on what you’re posting.)
But wait… What happens when I update the plugin? Won’t the update overwrite the change? Yes, you’re absolutely correct. You’ll have to remember to go back and make this change any time the plugin updates. To prevent this, you could instead modify your wp-config.php file in the root folder of your WordPress install. To do this add the following lines of code to the bottom of this file:
/** Sets up initial variable for the Post Kinds plugin to not filter the Summary/Quote field */
if ( ! defined( 'POST_KINDS_KSES' ) )
define(' POST_KIND_KSES', true );
Next save the file and upload it to your WordPress install. Now you should be all set.
I think there is a need to develop a system to track the draft of a manuscript from the beginning to the end of the process. This will open up new possibilities to scaffold new scholars while we onboard them in the process. This will also provide new opportunities for open scholarship and open science. Finally, this will allow researchers to replicate, remix, or reproduce the (research, reflection, writing, revision, publishing) process. The answer may be in indieweb philosophies, but the main impediment may be in the people and systems that make all of this possible. I think we have an opportunity for new technological opportunities in academic publisher, but I’m not sure if culturally we’re ready. Let me explain.
I think there is a need to develop a system to track the draft of a manuscript from the beginning to the end of the process.
If you’re drafting in WordPress you can set the number of revisions of your posts to infinite so that you can keep (archive) all of your prior drafts. see: https://codex.wordpress.org/Revisions