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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👓 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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Reply to Dave Keine about Podcast Discovery and Clean up

Replied to a tweet by Dave Keine (Twitter)

People often share their podcast recommendations, but why not share what they’re actually listening to the way that @reading does? #PodcastPareDown @HeyKeine

Maybe like this?

Podcasts of things I’ve listened to or want to listen to

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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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Reply to Think About Capabilities, Not Permissions

Replied to Think About Capabilities, Not Permissions by Nathan Smith (The Piraeus)
I suggest we can move OER forward by shifting the conversation from permissions to capabilities.

Thanks for this Nathan. I did write a somewhat longer response to a few critiques late last week that clarified my position. In some sense I wanted to raise the idea of version control and it’s power/value more so than to just add on another “requirement” on the permissions side.

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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)?

👓 It’s time to say goodbye to Twitter | sonniesedge

Replied to It's time to say goodbye to Twitter by sonniesedgesonniesedge (sonniesedge.co.uk)

When I first got on Twitter it was like usenet in the 90s. Just a bunch of people talking shit about things that they enjoyed. It was small enough that everyone seemed to know each other, but large enough that there were still interesting nerdy people to find and get to know and enjoy the company of. The perfect little club.

But at some point it went horribly wrong.

I hope that as you wean yourself away from Twitter that you regain the ability to do longer posts–I quite like your writing style. This is certainly as well-put a statement about why one should leave Twitter as one could imagine.

I remember those old days and miss the feel it used to have as well. The regrowing blogosphere around the IndieWeb and Micro.blog are the closest thing I’ve seen to that original feel since ADN or smaller networks like 10 Centuries and pnut. I enjoy finding that as I wean myself away from Twitter, I do quite like going back to some of the peace and tranquility of reading and thinking my way through longer posts (and replies as well). Sometimes I wonder if it doesn’t take more than ten minutes of thought and work, it’s probably not worth putting on the internet at all, and even then it’s probably questionable… I’m half tempted to register the domain squirrels.social and spin up a Mastodon instance–fortunately it would take less than the ten minute time limit and there are enough animal related social silos out there already.

As an aside, I love the way you’ve laid out your webmentions–quite beautiful!

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Reply to Florian Weil on annotations and webmention

Replied to Florian Weil on Twitter (Twitter)
“@memotv Isn't the annotations standard by w3c for this kind of needs? https://www.w3.org/TR/annotation-model/ this article summarised the key points very good https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2018/08/28/all-about-open-annotation/ for some more functional link back, I can highly recommend to check the indieweb webmentions”

Reminds me that I need to circle back to this discussion:

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Reply to Now even more IndieWebified | Paul Jacobson

Replied to Now even more IndieWebified by Paul JacobsonPaul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
I just watched Chris Aldrich’s tutorial on how to configure a WordPress site for IndieWeb use. In other words, how to setup your WordPress site as pretty dynamic hub on the Web using a variet…

I’m glad the video helped out.

I’ve been a big fan of the Post Kinds Plugin as well. Honestly I wished that WordPress had gone the extra mile and adopted something more like it when it was working on the Post Formats concept a few years back. I’ve written a bit about the Post Kinds Plugin in the past and perhaps you’ll appreciate some of those pieces, particularly the bookmarklet portions for desktop and details about mobile posting.

Because Post Kinds and Post Formats are not one-to-one or onto functions, doing the mapping  in both directions is difficult, but when posting using a Post Kinds first method, you should be able to set the Post Formats you prefer. There are some useful defaults within the plugin, but they can be manually changed in the code available in the class-kind-taxonomy file in a relatively obvious way. In my case, while the mapping of “notes” to “asides” is a useful one, I prefer them to map to “status” for my current theme, so I just manually change that one word in the code to reflect my particular preference.

There’s a lot hiding under the hood if you want to tinker in the code. If you have issues or feature requests, I know that the developer David Shanske is very receptive to feedback towards improving the set up. (And similarly for almost all of the IndieWeb-related plugins which can be found on GitHub.)

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👓 My Feedly wishlist | Paul Jacobson

Replied to My Feedly wishlist by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
Richard MacManus wrote about the state of feed readers as he saw it in his AltPlatform.org post titled “The state of feed readers”. He mentioned a couple things in his Feedly wishlist that prompted me to think more about what I’d like to see added to Feedly.

Feedly and custom sharing

Apparently there were a bunch of us thinking and writing about feed readers and the open web a year ago last June. Several week’s prior to Richard’s article, I’d written a piece for Richard’s now defunct AltPlatform entitled Feed reader revolution (now archived on my site), which laid out some pieces similar to Paul’s take here, though it tied in some more of what was then the state of the art in IndieWeb tech.

Around that time I began tinkering with other feed readers including Inoreader, which I’ve been using for it’s ability to auto-update my RSS feeds using OPML subscriptions from the OPML files I maintain on my own website. Currently I’m more interested in what the Microsub specification is starting to surface in the feed reader space.

I’m not sure if he’s played around with it since, but, like Paul, I was using some of the Press This bookmarklet functionality in conjunction with David Shanske’s Post Kinds plugin for WordPress to make posting snippets of things to my website easier.

Feedly has a Pro (aka paid) functionality to allow one to share content using custom URLs.

Screenshot of the custom share functionality set up from within Feedly.com.

While one can use the Share to WordPress URL functionality, I’d recommend the Custom Sharing feature.  Using the Post Kinds plugin, one can use the following example URL to quickly share things from their Feedly account to their personal website:

https://example.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?kindurl=URL&kind=bookmark

One should change the URL to reflect their own site, and one can also change the word “bookmark” to the appropriate desired kind including “like”, “favorite”, “read”, or any of the others they may have enabled within the Post Kinds plugin.

I personally don’t use this method as it only allows one custom sharing URL (and thus allows only one post kind), and instead (again) prefer Inoreader which allows one to configure custom sharing similarly to Feedly, but doesn’t limit the number of kinds and the feature is available in their free tier as well.

In addition to some of what I’ve written about the Post Kinds plugin before, I’ve also detailed how to dovetail it with sharing from my Android phone quickly in the past.

Highlights and Annotations

Also like Paul, I was greatly interested in quickly creating highlights and annotations on web content and posting them to my own website. Here I’m using a modified version of the Post Kinds plugin to accomplish this having created highlight posts and annotation posts for my site. Next I’m utilizing the ability to prepend http://via.hypothes.is to URLs on my mobile phone to call up the ability to use my Hypothesis account to easily and quickly create highlights and annotations. I then use some details from the outline linked below to capture that data via RSS using IFTTT.com.

Naturally, the process could be streamlined a lot from a UI perspective, but I think it provides some fairly nice results without a huge amount of work.

An Outline for Using Hypothesis for Owning your Annotations and Highlights

I will mention that I’ve seen bugs in trying to annotate easily on Chrome’s mobile application, but haven’t had any issues in using Firefox’s mobile browser.

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👓 Hello world! | Michael Dunne

Replied to Hello world! by Michael Dunne (Michael Dunne)
I think it is traditional to start a new blog with a declaration of intent. The trouble is I have been here before, with many blogs and Web sites began with the best of intentions and then allowed to languish owing to lack of inspiration or deleted in frustration. So if I say that this blog may touch on many things but principally photography then you can take that with a large pinch of salt, but I hope this time it will be different.

Welcome to the indie web Michael!

What was that famous quote from the Zuzu in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life? “Every time a blog starts, an Angel gets its wings?” Yes, I’m sure that’s it!

There my be no better honor than to be mentioned on the first page of a new personal website, and I certainly am. I’m tickled to serve as an example, particularly when mentioned in the same breath as Dan Cohen.

I don’t aim to emulate them just yet (I’m not terribly technically minded), but I get the importance of owning my own data, and I like the idea of having my own little space on the Web.

You’re completely right Michael, don’t simply copy what anyone is doing, but focus on the bits and pieces you find the most valuable to you personally. Given your penchant, perhaps looking into the IndieWeb wiki pages for Flickr and Instagram might give you some inspiration? I’ll note that over time I’ve become much more technically proficient, but I suspect you’re not too far behind me, so don’t let anything stop you.

If you need any help or guidance as you travel along, feel free to reach out. There are many of us around to help.

You might also find a local group to work with as well. If you have the travel time available I know there’s an upcoming IndieWebCamp in Oxford that I suspect you’d have fun attending.

Good luck!

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Reply to Rethinking My Social Media Use | Chris Wiegman

Replied to Rethinking My Social Media Use by Chris WiegmanChris Wiegman (Chris Wiegman)
Most of you who know me know that I’ve struggled for a while now with how social media currently fits into my life and how I would prefer it to fit into my life. Ten years ago it was nothing for me to sign up for every service and post to them like there was no tomorrow. Heck, during my days at SIU doing so was actually part of my job as I managed all the social media for the Aviation departments. It was fun, I guess. Today I’m not so sure if that was the right approach, or, for that matter, what the “right” approach even means. Over the last few months I’ve scrubbed or deleted most of my online accounts and worked to severely limit the time I’ve spent on the rest (often with even more limited success). I’ve done this not because I want to but, in many ways, because I feel like I have to for a number of reasons.

Chris, many of us have been having the same thoughts for quite a while. Since you’re rethinking things, and you’ve already got your own website/blog, why not just switch over to that and let the internet be your social network? Many of us in the IndieWeb movement have been working on helping others do just that for several years now.

We’ve been working on W3C specs like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and Microsub to recreate some of the infrastructure offered by social media sites, but that allows website owners more control and ownership over their content–something I suspect you’re behind in using WordPress as your CMS of choice. In the very near future we’ll even have first class feed readers either on our own sites or that allow us to interact with others’ sites using our own.

If you still need to interact with sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, et al. You can still do that if you like by posting to your own site and syndicating out while still allowing comments and interactions from many of these sites back to your own using backfeed via the Webmention protocol with tools like Brid.gy. Slowly over the past several years more and more CMSes are adding these bits of functionality to let peoples’ personal sites become first class social media sites that they can own and control.

I suspect that given your skills and how you’re already using your site, you could be supporting a lot of these technologies with a few simple plugins and without a lot of additional work to give you most of what you’re looking for. A group of us are happy to help if you’ve got questions about implementation.

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Reply to Geeking out with IndieWeb and Micro.blog | Paul Jacobson

Replied to Geeking out with IndieWeb and Micro.blog by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
How can I do that?
On yet another related note, I came across Chris Aldrich’s reply to a tweet from one of my colleagues. The reply is interesting, in itself, but what I’m particularly curious about is how to create replies like this that publish to the source site, and populate the syndication link fields.

Paul, apologies for having missed a few of your recent questions/mentions, but I’ve been on a bit of a vacation recently and am just catching up on some of the pieces of web technology you’ve been delving into. (Congratulations on jumping in with both feet by the way!)  I’ll try to get to more substantive replies to some of your questions, but since I see there’s a reasonable time zone gap between us, I thought I’d at least quickly say hello before crashing for the night. I can already tell my reading list for the week is going to double after a quick look at your own site which I’ll subscribe to shortly.

While it looks like you’re at least tangentially aware of bits that I’ve written based on some of your recent quotes, I thought I’d give you a pointer to some of the conglomerated pieces which might help you out. In particular, you might be most interested in my IndieWeb Research Collection which is primarily WordPress focused. This also includes a relatively recent 2 hour video walk through of the set up for many of the plugins you mentioned. I suspect you won’t have too much problem with it given your background, but we’re all continually working toward making it easier and easier for the casual user. In particular, I’m hoping that some of the recent changes will drastically open up the field for a much larger universe of themes without the heavy lifting we were all anticipating.

If you have questions or need help in the interim, feel free to hop into the IndieWeb chat or browse through the related wiki. Hopefully the fine and friendly folks there will help to get you sorted as I play catch up a bit this week.

More soon…

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Reply to Jan Cavan Boulas about WordPress Microsub feed reader

Replied to a tweet by Jan Cavan BoulasJan Cavan Boulas (Twitter)

Jan, as I had mentioned to you earlier this year at WordCamp Orange County, the work on the IndieWeb concept of Microsub with respect to feed readers is continuing apace. In the last few months Aaron Parecki has opened up beta versions of his Aperture microsub server as well as limited access to his Monocle reader interface in addition to the existing Indigenous and Together reader interfaces.

My friend Jack Jamieson is in the midst of building a WordPress-specific Microsub server implementation which he’s indicated still needs more work, but which he’s self-dogfooding on his own website as a feed reader currently.

If it’s of interest, you or your colleagues at Automattic might want to take a look at it in terms of potentially adding a related Microsub reader interface as the other half of his Microsub server. Given your prior work on the beautiful WordPress.com feed reader, this may be relatively easy work which you could very quickly leverage to provide the WordPress ecosystem with an incredibly powerful feed reader interface through which users can interact directly with other sites using the W3C’s Micropub and Webmention specifications for which there are already pre-existing plugins within the repository.[1][2]

For some reference I’ll include some helpful links below which might help you and others get a jump start if you wish:

While I understand most of the high level moving pieces, some of the technical specifics are beyond my coding abilities. Should you need help or assistance in cobbling together the front end, I’m positive that Jack, Aaron Parecki, David Shanske, and others in the IndieWeb chat (perhaps the #Dev or #WordPress channels–there are also bridges for using IRC, Slack, or Matrix if you prefer them) would be more than happy to lend a hand to get another implementation of a Microsub reader interface off the ground. I suspect your experience and design background could also help to shape the Microsub spec as well as potentially add things to it which others haven’t yet considered from a usability perspective.

In the erstwhile, I hope all is well with you. Warmest regards!

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