Lemmy, a clever-looking link/conversation hub

Christine’s recent note that she was only getting webmentions from Lobsters and her update with a webmention example from Maya reminded me about the coolness that is Lemmy, a link aggregator for the Fediverse. I notice that Maya often syndicates her content there. 

I haven’t looked deeply into Lemmy’s internals yet. It looks like it has a similar community/aggregation hub functionality that Lobsters and Reddit has. It also looks like it functions like news.indieweb.org or indieweb.xyz. One thing I’d be curious to know is if Maya and gang has any plans for Lemmy to allow users to receive webmentions to comments on their posts on Lemmy. Lobsters implemented this in 2018. Or, with a bit more work, they might allow people to post to Lemmy using Webmention as a syndication mechanism the way indieweb.xyz or news.indieweb.org do.

Of course it looks like they might also benefit from IndieAuth login so that other accounts in the Fediverse might allow them to log in without needing yet another account. I recall Aaron Parecki doing a video about IndieAuth and ActivityPub at the ActivityPub conference recently. This would make implementation easier.

I can’t wait to dig into Lemmy a bit more. It would be cool to have another IndieWeb friendly community hub (and particularly one in the Fediverse) for discovery, discussion, and interaction in the world. We need more projects like these to give people healthier alternatives to Facebook and Twitter.

IndieWeb Inspirational Cards

I’ve been tinkering with and test driving some various image creation tools.  To test them and simultaneously have some fun, I made a series of creative inspirational cards/inspirational posters/postcards for the IndieWeb. All the images are royalty free from Pixabay, and I’m releasing the text and additional work with a CC0 license. Feel free to download and use them to your hearts’ content. They should hopefully all be relatively well-sided for sharing on social media.

I’d love to hear folks’ thoughts about them in general.

Click any of the images below for a slideshow presentation view.

Winter Counts and related holiday traditions

Some indigenous American tribes kept annual winter counts which served as both a physical historical account of their year, but served as visual mnemonic devices leveraging a bit of the idea of a drawn memory palace along with spaced repetition by adding a new image to their “journey” each year.

I was reminded about the idea over the weekend by a dreadful, cheeseball Hallmark Holiday movie A Royal Christmas Ball (2017) (please don’t torture yourself by watching it). The two main characters had a Christmas ritual of creating a holiday ornament every year for their Christmas tree with a design that represented something significant in their lives that year. Because most families generally use and reuse the same ornaments every year, the practice becomes a repeated ritual which allows them to reminisce over each ornament every year to remember past years. It’s a common occurrence (at least in Western society) for people to purchase souvenir ornaments when they travel, and these serve the same effect of remembering their past travels.

If others haven’t come across this idea as a fun mnemonic device for the whole family with built in spaced repetition, I recommend you give it a try. Just don’t everyone necessarily make coronavirus ornaments for this year.

Non-Christians could leverage a similar idea for their annual holidays, feasts, or events if they like. Of course, you could follow the Lakota tribe and make a more traditional winter count.

For those interested in some of the further history and description of the idea of an annual count in the framing of mnemotechny, I would recommend LynneKelly’s book Memory Craft or some of her more academic works.

Anagrams for IndieWeb

It’s just a long enough word to make some other interesting words.

  • I Web Dine (apropos to eat what you cook!)
  • Newbie Id (because it’s all about identity, right?)
  • I In Ed Web (for those in the IndieWeb for Education space)
  • Be Win Die (the circle of an IndieWeb life perhaps)
  • Bed I Wine
  • I Be Wined
  • Id Be Wine
  • Bide Wine
  • I, We, Biden (in honor of the candidate who put something on their website)
  • I Bide New
  • Bide We In
  • I Bid Ween
  • I In Dweeb
  • Ewe In Bid
  • I Bind Ewe
  • Die In Web (without the IndieWeb, this is likely what the silos would drive us to)
  • Bi Weed In
  • Bed We I In

Am I missing anything fun?

User Interfaces for Networked Thought

Tantek Çelik (), in IndieWeb Chat
Kevin Marks (), in IndieWeb Chat


These two quotes provide an interesting framing for comparing and contrasting the UI and functionality for the way that feed readers, email, and blogging (or more broadly networked thinking and communication) work.

Modern social readers provide a reply button and functionality along with the broadcast capabilities. Throw in the idea of person-tagging, and one has the ability to generally broadcast a message to anyone who cares to read (either by search or subscription), as well as to send notifications to specific people (or perhaps groups) that might be interested in the specific message.

Following Zeynep Tufekci

Let’s face it: Zeynep Tufekci’s output is too important to miss. Since there doesn’t seem to be a “canonical” source for everything, I’ve aggregated an RSS feed of all her work that I can find and incorporate.

This aggregate feed includes all of the following, some more frequently updated than others. I’ve included her Twitter feed as a backstop.

If you’re aware of something I’m missing that isn’t terrifically duplicative, do let me know. I still wish it were easier to follow specific individual writers across platforms and outlets.

A Session Proposal for IndieWebCamp East: A Domain of One’s Own LMS

IndieWebCamp East (Online) is coming up on the weekend of November 14-15, 2020, so I’ve tentatively proposed a session on creating an IndieWeb/Domain of One’s Own Learning Management System.

Proposal:

A Domain of One’s Own LMS

The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly forced educators to flee online where there is a wealth of predatory, amoral, and questionable platforms for managing online pedagogy. Starting closer to first principles, how might we design and build an LMS (Learning Management System) based on IndieWeb principles or using the related ideas behind A Domain of One’s Own where the teacher and students own their own content, learning content, and personal learning network.

Can we dovetails ideas and principles from the Open Educational Resources (OER) space with this at the same time?

Let’s get together to look at some common patterns in our online coursework to leverage existing technologies that privilege ownership, agency, control, and privacy to see how we might build and use our own infrastructure rather than relying on unethical corporations.

Session hashtag:


Naturally anyone with a website is welcome to join us for the BarCamp-style IndieWebCamp that weekend, but I would specifically like to invite all the educators, teachers, course designers, and students who are using their own domains or who are in a Domain of One’s Own program to join us.

It would be great to see others either share their knowledge or experiences or even lead brainstorming sessions so we can all work at improving our websites and adding additional useful functionality to make them do the things we’d like them to. I’d love nothing more than to get enough people show up on Saturday to create an entire “Education” focused track to appear and then have everyone return on Sunday to help each other get our hands dirty in building or improving our sites to create something together.

You can RSVP for the weekend for free here: https://2020.indieweb.org/east.

If you have any questions about proposing sessions, either in advance or preparing to propose them the morning of camp, don’t hesitate to reach out.

On customer service (and how SCE is dreadful at it)

Just the same way that VC-backed rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offload corporate cost centers and burdens onto their employees (which they’d otherwise like to call independent contractors), most customer service phone trees are meant to save time for their paid employees while offloading that same burden onto their customers all while wrongly calling it “customer service”.

I’ve just had such a painful experience with Southern California Edison (SCE) Power Company that kept me on hold for 31 minutes (a dreadful dark pattern in its own right) to offload the dreadful work of their call center costs onto me. The reason for my call? A simple request to literally flip one bit in their database–something that, if they really cared about customer service, should have taken two minutes from start to finish via phone or even under one minute online. Yet here I am bearing their miserable burden. 

I found a phone number that should have taken me directly to a point in their phone tree that should have asked at most one question, given me a representative and taken less than a minute. Instead I get dumped into the beginning of a larger tree that gives me options for the 5 other phone numbers and options I’d seen online. Why?!

Naturally they ask me to input my account number, which I do, but what’s the first question the representative wastes our time asking? My account number!

But guess what, that customer service representative can’t help me with the lowest level request to flip one bit from a yes to a no. They send me to a special department and make me sit on hold for another 20 minutes. I’m sure it wasn’t because they were so busy, but more to discourage me–otherwise the first customer service person would have been able to help. The design of their system not only isn’t set up to help them lower costs, it’s designed to actively make things worse for me. 

Screw you Southern California Edison! Your system should be designed just to minimize your direct cost for supplying customer service, it should be designed to minimize the cost on both sides.

Notes from the DoOO October Meetup

Chris Aldrich:

The October Domain of One’s Own meetup is starting in just about 45 minutes. Get your tea or coffee ready and join us for some conversation. @withknown https://boffosocko.com/2020/10/02/domain-of-ones-own-meetup-october-2020/
The conference room is open for the meetup for socializing prior to the meetup: https://events.indieweb.org/2020/10/domain-of-one-s-own-meetup-october-2020–GvlqwJBN66xn
Had a good, but smaller meeting this week and talked with @jbj and others about uses of webmention.

Start Brainstorming Session Ideas for IndieWebCamp East 2020

IndieWebCamp East 2020 is scheduled for the weekend of November 14-15, 2020 and will be held entirely online this year. RSVPs are open now if you’d like to register for free.

If you’ve never been to an IndieWebCamp before, we’ve got some details about what to expect. It’s not on the schedule yet, but sometime the week before camp we hope to have one (or more) intro sessions about what to expect at camp geared toward first time attendees as well as overviews of the technology we’ll be using if you’d like to do some (entirely optional) advance technology set up to make your weekend more fun and productive.

Much like in-person camps, the program of sessions will be created on Saturday morning by the participants who show up to participate. 

To help facilitate scheduling sessions on the day of camp, we’re asking attendees (who feel inspired) to begin the process of thinking about what topics they’d like to discuss at camp. Perhaps you’ve got a topic you’d like to learn more about? Maybe you’re thinking about a new frontier to explore and want to facilitate a group discussion around. Maybe it’s a topic you’ve explored fully and you’d like to help others learn about? Maybe it’s something you’d like to design or build that weekend, but might need some help thinking about.

Sessions are the heart of a camp.

Unlike traditional conference formats, IndieWebCamps have a self-organizing character, relying on the passion and the responsibility of the participants who attend. Attendees schedule sessions typically by writing on a large Post-It note or piece of paper and then placing them on a ‘grid’ of sessions by timeslot and conference room or virtual space. This time, we’ll be creating sessions together online.

Session proposals typically contain the following:

  • A descriptive title;
  • A facilitator name for a session (usually, but not always, the person proposing the session);
  • A longer description about what might be discussed, brainstormed, or researched during a particular session; and
  • A unique short hashtag that will be used to create an etherpad and other possible related resources for a session.

Everyone who attends camp is encouraged to submit a session idea. There isn’t such a thing as a bad idea for a session. You don’t need to know something about a particular topic to propose it, it may be something you’d simply like to learn about.

If you’re not sure where to start for ideas, try asking yourself any of the following questions:

  • What would I like my website to be able to do?
  • How did xyz get their site to do something?
  • I’d like to quit using social silo X? What would I need to do to replace that functionality to do that on my own website?
  • What would I like to learn about this weekend?
  • What could I help others to learn based on my past experience?
  • Are there pages/ideas from the wiki that might benefit from a brainstorming session?

Past sessions are also a great source of ideas, and it can often be a good idea to revisit old session ideas to discuss new methods of approaching a problem, new design ideas, or new ideas that have come up since those prior sessions.

On the first morning of camp, once everyone has had the chance to write down one (or even more) session ideas, everyone will take turns one-at-a-time to place their ideas into slots on the session grid for particular time slots and Zoom rooms. Generally we give first-time/new attendees the chance to schedule their proposals first. If there are similar or overlapping session proposals, session facilitators can discuss concatenating them into a single session.

If you’d like to begin thinking about session ideas before camp begins, please do so. Hopefully this jump start will help us to more quickly organize the sessions on the first day of camp so we have more time for the sessions themselves.  We’ve set up an Etherpad at https://etherpad.indieweb.org/2020-East-Sessions to let people begin collaborating on and thinking about ideas before camp begins. If you like, in true IndieWeb fashion, we’d invite you to post your session ideas on your own website as a place to keep them until camp starts on Saturday, November 14th.

If you have questions before camp about the process or need help in any way, feel free to jump into the IndieWeb chat and ask anyone in the community for help or guidance.

To reiterate, we’d love everyone attending to propose at least one session and you’ve got an opportunity to begin thinking about it now so that you’re not as pressed for time on the day of camp.  Posting your session ideas ahead of time is entirely optional, but may help you (and others) out by beginning the brainstorming now. We will explain all of this again on the first morning of camp and you’ll have a little bit of time to make proposals then as well, so don’t sweat it if you’re not inspired to do something now.

We look forward to seeing you in November.

Domain of One’s Own Meetup (October 2020)

I’ll be hosting a Domain of One’s Own meetup on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at at 9:00 AM Pacific / 12:00 PM Eastern / 6:00 PM CEST. Everyone who is interested in the topic is welcome to attend.

We expect there will be students, teachers, designers, web developers, technologists, and people of all ages and ranges of ability from those just starting out with a domain to those running DoOO programs at colleges or even people running their own hosting companies.

We’ll meet via Zoom for audio/video and will use an Etherpad for real-time chat and note taking for the event. Feel free to add your ideas and questions to the etherpad in advance if you like.

We will 

  • Have discussions about A Domain of One’s Own and the independent web;
  • Get to know others in the space;
  • Find potential collaborators for domains-related projects you’re working on;
  • Explore new and interesting ideas about what one can do or accomplish with a personal domain;
  • Create or update your domain
  • Ask colleagues for help/advice on problems or issues you’re having with your domain;

Agenda 

  • Welcome/Brief introductions
  • Main topic: To be determined. (Have a topic idea for discussion at the next session? Drop us a line by adding a comment to this post or one of the syndicated copies, ping me in chat, or track me down on your platform and means of communication of choice.)
  • Group photo for those who wish to participate
  • Demos, questions, problems: 
    Ideally everyone should bring a topic, short demonstration of something they’ve built or gotten working on their website, a question, or problem to discuss with the group. Depending on time and interest, we can try to spend 5-10 minutes discussing and providing feedback on each of these. If questions go over this time limitation, we can extend the conversation in smaller groups as necessary after the meetup.

RSVP

To RSVP to the meetup, please (optionally) do one of the following:

Invite your friends, colleagues, and students

Know someone who would be interested in joining? Please forward this event, or one of the syndicated copies to them on your platform or modality of choice.

Featured image: Hard Drive Repair flickr photo by wwarby shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

A few short notes from the September 2020 Domain of One’s Own Meetup

Chris Aldrich:

The zoom room is open. We’ll be starting the Domain of One’s Own meetup in a moment. https://events.indieweb.org/2020/09/domain-of-one-s-own-meetup-september-2020–908ut7UmA2T3 @DavidDLaCroix @Cambridgeport90 @bixtra @tElizaRose @EduBabble @MorrisPelzel @jimgroom @willtmonroe @macgenie @KatieHartraft @poritzj @amanda_went_oer
Thanks to the community for helping to host our infrastructure for the meetup today. https://indieweb.org/ The notes for today’s meeting can be found at https://etherpad.indieweb.org/2020-09-22-dooo

timmmmyboy:

Giving a live demo of Mattermost on the Reclaim Cloud

Dynamic range in social media and shovels versus excavators

A developer at today’s Homebrew Website Club mentioned that they didn’t want to have a website built on a particular language because they weren’t familiar with the language and felt uncomfortable trusting their data to it. What if something goes wrong? What if it breaks? How easy will it be to export and move their data over?

Compare this with the average social media user who doesn’t know any code. In their world, they’re making a choice, likely predicated upon social pressures, to post their data, content, and identity on one or more corporately controlled silos. Because of the ease-of-use, the platform is abstracted away from them even further than from the developer’s perspective thus making it even less apparent the level of trust they’re putting into the platform. What is the platform doing with their data? How is what they’re seeing in their feed being manipulated and controlled?

The problems both people are facing are relatively equivalent, just different in their dynamic range. The non-programmer is at an even greater disadvantage however as the silos are moving faster and can do more to take advantage of and manipulate them more seamlessly than the programmer who at least has more potential to learn the unfamiliar language to dig themselves out. This difference is also one of dynamic range as the developer may only need a simple shovel to dig themselves out whereas the non-coder will need a massive excavator, which may be unavailable and still need an operator with knowledge of how to use it.

Featured image: excavator flickr photo by mbecher shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

IndieWebCamp East 2020: Save the Date and Call for Volunteers

Hello IndieWeb friends and family! 

Save the Date

After some back-and-forth, several of us have carved out some time over the weekend of November 14-15 to co-host IndieWebCamp East 2020. We hope you’ll be able to join us.

If you’re interested in a weekend full of IndieWeb related activities, sessions, learning, creating, and coming together in a warm and inviting community of people who care about and help craft the web, please save the date.

As its title indicates, the camp will be organized around Eastern Standard Time in the Americas from the early morning  to the late afternoon over Saturday and Sunday that weekend. Because we’re hosting the camp completely free and online, people of all ability levels and locales across the world are welcome to and encouraged to attend.

We hope folks will help us plan some surrounding social activities on Friday night before camp launches and the evenings of camp, but those details will be announced at a later date and time.

Details relating to (free) tickets and the ability to RSVP will be announced and available shortly. If you comment on this post or like/repost the syndicated copy on Twitter, we’ll be sure to notify you as details progress. You can also optionally sign up for the IndieWeb Newsletter to receive weekly updates that will include information about upcoming camps and events.

If you’ve never attended an IndieWebCamp before, we’ve written up some details about what you can expect at an IndieWebCamp to whet your appetite. You can also browse our archive of past camps with archived session notes, posts, and videos.

Call for Organizers/Volunteers

IndieWebCamps and related events are completely volunteer driven. This means we’ll need your help not only in seeing your bright, shining faces in attendance and actively participating on the days of camp, but in actually putting together and organizing the camp.

If you have some time to volunteer as a co-organizer or an area volunteer, please drop us a note in the comments below or in the IndieWeb Meta Chat Channel.

No prior experience or expertise is necessary. There are many of us around who have put together one or more parts of camp and related events before, and we’re here to help you learn if you need it. There’s also some helpful wiki pages with details. Helping to volunteer can be a great way to give back to the community. It can also be helpful if you’ve wanted to become more involved, but don’t know how. Perhaps if you’ve wanted to begin organizing other events like Homebrew Website Clubs, this could be a great stepping stone.

There are a variety of areas we could use help in as well as ideas for things we could be missing or might also be doing. A diversity and plurality of voices and ideas can help us continue improving our camp experiences. Below are a handful of areas we could use help/volunteers for:

Pre-camp

  • General organizing
  • Keynote ideas/invitations
  • Sponsor wrangling
  • Wiki gardening
  • Creating the primary camp landing page: https://2020.indieweb.org/east
  • Accessibility
  • Family friendly planning/programming (Kids track anyone?)
  • Outreach
  • Marketing
  • Surrounding social events / pre-party / etc.
  • Others?

During camp

  • Co-hosts for Zoom rooms to help on the tech side and oversee
  • Code of Conduct point of contact(s)
  • Note taking during camp and sessions
  • Wiki gardening
  • Welcoming newcomers
  • Ideas that may need help/work: Planning Notes and Brainstorming
  • Others?

Remember more hands make light work and the camaraderie and your ideas, inspiration, and effort can make everyone’s experience at camp even better and more fruitful. 

You can start volunteering today, by saving the date and inviting a few friends to join you.

See you soon!

I and everyone else in the IndieWeb community look forward to seeing you at Camp in November or at upcoming events before then!

Domain of One’s Own Meetup (September 2020)

I’ll be hosting a Domain of One’s Own meetup on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at at 9:00 AM Pacific / 12:00 PM Eastern / 6:00 PM CEST. Everyone who is interested in the topic is welcome to attend.

We expect there will be students, teachers, designers, web developers, technologists, and people of all ages and ranges of ability from those just starting out with a domain to those running DoOO programs at colleges or even people running their own hosting companies.

We’ll meet via Zoom for audio/video and will use an Etherpad for real-time chat and note taking for the event

We will 

  • Have discussions about A Domain of One’s Own and the independent web;
  • Get to know others in the space;
  • Find potential collaborators for domains-related projects you’re working on;
  • Explore new and interesting ideas about what one can do or accomplish with a personal domain;
  • Create or update your domain
  • Ask colleagues for help/advice on problems or issues you’re having with your domain;

Agenda 

  • Welcome/Brief introductions
  • Main topic: This summer Reclaim Hosting launched Reclaim Cloud, but for many new and established Domains users, the “cloud” has been a nebulous buzzword with unclear meanings. In this meeting we’ll talk about what it is and why it might be important for gaining greater control over your personal cyberinfrastructure.
  • Group photo for those who wish to participate
  • Demos, questions, problems: 
    Ideally everyone should bring a topic, short demonstration of something they’ve built or gotten working on their website, a question, or problem to discuss with the group. Depending on time and interest, we can try to spend 5-10 minutes discussing and providing feedback on each of these. If questions go over this time limitation, we can extend the conversation in smaller groups as necessary after the meetup.

RSVP

To RSVP to the meetup, please (optionally) do one of the following:

Future meetups

While the time frame for this meetup may work best for some in the Americas, everyone with interest is most welcome. If there are others in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or other locales who are interested, do let us know what dates/times might work for you in the future and we can try to organize a time to maximize some attendance there. I’m happy to help anyone who’d like to take the leadership of other time zones or locales to leverage some of the resources of the IndieWeb community to assist in starting future meetings to cover other areas of the world. 

Have a topic idea for discussion at the next session? Drop us a line by adding a comment to this post or one of the syndicated copies, ping me in chat, or track me down on your platform and means of communication of choice.

Invite your friends, colleagues, and students

Know someone who would be interested in joining? Please forward this event, or one of the syndicated copies to them on your platform or modality of choice.

Featured image: Hard Drive Repair flickr photo by wwarby shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license