Replied to a post by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (hcommons.social)

@chrisaldrich Another #IndieWeb question for you! I'm syndicating blog posts from kfitz.info to Mastodon, where they appear from @kfitz@kfitz.info, and then I boost from this account. Replies to @kfitz@kfitz.info appear as comments to the blog post, as desired. But if I reply to the comment on the blog, that reply doesn't syndicate here, so the commenter doesn't know. And if I reply to the comment here, the reply comes from this account (and I'm not yet sure whether it appears as a reply on the blog or not). How do you manage this?

@kfitz I’m not sure that the straightforward functionality you’re looking for exists within the ActivityPub plugin (yet), but it’s certainly something you could potentially file as a feature request.

Since you have other Fediverse accounts you’re using, you might be able to follow the same general pattern I’d documented with Twitter for threading comments between my site and Twitter: https://boffosocko.com/2018/07/02/threaded-conversations-between-wordpress-and-twitter/

Generally, you’d post on your site where it’s seen in the Fediverse via the ActivityPub plugin and/or optionally boosted by your native Mastodon account. Replies to your post (on Mastodon) show up on your site as comments and you reply to them there in your site’s comments section. Then you manually copy/paste the text of your reply from your website into your native Mastodon account and include the comment/reply permalink in that reply. If you’ve got Webmention set up with Brid.gy for Mastodon, replies to your replies on Mastodon should then make their way back to the proper threaded spot in your website’s comments section.

An example of this at work can be seen on my earlier mistake:

Related, I’ve been playing around with mirroring my WP site as an instance with the ActivityPub plugin and have boosted posts with my more broadly followed mastodon.social account the same way you mentioned that you were doing with yours. Somehow I’m anecdotally finding that I get more responses/reactions with native posts that with these boosts. I’m curious what your experience has been with this strategy so far? I’m still just starting my experimentation here, but I do like the fact that I’m able to include richer presentation of wrapped links in my WordPress native posts which are seen in the Fediverse while Mastodon seems to strip them out or not allow them (see an example of this in the post above this reply).

Replied to a post by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (hcommons.social (Mastodon/Hometown))
Hey, @chrisaldrich! It's been a while since I've been in touch with you around stuff. I'd love to know if there have been any new developments, or if there are new possibilities on the horizon, especially on Mastodon <=> WP front. I'm thinking about my writing workflows and how I'd like to structure them in the weeks ahead...
Happy Friday @kfitz! You’re in luck—its not even horizon we’re watching for, but new lands we can walk. There are several options with varying levels of technicality and user interface affordances:

POSSE

There are some well built and not overly complicated pathways that allow syndicating from your WordPress website to a Mastodon instance and getting responses back from them, just as I think you’ve done with Twitter in the past. Most of these can be done with plugins like Syndication Links or Mastodon Autopost or a handful of other similar plugins in conjunction with Brid.gy (which does the work for bringing back responses). Personally, I prefer Syndication Links for this and it particularly dovetails well with other IndieWeb infrastructure like Micropub clients.

Mirroring

There are a small handful of methods for “mirroring” your WordPress site so that it will look like its own (single or multi-user depending on your configuration) instance within the Fediverse running ActivityPub, meaning that those on Mastodon or other related platforms could follow your site directly. Most of them are configured as publishing only, so you won’t have a built in reader interface and would have to rely on other (available) infrastructure for those portions.

Option 1

(More technical, and with a few less features) Brid.gyFed, which has options to do the syndication to a separate instance mentioned above, as well as making it look like your website appear to support ActivityPub.
More details on this here: https://indieweb.org/Bridgy_Fed

Option 2

Our friend Matthias Pfefferle, a genius engineer and longtime opensource advocate and WordPress developer who has also written significant pieces of other IndieWeb code you’re already using on WordPress, has written a handful of plugins which will make it appear as if your WordPress site supports ActivityPub out of the box. You’ll broadly want the following plugins: ActivityPub plugin, WebFinger plugin, NodeInfo(2) plugin.

They don’t have very many configurable options though some may be hiding a bit, so try:

  • /wp-admin/options-general.php?page=activitypubwill give you options for how your posts appear;
  • /wp-admin/users.php?page=activitypub-followers-list will show you who is following your site so you can more easily subscribe back via a reader if you like;
  • /wp-admin/profile.php and look under “Fediverse” where your profile identifier will be found. It is based on your username within WordPress.

The documentation for these plugins are scant and I’ve got the intention to write up something explaining the subtleties and a few quirks, but it will have to wait until the holidays I’m afraid. In the interim, they’re not as complete as they could be, but the following two blogposts have some useful details and hints, though its obvious to me that they’re much newer in the space:

There are one or two quirks still pending for how things display if you’re using the IndieWeb-based Post Kinds Plugin, but the developers are generally aware of most of them and will hopefully get them ironed our shortly.

As a result, mostly of these plugins, WordPress is already the fifth largest number of instances in the Fediverse with an (under-)estimated 878 as of this morning.

I’m practicing both the POSSE option as well as Option 2 above on my own site, which can be followed at @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com, as an example. Matthias’s example can be found at .

Help & Questions

This is a lot to consume and potentially implement, so, as ever, I’m happy to help guide and lay out the sub-branching options or even hop on a call to walk through bits with folks who have questions. David Shanske and I have been thinking about doing some group sessions and some training videos to walk people through some of this within the next few weeks. There’s also the IndieWeb chat which welcomes questions and conversation which is sure to give you some additional perspective: https://chat.indieweb.org/wordpress/.

For the social reader portions I briefly mentioned, I outline some of those options last year at OERxDomains in A Twitter of Our Own.

HCommons

Separately, congratulations to HCommons having stood up a Mastodon server so quickly!

It looks like it’s running Hometown, which has local only (unfederated) posting, though I’m not sure how many are aware of that useful feature (hiding on the link in the posting interface) which is sadly missing from most Mastodon instances, particularly for smaller communities. It might be something useful to add to the welcome email? I think this could be a great feature for Universities to allow more private class-based social networking while providing some safer spaces that don’t reach the broader internet and which might comply with FERPA. Obviously it would need some testing and some of the barriers for standing up and maintaining these servers to come down a bit.

There’s a lot of messaging and potential education to be had to roll it out well, but it could be interesting to see the WordPress offerings from hcommons.org include some of these IndieWeb and Fediverse tools as well.

Read The escape from Instagram by Jeremy Felt (jeremyfelt.com)
I’ve been thinking through how to leave Facebook’s Instagram service since June, when I finally deleted my central Facebook account. This should be easy, because I don’t post that much on Instagram, but it always seems hard because it’s the best user experience (IMO) on mobile for writing a ...
An interesting method of leaving Instagram. I still read content there, but I had used dsgnwrks-instagram-importer by Justin Sternberg to rescue all of my Instagram posts back into my WordPress site since it gave me a huge amount of control over porting over the metadata as well. I’m noticing that the repository lists it with a warning “This plugin has been closed as of August 10, 2019 and is not available for download. Reason: Licensing/Trademark Violation.” though I can’t imagine what that would have been for unless Instagram is trying to nudge Justin out. (There’s a copy of the plugin on Github for those who may still want it.) Other than a small issue I’d seen with some emoji in Instagram, the plugin always worked like a charm for me.

Prior to that I’d always been a big fan of Aaron Parecki’s OwnYourGram, though I understand that Instagram was limiting his crawler, so the service may not be taking new accounts.

While I know some of the people behind Pixelfed and generally trust them, I don’t think I would use it as a solution unless I was standing up my own instance of the service. Far too many Mastodon instances have gone down for me to trust a particular sites’ admins. Apparently Mastodon has made it easier to move from one instance to another, but I’m not sure how this may or may not apply to Pixelfed.

Presently, my money is on Matthias Pfefferle’s ActivityPub plugin which adds support to a WordPress site to act as a stand-alone member of the Fediverse. While it’s beta software, it works fairly well and is evolving impressively over the past year or so. I suspect that photo support will improve to put it on par with solutions like Pixelfed, particularly when combined with the ease of use of some of the Micropub photo posting applications that are out there.

I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention that another option for exiting Instagram (or at least backing it up to your own site even if you don’t leave completely) is to try Beau Lebens’ Keyring Social Importers plugin. I know a few who have used and liked it for its Instagram and other social silo support.

I’m sure there are other methods out there as well and many might be found on the IndiwWeb wiki pages for “Instagram” or “photo”.

Proper tagging on upper case vs lower case

Filed an Issue ActivityPub for WordPress. (GitHub)
Contribute to pfefferle/wordpress-activitypub development by creating an account on GitHub.
Not quite sure what may be causing it, but I’ve noticed on my site that I get a properly tagged but don’t get it properly tagged when I use lower case . Is this to be expected or something in the line of a regex issue?

Examples: [1] [2]

I’m continually astounded by Matthias Pfefferle’s (or I might alternately tag: @pfefferle@notiz.blog) excellent work with the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress! It’s simply brilliant that my IndieWeb powered WordPress website can act much like a standalone version of Mastodon and reasonably federate with other platforms that use the ActivityPub protocol.

You can follow me at @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com and apparently read my 8,000+ posts via Mastodon and other platforms.

While the plugin doesn’t support everything (yet) and doesn’t compete with Mastodon, Friendi.ca, or GNU.social, it extends WordPress with some reasonably solid fediverse features. I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow and add additional functionality.