👓 More Thoughts at Random on Blog Search Engines | Brent Simmons

Read More Thoughts at Random on Blog Search Engines by Brent Simmons (inessential.com)
I can dream about how I’d build one of these. (I’m not going to! This is way outside my expertise, and I have other things to do.)

👓 Wishing for Blog Search Engines | Brent Simmons

Read Wishing for Blog Search Engines by Brent Simmons (inessential.com)
One thing I wish we had that we used to have: blog-only search engines. You could go and search for a hash tag. Or for links to your blog or elsewhere. Or for keywords. Etc. It should have an API that returns RSS, so RSS reader users could set up persistent, updated searches. There used to be a bunch of these, and now there are none that I know of.

Modifying some of the taxonomies on my digital commonplace book

Spent a few minutes today cleaning up the various categories and tags within my digital commonplace book (aka website). Some of the automated methods I use as well as my general carelessness and fat fingers on mobile introduce spelling errors in some of these taxonomies. I also find that sometimes when choosing them from the pre-populated lists my website’s back end makes it more difficult to choose the canonical one when there are several there by error.

These issues tend to flatten these taxonomies out and make them much more difficult to search (or for others to be able to subscribe to reliably).

As an example, having tags “Domain of One’s Own” and “Domain of Ones Own” (with and without the apostrophe) as well as the acronym “DoOO” can be difficult or frustrating to use. Things get even more complicated when I hold the mental model that these concepts are just a sub-set of the broader idea of the “IndieWeb” or what I sometimes tag things as “IndieWeb for Education”. This is all much easier for me, but may be more difficult for newcomers to the site who know what one shorthand means, but are unaware of the others and thus miss details, references, or content that may have a lot of value for them.

I’ve cleaned up and concatenated many of these troublesome tags (roughly A-D alphabetically and other sections at random), but there’s still a lot of distance to go. There are 66 categories–some are hidden or used for programmatic purposes–and nearly 7,000 tags! The top 100 tags are used 30 or more times on the site and the second century of tags are used between 20 and 30 times each. At the long end of the tail there are about 4,000 tags with either 1 or no uses.

I’m promoting the economics tag to that of a category since it’s a topic in which I have a lot of interest and content. I also have a number of other tags related to sub-areas of economics. (If you were subscribed to this individual tag, you may want to fix your feed.) Other potential considerations for promotion included the topics of history, physics, and web development. I also noticed that there’s a tag for mathematics with 70 instances despite the fact that there’s already a category for it with 315 posts already–I’ll have to figure out how that happened and clean it up another day. And look, there’s somehow a tag for “math” too. Ugh!

I also put both the Quotes and Events categories under the parent category of Social Stream, though I plan on leaving them showing in the hierarchy–unlike some post kinds–as there are many legacy posts and likely future posts that aren’t just events I’m hosting, but events that are of interest to me in general. Naturally the more important events (to me) will appear in my RSVP posts. With any good luck courtesy of WordPress, links to the old versions should still work or redirect to the new hierarchy.

The manual or even automated effort of fixing or tweaking some of these things feels problematic, and I’m just looking at just my own website. I’m curious to delve into some research on taxonomies and folksonomies to see how something like this may be better systematized and/or automated. Of course categorizing things is somethings humans really love doing, but I’m not sure how deep down the rabbit hole it’s worth going for my own work. Besides, someone far smarter than I will likely crack the discovery nut from an IndieWeb perspective. Fortunately I can use the site search queries for several search engines to more quickly find the things I’m looking for without needing these taxonomies. So perhaps I’ll put some of the exercise off to another day by filing this in my tag.

Replied to What should the list look like? · Issue #43 · jkup/awesome-personal-blogs by Jon KupermanJon Kuperman (GitHub)

Hey @fjoshuajr @lipis @hugmanrique @aletaschner

All of you submitted awesome ideas for what the list should look like! PRs were coming in so fast yesterday it kind of got lost in the shuffle so I was hoping to move the conversation into a single thread.

My thinking was:

  1. Make it a Markdown table
  2. Maybe a separate table for each letter of the alphabet?
  3. Add at least a field for what subjects the person talks about

How does that sound? Should we do something different? Hope you don't mind but I'm gonna close the other issues in favor of discussing it all in here!

Thanks!

I’ve seen a few somewhat similar directory projects like this that might have some useful ux/ui/design ideas:

For additional metadata, one could run a microformats parser on the homepages of these sites and return social media presences in other locations using XFN’s rel="me" set up. Something like this is done by Jeremy Keith on his Huffduffer.com service where one signs up and inputs one’s website. His service then doesn’t need to ask for Twitter, Facebook, or Github handles explicitly. Instead it relies on the service going to the homepage listed and pulling out the rel="me" values and doing it automatically on their behalf. Since many web platforms have this microformat value it can make the data acquisition easier and less manual in many cases.

👓 An Alternative to the Corporate Web | Cathie LeBlanc

Read An Alternative to the Corporate Web by Cathie LeBlancCathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life: Media, Technology, and Education)
I’ve written about why I think we need the IndieWeb before. I’m going to the Popular Culture Association Conference in April and will present about this there as part of the Internet Culture track. I’ve been talking to friends about what they might want to know about the IndieWeb as a way of getting a sense of what to present about. I realized that I have additional thoughts about the importance of the IndieWeb community so that’s what this post is about. Once the presentation is complete, I’ll make the slide deck available as a supplement to this post.

A great article and good overview, particularly within the broader context of several of her recent pieces on the broader topic.

I have heard some who think that POSSE is difficult and only worthwhile for the additional reach. I hope that one day when we’ve got some better readers and discovery options people will flock to more IndieWeb-centric solutions. If enough eventually do, then the silos may be forced to open up to be able to continue competing.

👓 Scroll is acquiring Nuzzel | Scroll Blog

Read Scroll is acquiring Nuzzel (Scroll Blog)

A note from Tony Haile, CEO of Scroll

TL;DR

  • Scroll is acquiring Nuzzel
  • The core service isn’t going to change beyond removing the ads
  • We’re spinning out the media intelligence business

Nuzzel is one of my favorite things, so I’m glad to hear that it will continue on… I haven’t heard much about Scroll, which appears to be a journalism startup, but hopefully they’ve got enough legs to make it for the long haul.

We need more competition in the space of “discovery” on the web and particularly in the area of allowing users to control the levers that go into some of that discovery. The blackbox algorithms of the social media giants certainly can’t be trusted because of their financial motivations. In some sense, I view Nuzzel as a real-time directory, but one whose cache is flushed at regular intervals instead of saving all the data for a later date and time or other additional searching. I wonder what a engine like Nuzzel would look like if it kept all the data and allowed itself to be searchable in a long-tail way?

🔖 NowNowNow

Bookmarked Now Now Now (nownownow.com)
Websites with a /now page

I hadn’t really thought of it until now (no pun intended), but the set up of this website and how people opt in to creating a Now Page on their own websites, makes it an interesting and unique type of online directory for the discovery of a particular type of online set of links. Certainly an interesting set up and concept for Brad Enslen and Kicks Condor to take a look at in their online explorations of these types of discovery-based websites.

Certainly webmention could be used to collect the data and provide updates for such a directory. (I’ll note that most people who do have Now pages put a small notice at the bottom of their pages with a link back to the directory to reference it–something which I’m sure has helped spread the general idea.) One of the things I haven’t seen directories like this necessarily have is a feed of content that one could subscribe to updates from. While this one doesn’t have this sort of ability built into it (or seemingly any search or sorting functionality by categories or tags), it does have a Twitter feed that pushes out semi-regular updates of people within the directory. This way, if you’re subscribed, you see others’ updates being fed out. Every couple of months it also mentions me directly, which provides me with a regular reminder to update my presence within the directory.

I’m curious how we might expand this sort of concept to other types of online directories? Is there anything else useful about how this is one is set up?

👓 2019.01: Href.Cool Updates | Kicks Condor

Read 2019.01: Href.Cool Updates by Kicks Condor (kickscondor.com)

Okay, so I’ve added outgoing Webmentions to Href.cool. This means that sites will be notified if they are linked in any of my category.

Incidentally, the directory itself has also has Webmentions. So, if you have an Indieweb blog and you want to recommend a link to the directory: make a post containing the link you want to submit and a link to the category page you think it belongs on and I will get the message. I may also choose to list submitted links at the bottom of the page. Or, yeah, you tell me if this is useful to you.

👓 2019 Book Industry Predictions: The Butterflies Will Flap Their Wings | Smashwords

Read 2019 Book Industry Predictions: The Butterflies Will Flap Their Wings (blog.smashwords.com)
Welcome to my annual publishing predictions. I’ll start by sharing some thoughts on the state of the indie nation and then I’ll jump int...

This post is very anti-Amazon and has an IndieWeb flavor. Sadly, it comes mostly from the perspective of yet-another-silo that is competing with Amazon. A better and more holistic solution would be for them to be supporting authors owning their own platforms for publishing and distribution. 

There’s also a useful question brought up here about the idea of discovering new authors and new books. It’s a similar problem faced by websites and other online content in general. Silo’s general nature and the algorithms they can bring to bear have solved some of the discovery question (for their own enrichment). Solving this from an indie perspective isn’t just useful from the website content perspective, but it’s also very important for the book sales perspective.

👓 Chris Aldrich’s Year In Pocket

Read My Year in Pocket (Pocket App)
See how much I read in Pocket this year!

According to Pocket’s account I read 766,000 words or the equivalent of about 10 books. My most saved topics were current events, science, technology, health, and education.

The most popular things I apparently saved this year:

I’ll have to work at getting better to create my own end-of-year statistics since my own website has a better accounting of what I’ve actually read (it isn’t all public) and bookmarked. I do like that their service does some aggregate comparison of my data versus all the other user data (anonymized from my perspective).

Pocket also does a relatively good job of doing discovery of good things to read based on aggregate user data in terms of categories like “Best of” and “Popular”. They also give me weekly email updates of things I’ve bookmarked there as reminders to go back and read them, which I find a useful functionality which they haven’t over-gamified. Presently my own closest functionality to this is to be subscribed to the RSS feed of my own public bookmarks in a feed reader (which I find generally useful) as well as regularly checking on my private bookmarks on my websites’s back end (something as easy as clicking on a browser bookmark) and even looking at my “on this day” functionality to review over things from years past.

I’ll note that I currently rely more on Nuzzle for real-time discovery  on a daily basis however.

Greg McVerry might appreciate that they’re gamifying reading by presenting me with a badge.

As an aside while I’m thinking of it, it might be a cool thing if the IndieWeb wiki received webmentions, so that self-documentation I do on my own website automatically appeared on the appropriate linked pages either in a webmention section or perhaps the “See Also” section. If wikis did this generally, it would be a cool means of potentially building communities and fuelling discovery on the broader web. Imagine if adding to a wiki via Webmention were as easy as syndicating content to a site like IndieNews or IndieWeb.XYZ? It could also function as a useful method of archiving web content from original pages to places like the Internet Archive in a simple way, much like how I currently auto-archive my individual pages automatically on the day they’re published.

👓 Warbler Description | sawv

Read Warbler Description by jr (sawv)
I like community websites where people gather for online discussions. That's why I launched my message board Toledo Talk in January 2003, and it continues today. Warbler is a message board where all thread starter posts and comments are Webmentions. A Webmention is a cross-site communication idea, e...

Some interesting thoughts here on community applications and the idea of discovery from an IndieWeb perspective. Kicks Condor and Brad Enslen may appreciate having yet another person who is actively thinking about and working on these particular problems.

👓 about | href.cool

Read About href.cool (href.cool)
This directory is somewhat inspired by the old, failed link collections like the original Yahoo! and DMOZ. They were terrible—you couldn’t find anything, but what you did find was often unexpected. My ‘archivist’/‘forager’ tendencies want to do this.

I ran into this website courtesy of Brad Enslen and thought it was a cool looking little directory. I should have known better, but it appears it’s a new experiment by our friend Kicks Condor.

I love nothing more than seeing where the discussions between Brad, Kicks and others (along with their experiments) end up going. One day they’re going to fix what’s wrong with the web. I hope everyone is following along and cheering them the same way I do.

👓 Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? | Study Hacks – Cal Newport

Replied to Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? by Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

As a public critic of social media, I’m often asked if my concerns extend to YouTube. This is a tricky question.

As I’ve written, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram didn’t offer something fundamentally different than the world wide web that preceded them. Their main contribution was to make this style of online life more accessible and convenient.

I suspect that people have generally been exploring some of this already, particularly with embedding. The difficult part on moving past YouTube, Vimeo, et al. with streaming or even simple embedding is that video on the web is a big engineering problem not to mention a major bandwidth issue for self-hosters. I’ve seen scions like Kevin Marks indicate in the past that they’d put almost any type of content on their own websites natively but video. Even coding a JavaScript player on one’s site is prohibitively difficult and rarely do major corporate players in the video content space bother to do this themselves. Thus, until something drastic happens, embedding video may be the only sensible way to go.

As an interesting aside, I’ll note that just a few months ago that YouTube allowed people to do embeds with several options, but they’re recently removed the option to prevent their player from recommending additional videos once you’re done. Thus the embedding site is still co-opted to some extent by YouTube and their vexing algorithmic recommendations.

In a similar vein audio is also an issue, but at least an easier and much lower bandwidth one. I’ve been running some experiments lately on my own website by posting what I’m listening to on a regular basis as a “faux-cast” and embedding the original audio. I’ve also been doing it pointedly as a means of helping others discover good content, because in some sense I can say I love the most recent NPR podcast or click like on it somewhere, but I’m definitely sure that doesn’t have as much weight or value as my tacitly saying, “I’ve actually put my time and attention on the line and actually listened to this particular episode.” I think having and indicating skin-in-the-game can make a tremendous difference in these areas. In a similar vein, sites like Twitter don’t really have a good bookmarking feature, so readers don’t know if the sharing user actually read any of an article or if it was just the headline. Posting these things separately on my own site as either reads or bookmarks allows me to differentiate between the two specifically and semantically, both for others’ benefit as well as, and possibly most importantly, for my own (future self).

Reply to ricmac on indie blogs

Replied to a post by ricmacricmac (micro.blog)

Open question: what are some cool indie blogs (by which I mean, topic-focused blogs not personal blogs)? There are a ton of excellent indie podcasts out there (e.g. literatureandhistory.com is one of my faves). Would like to get a list started of blogs like that.

I’m struggling to think of an example of a modern era indie blog, except for my own 2018 effort Blocksplain. Keen to hear other (more successful!) suggestions. Again: topic-focused blog is what I mean.

@ricmac To get things kicked off, are you thinking of something along the lines of Gretchen McCulloch’s linguistics blog All Things Linguistics? If this is the sort of thing you’re looking for, I can think of several along these lines in various areas of academia, which apparently never left the old blogosphere, if you’d like some additional ones. There are also several multi-author/contributor ones like these as well.
#WishingTechnoratiStillExisted

Reply to Greg McVerry about academic samizdat pre-print server

Replied to a post by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com)
Then we also make a 12/31/2019 to have published first issue of a academic samizdat POSSE Journal about blogging research from any discipline. I wanna bring back some lightning talks like BlogCon 2003-2006., but first we do the journal.

I like that idea. Perhaps between the models for news.IndieWeb.org and Kicks Condor’s indiweb.xyz, we could create a syndicatable (pre-print) academic journal that allows sorting by top level academic disciplines.

I don’t recall though, are either of them open source, or do we need to re-build by hand?