Read IndieFollow by Matthias PfefferleMatthias Pfefferle (notizBlog)
Letzte Woche war WordCamp Europe. Mit weit über 8000 Teilnehmern war es das bisher größte online WordCamp! Bei der Größe ist es klar, dass man auch eine ganze Menge neuer und interessanter Leute trifft. Also schnell auf Twitter und allen folgen! Ich war auf dem größten online Event, von dem w...
I’ve commented before that I really don’t understand why WordCamps don’t provide badges with spaces for one’s website as their primary identity. Twitter can be good for quick follows and conference chatter, but now that we have some tools for doing a lot of this within WordPress, why not use it and prefer it over other methods?

Matthias has some great thoughts here about following and highlights a great follow page he’s built for his own website.

Replied to a tweet by Carolina GilabertCarolina Gilabert (Twitter)

I’m enamored of Aaron Parecki‘s Monocle reader. I can subscribe to almost anything I want, read it without interfering algorithms, and reply to posts directly in the reader, which uses Micropub to post those directly on my site, which has Webmentions to send notifications to those sites in turn.

I’m similarly in love with an app version called Indigenous for Android.

But really, who can have just one favorite?!? I also love: 

They’ve not only got interesting sites, but they’re always doing cool things that are worth following.

And if you want some other interesting ones to take a peek at, I have longer list (with RSS/OPML) at https://boffosocko.com/about/following/

I finally mucked about a bit and updated my Following Page (aka blogroll) on my website.

Because I was using some quirky gymnastics and a hacked up plugin, I’ve now been able to define a custom page and page content so that the explanation of the page appears at the top rather than at the bottom as before.

Viva the blogroll! Viva OPML! Viva RSS!

Replied to Networking as Time Saving by Jane Van GalenJane Van Galen (Teaching and Learning on the Open Web)

We talked in our group last week about the time that it requires to develop course websites and "open" assignments, and to make new tech function as it should when there may not be enough support, and when these sorts of investments may not be valued in faculty reviews.

I talked briefly about the "innovation" part is often simply building off the work of others, when so many faculty now share their work on the open web.

A great example of this just came through my Twitter feed.  I have a column set up in Tweetdeck  where I'm following the  conference.  With a Tweetdeck column, I can just glance or scroll for a minute between other things I'm doing,  to see if anything looks interesting.  People at this conference are working on open pedagogies, particularly via the Domains of Ones Own work we've talked about.  Most sessions are being live-tweeted, with a rich trove of links.

One attendee Chris Aldrich, has created a Twitter list of past attendees at the conference and others who do work related that that presented at this meeting.   I can skim this to find new people from whom to learn.  I can follow them and then, as I have time, check their Twitter feeds for updates on what they're doing.   If I don't find myself learning from these new follows, I just unfollow and move on.

And inevitably, over months and years, I'll find people who will generously invest in teaching me and others about the work they're doing, about why they're doing it, and about how that work is recieved by their students.

This is the open web I hope we're teaching our students about --  place of innovation, generosity, value-driven discourse and always, always, something new to learn. 

Thanks for the shout out! Making those kinds of lists can certainly be repetitive, time consuming, and thankless. The only thing worse is that hundreds or thousands should try to reinvent the same wheel. 

If you appreciated that bit of trickery, you might better appreciate a more open web version of the same with respect to the following page I made of various people and publications I’m following in my various feed readers. It provides OPML feeds so others can easily import them into their feed readers as well. You can find some additional documentation about it here.

Here’s some additional reading and links for background, if you’re interested. 

Replied to a post by @bix @bix (micro.blog)
I’ve started building a list of blogs and newsletters, although currently it’s just a subset of my full list of subscriptions. I’ll add more as I decide what I’m going to continue to follow longterm. The inclusion of newsletters is why it’s not a “blogroll”.
@bix, it’s interesting to see others experimenting with these sorts of things. I hadn’t thought of adding any newsletters (and I don’t subscribe to more than one or two), but I’ve built a huge, categorized following page which includes OPML subscription links as well. 

There are some details and links to how I did it in WordPress for those who are interested: From Following Posts and Blogrolls (Following Pages) with OPML to Microsub servers and Readers.

From Following Posts and Blogrolls (Following Pages) with OPML to Microsub Servers and Readers

I’m still tinkering away at pathways for following people (and websites) on the open web (in my case within WordPress). I’m doing it with an eye toward making some of the UI and infrastructure easier in light of the current fleet of Microsub servers and readers that will enable easier social reading without the centralized reliance on services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Medium, LinkedIn, et al.

If you haven’t been following along, here are some relevant pieces for background:

Generally I’ve been adding data into my Following Page (aka blogroll on steroids) using the old WordPress Links Manager pseudo-manually. (There’s also a way to bulk import to it via OPML, using the WordPress Tools Menu or via /wp-admin/import.php?import=opml). The old Links Manager functionality in WordPress had a bookmarklet to add links to it quickly, though it currently only seems to add a minimal set–typically just the URL and the page title. Perhaps someone with stronger JavaScript skills than I possess could improve on it or integrate/leverage some of David Shanske’s Parse This work into such a bookmark to pull more data out of pages (via Microformats, Schema.org, Open Graph Protocol, or Dublin Core meta) to pre-fill the Links Manager with more metadata including page feeds, which I now understand Parse This does in the past month or so. (If more than one feed is found, they could be added in comma separated form to the “Notes” section and the user could cut/paste the appropriate one into the feed section.) Since I spent some significant time trying to find/dig up that old bookmarklet, I’ll mention that it can be found in the Restore Lost Functionality plugin (along with many other goodies) and a related version also exists in the Link Library plugin, though on a small test I found it only pulled in the URL.

Since it wasn’t completely intuitive to find, I’ll include the JavaScript snippet for the Links Manager bookmarklet below, though note that the URL hard coded into it is for example.com, so change that part if you’re modifying for your own use. (I haven’t tested it, but it may require the Press This plugin which replaces some of the functionality that was taken out of WordPress core in version 4.9. It will certainly require one to enable using the Links Manager either via code or via plugin.)

javascript:void(linkmanpopup=window.open('https://exanple.com/wp-admin/link-add.php?action=popup&linkurl='+escape(location.href)+'&name='+escape(document.title),'LinkManager','scrollbars=yes,width=750,height=550,left=15,top=15,status=yes,resizable=yes'));linkmanpopup.focus();window.focus();linkmanpopup.focus();

Since I’ve been digging around a bit, I’ll note that Yannick Lefebvre’s Link Library plugin seems to have a similar sort of functionality to Links Manager and adds in the ability to add a variety of additional data fields including tags, which Ton Zijlstra mentions he would like (and I wouldn’t mind either). Unfortunately I’m not seeing any OPML functionality in the plugin, so it wins at doing display (with a huge variety of settings) for a stand-alone blogroll, but it may fail at the data portability for doing the additional OPML portion we’ve been looking at. Of course I’m happy to be corrected, but I don’t see anything in the documentation or a cursory glance at the code.

In the most ideal world, I’d love to be able to use the Post Kinds Plugin to create follow posts (see my examples). This plugin is already able to generally use bookmarklet functionality to pull in a variety of meta data using the Parse This code which is also built into Post Kinds.

It would be nice if these follow posts would also copy their data into the Links Manager (to keep things DRY), so that the blogroll and the OPML files are automatically updated all at once. (Barring Post Kinds transferring the data, it would be nice to have an improved bookmarklet for pulling data into the Links Manager piece directly.)

Naturally having the ability for these OPML files be readable/usable by Jack Jamieson’s forthcoming Yarns Microsub Server for WordPress (for use with social readers) would be phenomenal. (I believe there are already one or two OPML to h-feed converters for Microsub in the wild.) All of this would be a nice end -to-end solution for quickly and easily following people (or sites) with a variety of feeds and feed types (RSS, Atom, JSONfeed, h-feed).

An additional refinement of the blogroll display portion would be to have that page display as an h-feed of h-entries each including properly marked up h-cards with appropriate microformats and discoverable RSS feeds to make it easier for other sites to find and use that data. (This may be a more IndieWeb-based method of displaying such a page compared with the OPML spec.) I’ll also note that the Links Manager uses v1 of the OPML spec and it would potentially be nice to have an update on that as well for newer discovery tools/methods like Dave Winer’s Share Your OPML Subscription list, which I’m noting seems to be down/not functioning at the moment.

Replied to My Human Readable OPML Blogroll by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (zylstra.org)
After my recent posting where I asked people which RSS feeds they read, I received several responses. One of them is Peter’s. Like me he was publishing an OPML file of his feeds already. OPML is a machine readable format that most RSS readers will be able to import, so you can subscribe to blogs I...
Ton, this is great! Though perhaps you’re reinventing the wheel a bit more than you may have needed to?

I’ll see you your blogroll and add in images and descriptions as well! https://boffosocko.com/about/following/

A while back I did something similar to what you and Peter have done, I just did it with the old built in Link Manager feature of WordPress. The primary difference is that I’ve got some meta data about what the site/feed is about in addition to an image. I left out the feed in the human readable version as it’s less likely to be used, while it’s more valuable to the computer readable version. I’ve also figured out the a URL query parameter for breaking my blogroll up by category, so that folks can copy smaller subsections of it.

Another added bonus is that I’m using Inoreader which supports OPML subscriptions so that any time I update my OPML file, my feed reader auto-updates for me without needing to manually upload the new OPML file! This means I just add the follow in one place and everything else follows without any additional work.

Here are the details for how I did most of it:

Perhaps what we really need is to give some love to that Link Manager in core to update it to OPML v2 and add in the rel attributes from XFN microformats to the links? 

When you have a moment, be sure to add your example to the OPML and blogroll pages on the IndieWeb wiki, where you may find some additional inspiration.

Thanks for experimenting to bring back the blogroll! (And thanks for sharing, there are a few of your feeds I see that I ought to be following and I also recognize those we have in common of many educators I already do follow.)

Reply to Damian Yerrick about leaving Tumblr and recommendation engines

Replied to a tweet by Damian YerrickDamian Yerrick (Twitter)
Because of the decentralized nature of the IndieWeb, it’s most likely that more centralized services in the vein of Indie Map or perhaps a Microsub client might build in this sort of recommendation engine functionality. But this doesn’t mean that all is lost! Until more sophisticated tools exist, bootstrapping on smaller individually published sorts of recommendations like follow posts or things like my Following Page (fka blogroll) with OPML support are more likely to be of interest and immediately fill the gap. Several feed readers like Feedly and Inoreader also have recommendation engines built in as well.

Of course going the direction of old school blogs and following those who comment on your own site has historically been a quick way to build a network. I’m also reminded of Colin Walker’s directory which creates a blogroll of sorts by making a list of websites that have webmentioned his own. Webrings are also an interesting possibility for topic-related community building.

Since Tumblr is unlikely to shut down immediately, those effected could easily add their personal websites to their bios to help transition their followerships to feed readers or other methods for following and reading.

Of course the important thing in the near term is to spend a moment downloading and backing up one’s content just in case.

 

👓 Some thoughts on following #IndieWeb | Greg McVerry

Read Some thoughts on following by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com)
A wonderful chat (starts here and ends here) about following occured last night that made me think about how I would like to connect and display the people I follow as I work on my follow page.  Huge h/t to Eddie for capturing it on the wiki. Tantek noted that a focus on following people and not fe...

Reply to Brad Enslen about The Future of Blog Snoop

Replied to Memo: Announcement: The Future of Blog Snoop Blog Directory by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
I’m hitting a fork in the road with this site and the experiment of using a blog as a directory of blogs.  The problem here is me: I’m running out of time.  I’m duplicating a lot … Source: Announcement: The Future of Blog Snoop – Blog Snoop Weblog Directory We’ll see what happens.  It...
Brad, much like Kicks Condor, I think you’re making a laudable effort, and one of the ways our work grows is to both keep up with it and experiment around.

If I recall, programming wasn’t necessarily your strong suit, but like many in the IndieWeb will say: “Manual until it hurts!” By doing things manually, you’ll more easily figure out what might work and what might not, and then when you’ve found the thing that does, then you spend some time programming it to automate the whole thing to make it easier. It’s quite similar to designing a college campus: let the students walk around naturally for a bit then pave the natural walkways that they’ve created. This means you won’t have both the nicely grided and unused sidewalks in addition to the ugly grass-less beaten paths. It’s also the broader generalization of paving the cow paths.

In addition to my Following page I’ve also been doing some experimenting with following posts using the Post Kinds Plugin. It is definitely a lot more manual than I’d like it to be. It does help to have made a bookmarklet to more quickly create follow posts, but until I’ve got it to a place that I really want it, it’s not (yet) worth automating taking the data from those follow posts to dump them into my Follow page for output there as well. Of course the fact that my follow posts have h-entry and h-feed mark up means that someone might also decide to build a parser that will extract my posts into a feed which could then be plugged into something else like a microsub-based reader so that I could make a follow post on my own site and the source is automatically added to my subscription list in my reader automatically.

In addition to Kicks Condor, I’me seeing others start to kick the tires of these things as well. David Shanske recently wrote Brainstorming on Implementing Vouch, Following, and Blogrolls, but I think he’s got a lot more going on in his thinking than he’s indicated in his post which barely scratches the surface.

I also still often think back to a post from Dave Winer in 2016: Are you ready to share your OPML? This too has some experimental discovery features that only scratch the surface of the adjacent possible.

And of course just yesterday, Kevin Marks (previously of Technorati) reminded us about rel=”directory” which could have some interesting implications for discovery and following. Think for a bit of how one might build a decentralized Technorati or something along the lines of Ryan Barrett’s indie map.

As things continue to grow, I’m seeing some of all of our decisions and experiments begin to effect others as these are all functionality and discovery mechanisms that we’ll all need in the very near future. I hope you’ll continue to experiment and make cow paths that can eventually be paved.

Featured Image: Cows on the path flickr photo by Reading Tom shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

👓 Podcasts I am Listening To | gRegorLove.com

Read Podcasts I am Listening To by gRegor MorrillgRegor Morrill (gregorlove.com)
This is one of those posts I have wanted to write but kept forgetting to. I was reminded again while chatting with Marty, and when I asked him what podcasts he recommended, he went and wrote a whole post. So it's time I finally wrote mine. I'll try to break mine down into categories, too. Well-known...

OPML files for categories within WordPress’s Links Manager

Last week I wrote about creating my following page and a related OPML file which one could put into a feed reader to subscribe to the list itself instead of importing it. I haven’t heard anyone mention it (yet), but I suspect that like I, some may be disappointed that some feed readers that allow OPML subscriptions don’t always respect the categorizations within the file and instead lump all of the feeds into one massive list. Fortunately there’s a quick remedy!

WordPress in its wisdom used a somewhat self-documenting API that allows one to create standalone OPML files by category. Thus if you only want to subscribe to just the feeds categorized as IndieWeb related in my OPML file, you can append the category id to the end of the URL to filter the others out.

The main OPML file: http://boffosocko.com/wp-links-opml.php
The IndieWeb only file: http://boffosocko.com/wp-links-opml.php?link_cat=1521

So in general, for WordPress sites one can append ?link_cat=[category id] (with or with out the brackets) to the main URL for the OPML file typically found at http://www.example.com/wp-links-opml.php.

I was going to post about this later this week after running across it this weekend, but by odd serendipity, while I was subscribing to Henrik Carlsson’s site I noticed that he posted a note about this very same thing recently! Thanks for the unintended nudge Henrik!

For quick reference, below are links to the specific OPML files for the following categories within my larger OPML file for those who’d like to subscribe to subsections: