Yesterday I learned about the IndieNews, which describes itself as:
IndieNews is a community-curated list of articles relevant to the Indie Web.
Just wait until you discover https://indieweb.xyz/en which has multiple topics, and thus a bit more like HackerNews or Lobste.rs instead of the single topic IndieNews, which–don’t get me wrong–is totally awesome too.
So, as a result of the work Chris has been doing in Wordpress, making it easier to post to Indieweb.xyz, I’ve started “rolling up” all the posts by each user on the home page. I’m just trying this to see how it feels. I’m going to try quite a lot of things over the next few months. Let me know what works for you.
David Shanske has recently updated the Syndication Links plugin for WordPress that now allows users to add custom syndication endpoints to their websites so they can actually syndicate their content to external sites.
In particular, this now includes syndication endpoints like IndieWeb News and indieweb.xyz subs. Configuring the plugin with a syndication name, UID, and the appropriate URL will create additional endpoint checkboxes in the “Syndicate To” metabox. (The UID is simply a unique identifier that the plugin uses in conjunction with Micropub clients, and the URL is the appropriate full URL to the appropriate syndication target.)
If one wishes to test syndication out, I might suggest using the test endpoint provided by indieweb.xyz. The appropriate entries in the custom provider section at /wp-admin/admin.php?page=syndication_links would be:
Name: xyz hottubs
For convenience, the settings page also allows the user to disable (via checkbox) endpoints they don’t use or don’t want to appear in their administrative meta boxes.
Use with Micropub Clients
The update to the Syndication Links plugin also means that Micropub clients with appropriate support (like Quill, for example) will know about which syndication endpoints your site supports and will be able to include them in its checkbox list for auto-syndicating via Micropub.
Naturally, people using these methods should be very careful about how they’re using them so that they aren’t abusing or spamming these channels. Those abusing these channels will certainly find their sites blocked from posting. Keep in mind that some of the syndication endpoints shown here are examples and that other endpoints exist or can be created on sites like indieweb.xyz.
Bridgy for WordPress
I’ll also note in passing that the syndication functionality to Twitter, Flickr, and GitHub that the Bridgy for WordPress Plugin provides is now also available within the Syndication Links plugin, so those who already have Brid.gy set up with their websites can easily and safely deactivate and uninstall that plugin. Doing this will prevent the duplication of meta boxes in one’s admin UI. Given the migration of some of its functionality, it is certainly possible in the future that this plugin may be deprecated or the Brid.gy set up portion of its functionality may be merged into another plugin like the IndieWeb plugin.
Contribute to pfefferle/wordpress-indienews development by creating an account on GitHub.
Some who come across the plugin who are relatively IndieWeb-aware don’t know how to use the plugin:
eg: https://islandinthenet.com/saturday-16-february-2019-1017am/ which has resulted in some unintended spam in the IndieNews feed.
What exactly are the triggers for syndicating to IndieWeb News and Indieweb.xyz? Is it just having a tag indienews, indieweb, or even indie* where * is a wildcard? Are there others I may be missing?
Can one target other subs within indieweb.xyz (examples: /en/longreads or /en/games/) or just the /language/indieweb/ sub with the plugin? How is differentiating them done from the user’s perspective? I do see a reference to the /hottubs/ sub in the code, but I’m not following all the logic there.
I suspect it would also be nice to have some details about the dashboard widget and news feeds as well as listing a requirement for the Webmention plugin which some might not know about.
I’m happy to modify the readme’s with better instructions if I can be a bit more clear on some of what the code is doing with regard to the above.
I have just installed the IndieNews plugin but … I don’t understand how to use it.
Syndicating Your Posts
The IndieNews plugin allows you to automatically syndicate your posts to the IndieNews and IndieWeb.xyz sites using webmention. You’ll notice on your posts that in your tags, in addition to the indieweb tag you’ve added, the plugin has automatically added additional tags which include #indienews and /en/indieweb which–instead of being wrapped with links to those tags on your website–are wrapped with links pointing to those websites along with the appropriate syndication markup. As a result, when you publish your posts and send webmentions, both of those services are posting to those services on your behalf.
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.
Ok, Indieweb.xyz has been open for a month! The point of the site is to give you a place to syndicate your essays and conversations where they’ll actually be seen.
In a way, it’s a silo—a central info container. Silos make it easy. You go there and dump stuff in. But, here in the Indieweb, we want No Central. We want Decentral. Which is more difficult because all these little sites and blogs out there have to work together—that’s tough!
Ok so, going to back to how this works: Brad Enslen and I have been posting our thoughts about how to innovate blog directories, search and webrings to the /en/linking sub on Indieweb.xyz. If you want to join the conversation, just send your posts there by including a link like this in your post:
If your blog supports Webmentions, then Indieweb.xyz should be notified of the post when you publish it. But even if your blog doesn’t support Webmentions, you can just submit your link by hand. How Indie Do I Need to Be?
One of my big projects lately has been to make it very easy for you all out there to participate. You no longer need a ton of what they call ‘microformats’ everywhere on your blog.
You literally just need to: Include the link above in your blog post. (You don’t even need the class="u-syndication" part, but I would still recommend it. If you have multiple links to Indieweb.xyz in your post, the one marked u-syndication will be preferred.) Send the Webmention.
It helps if you have the microformats—this makes it easy to figure out who the author of the post is and so on. But Indieweb.xyz will now fallback to using HTML title tags (and RSS feed even) to figure out who is posting and what they are posting. The Blog Directory
A feature I’m incredibly excited about is the blog directory, which lists all the blogs that post to Indieweb.xyz—and which also gives you a few hundred characters to describe your blog! (It uses the description meta tag from your blog’s home page.)
I think of Indieweb.xyz as an experiment in building a decentralized forum in which everyone contributes their bits. And Indieweb.xyz merges them together. It’s decentralized because you can easily switch all your Indieweb.xyz links to another site, send your Webmentions—and now THAT site will merge you into their community.
In a way, I’m starting to see it as a wiki where each person’s changes happen on their own blog. This blog directory is like a wiki page where everyone gets their little section to control. I’m going to expand this idea bit-by-bit over the next few months.
Just to clarify: the directory is updated whenever you send a Webmention, so if you change your blog description, resend one of your Webmentions to update it. Bad Behavior and the Robot Police
We are a long way off from solving abuse on our websites. We desperately want technology to solve this. But it is a human problem. I am starting to believe that the more we solve a problem with technology, the more human problems we create. (This has been generally true of pollution, human rights, ecology, quality of life, almost every human problem. There are, of course, fortuitous exceptions to this.)
Decentralization is somewhat fortuitous. Smaller, isolated communities are less of a target. The World Trade Tower is a large, appealing target. But Sandy Hook still happens. A smaller community can survive longer, but it will still degenerate—small communities often become hostile to outsiders (a.k.a newcomers).
So while a given Mastodon instance’s code of conduct provides a human solution—sudden, effortless removal of a terrorist—there will be false positives. I have been kicked out, hellbanned, ignored in communities many times—this isn’t an appeal for self-pity, just a note that moderation powers are often misdirected. I moved on to other communities—but I earnestly wanted to participate in some of those communities that I couldn’t seem to penetrate.
So, yeah: rules will be coming together. It’s all we have. I’m impressed that the Hacker News community has held together for so long, but maybe it’s too much of a monoculture. HN’s guidelines seem to work. Commenting
Last thing. A recent addition is a comment count on each submission. These comment counts are scraped from the blog post. It seems very “indieweb” to let the comments stay on the blog. The problem is that the microformats for comments are not widely supported and, well, they suck. It’s all just too complicated. You slightly change an HTML template and everything breaks.
Not to mention that I have no idea if the number is actually correct. Are these legit comments? Or is the number being spoofed?
I will also add that—if you submit a link to someone else’s blog, even if it’s an “indieweb” blog—the comment count will come from your blog. This is because the original entry might have been submitted by the author to a different sub. So your link contains the comments about that blog post for that sub.
Really tight microformat templates will need to become widespread for this to become really useful. In the meantime, it’s a curious little feature that I’m happy to spend a few characters on.
I really should be syndicating to Indieweb.xyz more. It’s the type of interesting experiment I’m really enjoying watching unfold.
The researcher’s post can webmention an aggregating website similar to the way they would pre-print their research on a server like arXiv.org. The aggregating website can then parse the original and display the title, author(s), publication date, revision date(s), abstract, and even the full paper itself. This aggregator can act as a subscription hub (with WebSub technology) to which other researchers can use to find, discover, and read the original research.
Readers of the original research can then write about, highlight, annotate, and even reply to it on their own websites to effectuate peer-review which then gets sent to the original by way of Webmention technology as well. The work of the peer-reviewers stands in the public as potential work which could be used for possible evaluation for promotion and tenure.
Readers of original research can post metadata relating to it on their own website including bookmarks, reads, likes, replies, annotations, etc. and send webmentions not only to the original but to the aggregation sites which could aggregate these responses which could also be given point values based on interaction/engagement levels (i.e. bookmarking something as “want to read” is 1 point where as indicating one has read something is 2 points, or that one has replied to something is 4 points and other publications which officially cite it provide 5 points. Such a scoring system could be used to provide a better citation measure of the overall value of of a research article in a networked world. In general, Webmention could be used to provide a two way audit-able trail for citations in general and the citation trail can be used in combination with something like the Vouch protocol to prevent gaming the system with spam.
Government institutions (like Library of Congress), universities, academic institutions, libraries, and non-profits (like the Internet Archive) can also create and maintain an archival copy of digital and/or printed copies of research for future generations. This would be necessary to guard against the death of researchers and their sites disappearing from the internet so as to provide better longevity.
I think the idea behind Blog Snoop is solid—I mean you’re just talking about trying to define the edges of a certain community. I’m sufficiently convinced now (between Reddit wikis and ‘awesome lists’) that directories still serve this purpose. Find The Others.
I guess part of the problem ...