Filed an Issue Introducing: Quotebacks by Tom Critchlow (
A chrome extension to quote the web
Tom, first off, this looks awesome! 

My first question is: is there a list of CSS features for styling the way quotes look on one’s site? Your defaults are pretty solid, but I’m sure folks will want to tinker. Is there a way to contribute different styles to a list of a handful that the extension could make select-able on my site?

Second, I haven’t actually been able to use the functionality at all. It took a few minutes to find the pop up window that I ignored on install to figure out the ctrl-shift-s command. Once that was sorted, I’ve got another browser extension (The Great Suspender) that uses this same key sequence which then triggers that and not Quotebacks. Perhaps having the ability to custom configure the key sequence would be useful as would the ability to click on the browser extension icon as a means of triggering the quote save (a common pattern for extensions).

I’ll also note that even after disabling the other conflicting extension and refreshing, the ctrl-shift-s still doesn’t work, but I’m not sure what the conflict or issue may be. Having a few methods for triggering save would definitely be a benefit.

Finally, in addition to some of the other discussion I’ve seen which may nudge you to support fragmentions, Google just released highlight and scroll across the web from search this past week. Like fragmention, it provides an alternate method for a link to go to a webpage, scroll to and highlight the quoted portion(s). Perhaps a nice additional feature? (I suspect that fragmention may be easier and simpler to support.)

Read Seneca on Gathering Ideas And Combinatorial Creativity (Farnam Street)
“Combinatory play,” said Einstein, “seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.” Ruminating on the necessity of both reading and writing, so as not to confine ourselves to either, Seneca in one of his Epistles, advised that we engage in Combinatorial Creativity — that is, gath...

“Combinatory play,” said Einstein, “seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.” 

excellent quote

Annotated on May 20, 2020 at 12:17AM

cull the flowers 

definitely reminiscent of the idea of floriligeum (or anthology)

Annotated on May 20, 2020 at 12:19AM

The Loeb Classic Library collection of Seneca’s Epistles in three volumes (1-65, 66-92, and 92-124), should be read by all in its entirety. Of course, if you don’t have time to read them all, you can read a heavily curated version of them. 

Annotated on May 20, 2020 at 12:21AM

Bookmarked Jazz Quotes by Matt Mullenweg (Jazz Quotes)
I think it’s a shame that there is no good, definitive collection of notable quotes by everyone’s favorite musicians. So I’ve begun collecting quotes from different books I have and from across the internet. Below you’ll see the quotes organized by musician, and the number next to each name is how many quotes I have so far for that person.
Read - Reading: Cold comfort for journalists by Bill BennettBill Bennett (Bill Bennett)
"The life of the journalist is poor, nasty, brutish and short. So is his style."
Stella Gibbons,
Cold Comfort Farm
And then there is Blaise Pascal. In 1657 he wrote:
"Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte."
I agree wholeheartedly. Though I like the way that the first quote ties the idea more directly into journalism, the pedantic in me wants to attribute the broader original sentiment to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651). Doing this also allows us to frame all of humanity which seems to be having its own sort of problems–yet again.

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”

👓 Frodo I Cant | Charlie Park

Read Frodo I Cant by Charlie ParkCharlie Park (

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.

It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered.

Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened?

But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.

But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now.

Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

👓 Salt of the earth: Tyndale’s Bible | The Economist

Read Salt of the earth: Tyndale’s Bible (Economist Espresso)
Ask who did the most to shape the English language, and most people will answer Shakespeare. But another writer of much less fame did at least as much: William Tyndale, the first to translate into English the Greek New Testament and most of the Hebrew Old Testament (a follower, Miles Coverdale, finished the work, published in 1526). That work was later a major source of the 1611 King James version. Estimates of his contribution run as high as 90% of the King James New Testament. One of the earliest Tyndale Bibles will be auctioned by Chiswick Auctions today. The estimate of £8,000-10,000 ($10,200-12,700) seems a bargain for the work that immortalised “let my people go”, “the apple of his eye” and “go the extra mile”. Not that it did Tyndale much good: to render God’s word intelligible to ordinary folk was a daring act. He was strangled and burned at the stake for it.
Spent a few minutes late this afternoon to update the CSS on my website to hide the automatic titles given to annotation and highlight posts. Also modified these slightly to give the highlighted/quoted portion of other sites a highlighter-yellow color.

An example of the yellow highlight color of highlighted/annotated posts on my website. Previously the quoted portions had been a muted grey like other posts.

Fragmentions for Better Highlighting and Direct References on the Web


Ages ago I added support on my website for fragmentions.

Wait… What is that?

Fragmention is a portmanteau word made up of fragment and mention (or even Webmention), but in more technical terms, it’s a simple way of creating a URL that not only targets a particular page on the internet, but allows you to target a specific sub-section of that page whether it’s a photo, paragraph, a few words, or even specific HTML elements like <div> or <span> on such a page. In short, it’s like a permalink to content within a web page instead of just the page itself.

A Fragmention Example

Picture of a hipster-esque looking Lego toy superimposed with the words: I'm not looking for a "hipster-web", but a new and demonstrably better web.
29/1.2014 – Larry the Barista by julochka is licensed under CC BY-NC
Feature image for the post “Co-claiming and Gathering Together – Developing Read Write Collect” by Aaron Davis. Photo also available on Flickr.

Back in December Aaron Davis had made a quote card for one of his posts that included a quote from one of my posts. While I don’t think he pinged (or webmentioned) it within his own post, I ran across it in his Twitter feed and he cross-posted it to his Flickr account where he credited where the underlying photo and quote came from along with their relevant URLs.

Fragmentions could have not only let him link to the source page of the quote, it would have let him directly target the section or the paragraph where the quote originated or–even more directly–the actual line of the quote.

Here’s the fragmention URL that would have allowed him to do that:

Go ahead and click on it (or the photo) to see the fragmention in action.

What’s happening?

Let’s compare the two URLs:

They both obviously point to the same specific page, and their beginnings are identical. The second one has a # followed by the words “I’m not looking” with some code for blank spaces and an apostrophe. Clicking on the fragmention URL will take you to the root page which then triggers a snippet of JavaScript on my site that causes the closest container with the text following the hash to be highlighted in a bright yellow color. The browser also automatically scrolls down to the location of the highlight.

Note: rather than the numbers and percent symbols, one could also frequently use the “+” to stand in for white spaces like so: This makes the URL a bit more human readable. You’ll also notice I took out the code for the apostrophe by omitting the word “I’m” and adding another word or two, but I still get the same highlight result.

This can be a very useful thing, particularly on pages with huge amounts of text. I use it quite often in my own posts to direct people to particular sub-parts of my website to better highlight the pieces I think they’ll find useful.

It can be even more useful for academics and researchers who want to highlight or even bookmark specific passages of text online. Those with experience on the platform will also notice how useful highlighting can be, but having a specific permalink structure for it goes a step further.

I will note however, that it’s been rare, if ever, that anyone besides myself has used this functionality on my site. Why? We’ll look at that in just a moment.

Extending fragmentions for easier usability.

Recently as a result of multiple conversations with Aaron Davis (on and between our websites via webmention with syndication to Twitter), I’ve been thinking more about notes, highlights, and annotations on the web. He wrote a post which discusses “Page Bookmarks” which are an interesting way of manually adding anchors on web pages to allow for targeting specific portions of web pages. This can make it easy for the user to click on links on a page to let them scroll up and down specific pages.  Sadly, these are very painful to create and use both for a site owner and even more so for the outside public which has absolutely no control over them whatsoever.

His post reminded me immediately of fragmentions. It also reminded me that there was a second bit of user interface related to fragmentions that I’d always meant to also add to my site, but somehow never got around to connecting: a “fragmentioner” to make it more obvious that you could use fragmentions on my site.

In short, how could a user know that my website even supports fragmentions? How could I make it easier for them to create a fragmention from my site to share out with others? Fortunately for me, our IndieWeb friend Kartik Prabhu had already wired up the details for his own personal website and released the code and some pointers for others who were interested in setting it up themselves. It’s freely available on Github and includes some reasonable details for installation.

So with a small bit of tweaking and one or two refinements, I got the code up and running and voilà! I now have a natural UI for highlighting things.


When a user naturally selects a portion of my page with their mouse–the way they might if they were going to cut and paste the text, a simple interface pops up with instructions to click it for a link. Kartik’s JavaScript automatically converts the highlight into the proper format and changes the page’s URL to include the appropriate fragmention URL for that snippet of the page. A cut and paste allows the reader to put that highlighted piece’s URL anywhere she likes.

text highlighted in a browser with a small chain icon and text which says "Click for link to text"
Highlighting text pulls up some simple user interface for creating a fragmention to the highlighted text.

The future

What else would be nice?

I can’t help but think that it would be fantastic if the WordPress Fragmention plugin added the UI piece for highlight and sharing text via an automatically generated link.

Perhaps in the future one could allow a highlight and click interaction not only get the link, but to get a copy of both the highlighted text and the link to the URL. I’ve seen this behavior on some very socially savvy news websites. This would certainly make a common practice of cutting and pasting content much easier to do while also cleverly including a reference link.

The tough part of this functionality is that it’s only available on websites that specifically enable it. While not too difficult, it would be far nicer to have native browser support for both fragmention creation and use.  This would mean that I don’t need to include the JavaScript on my website to do the scrolling or highlighting and I wouldn’t need any JavaScript on my site to enable the highlighting to provide the specific code for the custom URL. How nice would it be if this were an open web standard and supported by major browsers without the need for work at the website level?

Medium-like highlighting and comments suddenly become a little easier for websites to support. With some additional code, it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump to dovetail this fragmention functionality with the W3C Webmentions spec to allow inline marginalia on posts. One can create a fragmention targeting text on a website and write a reply to it. With some UI built out,  by sending a webmention to the site, it could pick up the comment and display it as a marginal note at that particular spot instead of as a traditional comment below the post where it might otherwise loose the context of being associated at the related point in the main text. In fact our friend Kartik Prabhu has done just this on his website. Here’s an example of it in his post announcing the feature.

Example of inline marginalia on Kartik Prabhu’s website “Parallel Transport”.

You’ll notice that small quotation bubbles appear at various points in the text indicating marginalia. By clicking on them, the bubble turns green and the page expands to show the comment at that location. One could easily imagine CSS that allows the marginalia to actually display in the margin of the page for wider screens.

How could you imagine using fragmentions? What would you do with them? Feel free to add your thoughts below or own your site and send me a webmention.​​​​​​​​

🎧 NaNoWriMo Superhero on Medium: Ben Werdmuller | National Novel Writing Month – Medium

Listened to NaNoWriMo Superhero on Medium: Ben Werdmuller by Julie Russell from National Novel Writing Month – Medium
Welcome to the second episode of NaNoWriMo Superheroes and Superheroines on Medium. Throughout the month of November we’ll interview people with different backgrounds, day jobs, and involvement with this annual writing event. All of our superheroes and superheroines have one thing in common — they accepted the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel first draft in the month of November.
Ben Werdmuller, gets the quote of the month as he talks about the user interface in common text editors:

Every single one of those buttons is a distraction button.