Syndicating my IndieWeb Wiki edits to my personal website

I don’t have a specific “Edit” post kind on my website (yet!), but I’ve set things up–using a prior recipe–so that edits I make to the IndieWeb wiki are syndicated (via PESOS) to the Micropub endpoint on my website to create draft posts on my personal website!

Presently they were easiest to map to my website as bookmarks until I can create the UI to indicate edits, but changing the UI piece, and retroactively modifying some data for posts, should be fairly simple and straightforward for me.

I’m not sure I’ll keep the entire diff content in the future, but may just keep the direct text added depending on the edit and the potential context. We’ll play around and see what comes of it. It’s reasonably sure that I may not post everything publicly either, but keep it as either a draft or private post on my website. In some cases, I may just add the edit syndication link on an original bookmark, read, watch, or other post type, a pattern which I’ve done in the past for articles I’ve read/bookmarked in the past and simply syndicated manually to the wiki.

I’ll also need to tinker with how to save edits I make directly in the chat channels via Loqi, though I think that is straightforward as well, now that the “easy” part has been done.

I only wish I had thought to do this before I made the thousands of edits to the wiki earlier this week. Both IndieWebCamp West 2020 and the edits for part of organizing that were the inspiration for finally getting around to doing this.

This isn’t as slick as the process Angelo Gladding recently did a demo of and is doing to syndicate his edits to the wiki from his website using a POSSE syndication workflow, but I’ll guarantee my method was way less work!

Also, since my edits to the wiki are made as CC0 contributions, the POSSE/PESOS flow doesn’t make as much difference to me as it might on other social silos.

I don’t edit Wikipedia incredibly often, but perhaps I set that functionality up shortly too.

Here’s the first example (public) post: https://boffosocko.com/2020/06/30/55772818/

I’ll get around to fixing the remainder of the presentation and UI shortly, but it’s not a horrific first pass. It’s at least allowing me to own copies of the data I’m putting out on the Internet.

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 RSS Everywhere, Blogging as Social Media, and More by Cheri BakerCheri Baker (Cheri Baker)
Today’s post is about blog tinkering. Some people tinker with their cars. Others customize their home automation systems or fiddle with the designs of their flower beds. As an urbanite I don’t have…
This is awesome Cherie! I love having the ability to pick and choose exactly what content I get from people’s websites like this. Few know that it’s even a possibility.

I did some explorations a while back because a few people complained when I went from posting to my site a few times a month to posting sometimes 20-60 times a day for every tiny little thing. 

Aside: I just looked and my site is putting out almost 10,000 posts a year, so maybe I need something more severe sounding than firehose? :O

You may have run across it in some of your research, but I’ve written a few tidbits that might help you refine some bits as you tinker. I’ll look forward to seeing what else your site does that mine can copy as well.

One thing I’ve been wanting to do as well is to provide some SubToMe buttons to help make it easier for people to subscribe to feeds from my site on my subscribe page. Perhaps that’s better than the page of crazy code people get when they click on RSS feed pages, especially if they don’t know what to do with those links?

One day I’d love to create a dashboard of all the feeds my site offers as checkboxes or something to let people create their own custom feeds using and/or/not operators using WordPress’ built in feed URLs, but it seems like an awfully big project.

Since you’re on micro.blog as well, I’ll mention that the concatenation of feeds using the Post Kinds plugins also allows me more direct control of what I pipe into micro.blog. I’m currently using the following feed in my account settings to post to m.b.:

https://boffosocko.com/kind/article,note,photo,read,watch,listen,bookmark,favorite/feed/

For your reply tests, feel free to use this post as a test ground if you like. For sites that support Webmention, you should be able to reply to my post directly from the webmention/comment in the comments section of your original post. But you could also try to create a completely new post that is a reply to this one as well. Both should work.

If you use Twitter along with Brid.gy I’ve also found an interesting “secret” there for creating nested threading: 

https://boffosocko.com/2018/07/02/threaded-conversations-between-wordpress-and-twitter/

Replied to a tweet by Sara SoueidanSara Soueidan (Twitter)
RSS is such a great topic. I can’t wait to see what your perspective is on it.

One of my favorite resources is the IndieWeb wiki page for RSS as it’s got some good pros/cons, alternate methods for feeds that don’t require side files, conversion tools, and miscellanea.

I’ve always loved the way that platforms like WordPress provide RSS feeds for so many moving parts including authors, comments, dates, tags, categories and various combinations of these. This is a bit reminiscent of Huffduffer, a bookmarking site for audio and podcasts, that provides RSS feeds for almost every portion of its website.

XSL for creating human-readable OPML & RSS feeds is an interesting quirk I’ve seen a few times in the wild with interesting results and design opportunities.

Of course you can’t get away with writing an article without referencing http://isrssdead.com/. The favicon on the site, which ironically doesn’t have an RSS feed, leads me to believe that it’s owned by Dave Winer, the creator of RSS. It seems like it is giving a nod to http://isabevigodadead.com/, but given the site owner, I don’t think it will ever indicate “yes”.

One of my favorite RSS tangential topics is OPML and OPML subscription. There’s nothing more fun that auto-updating subscriptions of bundled RSS feeds.

An interesting, underreported, and discussed phenomena I’ve noticed over the last few years for many websites that do have RSS is that they’ll change CMSes and redirect all their URLs properly for SEO purposes, but they completely neglect to redirect their RSS/Atom/other feeds and thereby lose all their subscribers or force them to manually fix broken feeds. It’s the sad equivalent of creating a new Twitter account and then trying to regain all of one’s followers one at a time–and a simple thing to fix.

Not sure how much interest it is overall, but I’ve got an RSS feed of RSS related tags on my site which has at least a few interesting tidbits, as well as off-label and non-standard use cases.

I’m watching your RSS feed for your take.

Replied to Making RSS more visible again with a /feeds page by Marcus HerrmannMarcus Herrmann (marcus.io)
A few years ago you could easily tell if a page offered an RSS feed. Browsers (at least good ones) had a feed symbol close to their location bar, and if you were really lucky (or used a really good browser), that indicator was even a button, empowering you to subscribe to a website with only one cli...
The overall idea to make it easier to subscribe to a personal website is certainly a laudable one.

Sadly the general concept presented here, while it sounds potentially useful, is far too little and misdirected. Hopefully better potential solutions are still not too late.

First, let’s step back a moment. The bigger problem with feeds was that website designers and developers spent far too long in the format wars between RSS and Atom while the social media giants focused on cleaner and easier UI. This allowed the social silos to dramatically close the gap in functionality and usability. While website owners were spending time on formats and writing long articles about what RSS was, how it worked, and how to use it, the public lost interest. We need something really dramatic to regain this ground and /feeds just is not going to cut it.

The first problem I see with this is that on it’s face /feeds both looks and sounds like code. No user really wants to interact with code if they don’t have to. Why not simply have a page or button called something much more user friendly like “subscribe” or “follow”? Almost every major social silo has a common pattern like this and has a simple “follow” button on every user’s page. A quick click and one is done with the transaction!

Instead the solution offered here is to have not only yet-another-page but one that needs to be maintained. (As good as the /now idea may seem, the fact that it needs to be regularly and manually updated makes it a failure out of the gate. I’ll bet that less than half the /now pages out there have been updated in the last 6 months. I know mine hasn’t.) Worse, suppose I click over to a /feeds page, as an average person I’m still stuck with the additional burden of knowing or learning about what a feed reader is, why I’d need or want one, and then knowing what RSS is and how I might use that. I might see a one click option for Twitter or Mastodon, but then I’m a mile away from your website and unlikely to see you again in the noise of my Twitter feed which has many other lurking problems.

One of the best solutions I’ve seen in the past few years is that posited by SubToMe.com  which provides a single, customizable, and universal follow button. One click and it automatically finds the feeds hidden in the page’s code and presents me with one or more options for following it in a feed reader. Once I’ve chosen a reader, it remembers my choice and makes the following pattern easier in future transactions. This is a far superior option over /feeds because it takes away a huge amount of cognitive burden for the user. As a developer, I’ve got a browser bookmarklet that provides this functionality for sites that don’t provide it for me. How nice would it be if browsers went back and offered such a one button collection mechanism?

Want to give this a try? I’ve got a “Follow Me” button in the side bar of my website. And if that doesn’t float your boat, I’ve tinkered with other methods of subscribing to my content that you can find at my subscribe page. Some developers might not be too scared of what’s on my subscribe page (a /feed page by a slightly friendlier name), but less technically minded people are sure to have a dramatically different perspective.

The other piece here that I might take umbrage with is the offering to provide feeds to subscriptions to alternate services like Twitter and Mastodon. (This doesn’t take into any account that RSS feeds of social services are positively atrocious, not to mention that attempting to access Marcus’ Twitter feed in RSS Box returns the interminable error message: “There was a problem talking to Twitter. Please try again in a moment.”) 

Ideally I see a future in which every person has the ability to own both their own domain name and their content in a simple manner. If this happens and it’s easier to subscribe to the sites of my friends, then I don’t need corporate social media to intermediate the transactions on my behalf. I also don’t need them to intermediate what I’m actually seeing with their blackbox algorithmic feeds either.  Friends, family, and colleagues could simply come to my website and subscribe to all or portions of my content in which they’re interested. While I still presently syndicate some of my content to silos like Twitter and Mastodon for the ease of friends or family who don’t know about the technical side of potential solutions, I post everything on my website first where one can subscribe in a feed reader or by email. Subscriptions in Twitter or Mastodon, while nice to have, are just a poor simulacrum of the real things being served by my site in better ways with more context and a design that better reflects what I’d like to portray online. A /feed page is going to be a failure from the start if you’re going to cede all the subsequent power directly to Twitter, Mastodon, and others anyway.

While I like the volume of the reactions to the post (indicating that there’s not only a readership, but a desire for this sort of functionality), I’m disheartened that so many designers and developers think that the idea of /feeds is “enough” to stem the tide.

For those who might be truly interested in designing our way out of this problem, I’d recommend looking at some of the design and development work of the IndieWeb community which is trying (slowly, but surely) to improve these sorts of technical hurdles. Their wiki has large number of examples of things that do and don’t work, discussion of where problems lie, and a community conversing about how to potentially make them better through actual examples of things that are currently working on peoples’ websites.

A good example of this is the increasing improvement of social readers that allow one to subscribe to a variety of sources in a reader which also allows one to respond to posts in-line and then own that content on one’s website. If I can subscribe to almost anything out there in one interface and sort and filter it in any way I’d like, that’s far better than having twenty different feed readers named Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Soundcloud, etc. which I have to separately and independent manage and check. Now I’ve yet to see an IndieWeb reader with a one click SubToMe-type of solution for adding feeds to it, but I don’t think it will be very long before that’s a reality. The slowly improving Microsub spec that splits some of the heavy lifting needed to build and design a stand alone feed reader is certainly helping to make some massive headway on these issues.

Maybe we’ll soon have an easy way for people to post who they’re following on their own websites, and their readers will be able to read or parse those pages and aggregate those followed posts directly into a nice reading interface? Maybe someone will figure out a way to redesign or re-imagine the old blogroll? Maybe we’ll leverage the idea of OPML subscriptions so that a personal blogroll (maybe we rename this something friendlier like a following page or personal recommendations, subscriptions, etc.) can feed a person’s subscriptions into their social reader? There are certainly a lot of solid ideas being experimented on and in actual use out there. 

We obviously still have a long way to go to make things better and more usable, not only for ourselves as designers and developers, but for the coding averse. I feel like there’s already a flourishing space out there doing this that’s miles ahead of solutions like /feeds. Why don’t we start at that point and then move forward?

Read How to style RSS feed by Hsiaoming YangHsiaoming Yang (Just lepture)
Let's create a beautiful RSS feed UI for human before its dead in next year again.
This seems like quite a clever way of adding some human readable styling to RSS feeds. While it seems like yet another side-file, it could be a useful one. I think if I were implementing it I’d also want to include a SubToMe universal follow button on it as well
Replied to a thread by pkamb and Kicks Condor (Hacker News)

pkamb :

> I use it to follow people
This is something I have a real need for. Specifically, podcast hosts. I want to follow certain hosts and listen to every random show they're on.
Some hosts do keep lists of their appearances across many shows: http://hypercritical.co/about/appearances/
But that forces me to manually find the episodes and add each one to my podcast app.
I want something that aggregates appearances into a cross-podcast RSS feed that I can subscribe to in my app. Automatically subscribe to every one of their appearances.

Kicks Condor:

This is a brilliant concept. Hosts could keep a feed of their appearances, but it would be interesting for someone to make a site that tracked this sort of thing (using user-submitted links I suppose).
https://huffduffer.com/ is another good discovery/bookmarking tool for podcasts. It has RSS feeds for everything on the site including custom searches that could potentially pick up your favorite contributors. The bookmarking functionality also makes it easy for you to quickly add things you find to one or more followable feeds for the one-off guest appearances you may hear about.

Own Your Followers: Redirecting Feeds on the Web

Every four months or so I go through and tidy up many of my feeds. Invariably a dozen or so feeds die out, but I’m noticing a recurring quirk. Most of them are within my IndieWeb folder!

A lot of the changes seem to be related to people who are shifting from one shiny toy or project to another. They all seem to say something like:

Hey Mom! Look at my fancy new static site that builds in 0.001 seconds!
Can you believe what Drupal supports in the IndieWeb now? See ya! 
I’ve moved back to good ol’ WordPress. Ahhh…
Micro.blog is awesome and requires such little maintenance. I migrated… while on vacation… in the wilderness… from my cell phone!!!
Wheee!

They’re often redirecting all their old URLs to the new site, but the one URL they commonly neglect is to create a redirect for their primary RSS, Atom, JSON or other feeds to their new feed structure. This means that the feed goes dead, and I (and others) have to notice it, then revive it. For some who simply have h-feed structures on their home page things may continue apace, particularly for the Microsub readers out there, though I haven’t been using those for as long to see as many issues.

Why are you doing all that work and making your followers do the extra manual work to go back and resubscribe?! Over the past four or five years there have been fifty or more people I’ve seen do this dance (some multiple times and even a few every 4 months or so). I totally get why they do it (because why not?!) But there should be a better way of keeping track of our major URLs and redirecting them properly.

From a continuity or even business perspective, this could be an even bigger thing as sites will likely spend a lot of time building an audience and could potentially throw it all away with the flip of a switch. I’ll be the first to admit that most of these people may not have a lot of people following them via RSS or similar means, but still?! It seems like at least once a week there’s some big newspaper, magazine, or corporate site I want to follow and I have to complain about finding their feeds. Why would you want to start all over again? 

If a social media framing is easier for some, it’s the equivalent of changing your Twitter handle for your account with a hundred thousand followers to something new with no followers instead of creating a dummy account and swapping the usernames so you can have the new name, but keep all your followers.

There are also a few serial bloggers/writers who will start up a project for 3-6 months and build a following only to shut things down though they’ll keep the domain name. Why not redirect that primary domain to one of their other or newer projects and redirect those feeds as well? You’ve spent the time building an audience, why wouldn’t you want to keep it? Am I missing something fundamental here?

We often say, own your online identity, own your domain, and own your data. Perhaps we need to remember to also “own” our friends, family, followers, our community, or more broadly our audience?

Until then, I’m still flailing away out here. Manually changing your feeds in my reader…

Read Public media found its answer to Spotify in Pocket Casts (The Verge)
More investment in the podcasting open ecosystem

Pocket Casts is instead committed to podcasting’s open ecosystem of freely available RSS feeds, CEO Owen Grover says.

I wish their app allowed one to actually use the podcast’s native URL(s) when sharing instead of providing a pca.st shortened URL.

Annotated on March 02, 2020 at 12:21PM

Read Identifying Post Kinds in WordPress RSS Feeds by Dan Q (danq.me)
I use the Post Kinds plugin to streamline the management of the different types of posts I make on my blog, based on the IndieWeb post types list: articles, like this one, are “conventional” blog posts, but I also publish notes (which are analogous to “tweets”), reposts (“shares” of things I’ve found online, sometimes with commentary), checkins (mostly chronicling my geocaching/geohashing), and others: I’ve extended Post Kinds to facilitate comics and reviews, for example.
I’m sort of hoping that feed readers will improve with respect to titleless posts and make hacks like this one unnecessary. Though it could be an interesting tidbit until then.