Reply to Tony Zijlstra on Mapping the IndieWeb

Replied to Mapping the IndieWeb a Webmention at a Time by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (Interdependent Thoughts)

When I link to another blog or site that has enabled webmention, my server log should record that it received a 20* response when trying to reach a webmention end point.

Assuming this is indeed in my server log, then it should be possible to have a script that pulls the successful webmentions from the server log. From that a growing list of IndieWeb sites can grow. Especially if you’d share that list, and others do too, so you can compare and detect new additions to the list. An incremental way of mapping the IndieWeb. Might even become a new, indie Technorati of sorts. At the very least it’s a discovery vehicle to find others interested in the distributed web and outside the silos and media sites.

Or does something like that already exist?

I like this idea…

Somewhat in the same vein, Colin Walker has built a Webmention Directory on his site that lists all the people (selectively) who have mentioned him in the past. It’s not too different from the purpose of a blogroll.

Similarly Ryan Barrett has built the IndieMap which has a much larger data sample behind it. He unveiled it almost a year ago at IndieWeb Summit 2017.

Maybe we could get the old Technorati alumni in IndieWeb to build something out of this?

❤️ benwerd tweet

Liked a tweet by Ben WerdmullerBen Werdmuller (Twitter)
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A reply to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Why Not Blog?

Replied to Why Not Blog? by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)

My friend Alan Jacobs, a key inspiration in my return (such as it is, so far) to blogging and RSS and a generally pre-Twitter/Facebook outlook on the scholarly internet, is pondering the relationship between blogging and other forms of academic writing in thinking about his next project. Perhaps needless to say, this is something I’m considering as well, and I’m right there with him in most regards.

But there are a few spots where I’m not, entirely, and I’m not sure whether it’s a different perspective or a different set of experiences, or perhaps the latter having led to the former.

I really like where you’re coming from on so many fronts here (and on your site in general). Thanks for such a great post on a Friday afternoon. A lot of what you’re saying echos the ideas of many old school bloggers who use their blogs as “thought spaces“. They write, take comments, iterate, hone, and eventually come up with stronger thoughts and theses. Because of the place in which they’re writing, the ideas slowly percolate and grow over a continuum of time rather than spring full-formed seemingly from the head of Zeus the way many books would typically appear to the untrained eye. I’ve not quite seen a finely coalesced version of this idea though I’ve seen many dance around it obliquely. The most common name I’ve seen is that of a “thought space” or sometimes the phrase “thinking out loud”, which I notice you’ve done at least once. In some sense, due to its public nature, it seems like an ever-evolving conversation in a public commons. Your broader idea and blogging experience really make a natural progression for using a website to slowly brew a book.

My favorite incarnation of the idea is that blogs or personal websites are a digital and public shared commonplace book. Commonplaces go back to the 15th century and even certainly earlier, but I like to think of websites as very tech-forward versions of the commonplaces kept by our forebears.

I’ve seen a few educators like Aaron Davis and Ian O’Byrne take to the concept of a commonplace, though both have primary websites for writing and broader synthesis and secondary sites for collecting and annotating the web. I tend to aggregate everything (though not always published publicly) on my primary site after having spent some time trying not to inundate email subscribers as you’ve done.

There’s also a growing movement, primarily in higher education, known as A Domain of One’s Own or in shortened versions as either “Domains” or even #DoOO which is a digital take on the Virgina Woolf quote “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days.”

There are a growing number of educators, researchers, and technologists reshaping how the web is used which makes keeping an online commonplace much easier. In particular, we’re all chasing a lot of what you’re after as well:

Part of what I’m after is consolidating my presence online as much as possible, especially onto platforms that I can control.

To me, this sounds like one of the major pillars of the IndieWeb movement which is taking control of the web back from corporate social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et. al. Through odd serendipity, I came across your micro.blog account this morning which led me to your website. A lot of the underpinnings of micro.blog are informed by the IndieWeb movement. In many subtle ways, I might suspect the two had a lot of influence on your particular choice of WordPress theme.

Tonight I’ve also seen your reply to Dan Cohen’s question:

I had previously replied to Dan’s original question, but somehow missed your side thread at the time. I suspect you didn’t see our branch of the conversation either.

Interestingly, your presumption that the replies/notifications stay within their own domains isn’t necessarily fait accompli, at least not any more. There’s a new web specification in the past few years called Webmention that allows notifications and replies to cross website boundaries unlike Twitter @mentions which are permanently stuck within Twitter. Interestingly, because of the way you’ve set up your WordPress website to dovetail with micro.blog you’re almost 90 percent of the way to supporting it easily. If you add and slightly configure the Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks plugins, the asides and other content you’re syndicating into micro.blog will automatically collect the related conversation around them back to your own posts thus allowing you to have a copy of your content on your own website as well as the surrounding conversation, which is no longer as diffuse as you imagined it needed to be. Here’s an example from earlier this evening where I posted to my site and your response (and another) on micro.blog came back to me. (Sadly there’s a Gravatar glitch preventing the avatars from displaying properly, but hopefully I’ll solve that shortly.)

This same sort of thing can be done with Twitter including native threading and @mentions, if done properly, by leveraging the free Brid.gy service to force Twitter to send your site webmentions on your behalf. (Of course this means you might need to syndicate your content to Twitter in a slightly different manner than having micro.blog do on your behalf, but there are multiple ways of doing this.)

I also notice that you’ve taken to posting copies of your tweeted versions at the top of your comments sections. There’s a related IndieWeb plugin called Syndication Links that is made specifically to keep a running list of the places to which you’ve syndicated your content. This plugin may solve a specific need for you in addition to the fact that it dovetails well with Brid.gy to make sure your posts get the appropriate comments back via webmention.

I’m happy to help walk you through setting up some of the additional IndieWeb tech for your WordPress website if you’re interested. I suspect that having the ability to use your website as a true online hub in addition to doing cross website conversations is what you’ve been dreaming about, possibly without knowing it. Pretty soon you’ll be aggregating and owning all of your digital breadcrumbs to compile at a later date into posts and eventually articles, monographs, and books.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s a growing group of us in the education/research fields that are continually experimenting and building new functionalities for online (and specifically academic) communication. I and a plethora of others would welcome you to join us on the wiki, in chat, or even at upcoming online or in-person events.

In any case, thanks for sharing your work and your thoughts with the world. I wish more academics were doing what you are doing online–we’d all be so much richer for it. I know this has been long and is a potential rabbithole you may disappear into, so thank you for the generosity of your attention.

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Reply to Flogging the Dead Horse of RSS by Dean Shareski

Replied to Flogging the Dead Horse of RSS by Dean ShareskiDean Shareski (Ideas and Thoughts)
And I think it’s true. I don’t use RSS the way I did in 2004. That said, I remember reading that blogging was dead ten years ago. And while it’s maybe not trendy, many educators have seen its value and maintained a presence. Apparently, RSS has some valid uses as well but like most everyone, I tend to use social as a place to find new and emerging ideas. But I also think using Twitter and Facebook to haphazardly find content lacks intention and depth. I also value reading a person’s blog over time to understand better their voice and context. So I’m asking for some advice on how to update my module on finding research. What replaces RSS feeds? What works for you that goes beyond “someone on Twitter/Facebook shared….” to something that is more focused and intentional?

Dean, I can completely appreciate where you’re coming from. I too am still addicted to RSS (as well as a plethora of other feed types including Atom, JSON, and h-feeds). I didn’t come across your article by feed however, but instead by Aaron Davis’ response to your post which he posted on his own website and then pinged my site with his repsonse using a web specification called Webmention. We’re both members of a growing group of researchers, educators, and others who are using our own websites to act as our social media presences and using new technologies like Webmention to send notifications from website to website to carry on conversations.

While many of us are also relying on RSS, there are a variety of new emerging technologies that are making consuming and replying to content online easier while also allowing people to own all of their associated data. In addition to my article about The Feed Reader Revolution which Aaron mentioned in his reply, Aaron Pareck has recently written about Building an IndieWeb Reader. I suspect that some of these ideas encapsulate a lot of what you’d like to see on the web.

Most of us are doing this work and experimentation under the banner known as the IndieWeb. Since you know some of the web’s prior history, you might appreciate this table that will give you some idea of what the group has been working on. In particular I suspect you may appreciate some of the resources we’re compiling for IndieWeb for Education. If it’s something you find interest in, I hope you might join in our experimentations. You can find many of us in the group’s online chat.

I would have replied in your comments section, but unfortunately through a variety of quirks Disqus marks everything I publish to it immediately as spam. Thus my commentary is invariably lost. Instead, I’m posting it to a location I do have stricter control over–my own website. I’ll send you a tweet to provide you the notification of the post. I will cross-post my reply to Disqus if you want to dig into your spam folder to unspam it for display. In the meanwhile, I’m following you and subscribing to your RSS feed.

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👓 Retroactive Webmentioning | Peter Rukavina

Read Retroactive Webmentioning by Peter RukavinaPeter Rukavina (ruk.ca)
By way of testing out my Webmention module for Drupal, I took the 256 posts I’ve written here this year, ferreted out all the external links, discovered their Webmention endpoints, and sent a Webmention. Those 256 posts contained 840 links in total; of those links, 149 were to a target that suppor...

There are some interesting/useful statistics here. There’s also an interesting kernel of an idea about how one links to one’s own website internally as well. I find this very intriguing with respect to owning a digital commonplace book. Perhaps there are some ways to modify IndieMap for extracting some useful metadata out of one’s own website?

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👓 Controlling How Webmentions are Rendered | ruk.ca

Read Controlling How Webmentions are Rendered by Peter RukavinaPeter Rukavina (ruk.ca)
Ton continues to wrap his head around Webmention, and wonders about how mentions should be displayed on the “mentioned” site: What strikes me as odd now is how little control I have over how the Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks plugins actually deal with webmention data. The stuff I’d like to...
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👓 Wrapping My Head Around Webmentions Pt 2 | Interdependent Thoughts

Read Wrapping My Head Around Webmentions Pt 2 by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (Interdependent Thoughts)
I very much appreciate how Sven Knebel extensively responded to my previous posting on some Webmention issues I came across. Some of his responses do make me have new questions. About the wrong URL, i.e. not the source of the webmention, showing up in a Webmention, Sven writes: …. There’s a href...
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👓 Digging into Webmention | Peter Rukavina

Read Digging into Webmention by Peter RukavinaPeter Rukavina (ruk.ca)
One of the points of writing on the Internet is our ability to link pages together in a web. We do this in HTML with links, like this: My friend Ton writes about Webmention. When that HTML appears here on my websi...
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👓 Wrapping My Head Around Webmentions | Ton Zijlstra

Read Wrapping My Head Around Webmentions by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (Interdependent Thoughts)
Webmentions is what makes it possible for me to write here about someone else’s blogpost and have my response show up beneath theirs. And vice versa. Earlier mechanisms such as pingback and trackback did the same thing, but slipped under the radar or succumbed to spam. Webmention is a W3C recommen...
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Reply to Ian O’Bryne on annotations

Replied to a tweet by William Ian O'ByrneWilliam Ian O'Byrne (Twitter)

Ian, thanks for putting together all of these examples. I think my preference is for option three which provides the most context and seems easiest to read and understand. I like the way you’ve incorporated the blue arrow, which makes semantic sense as well.

I’m sure I’ve seen other versions, but Jon Udell has at least one example of some annotations on his own website like yours too.

When it comes to the “conversation” side of what you’re looking for, I think the biggest piece you’re really missing and which some on the Hypothes.is side (except perhaps for Nate who may have a stronger grasp of their value after the recent IndiewWeb Summit) are apt to miss is that Hypothes.is doesn’t support sending webmentions. Presently you’re putting your data out there in a one-sided manner and Hypothes.is isn’t pushing the other side or any of the follow up back to you. As a result it’s operating as a social silo the same way that sites like Facebook and Twitter do. Based on their GitHub repository, I know that they’ve considered webmentions in the past, but apparently it got put on a back burner and hasn’t been revisited.

Ideally they’d want to have webmentions work in two places. It would be great if they could send webmentions of annotations/highlights to the original page itself, so that the site owner is aware that their content is being marked up or used in this manner. This also means that Hypothes.is could be used as a full-blown and simple commenting system as well so that those who aren’t using their own sites to write replies could use Hypothes.is as an alternative. The second thing it might want to do is to send webmentions, particularly for replies, to the original page as well as to any URLs that are mentioned in the comment thread which appears on Hypothes.is. This would mean that you’d want to add the permalink to your post back to the copy you put on Hypothes.is so that you and your website stay in the loop on the entirety of the conversation. In many senses, this is just mirroring what is going on in threaded Twitter conversations that get mirrored back to your WordPress website. [I’ll note that I think I’ve got the last of the moving pieces for this Twitter/WordPress workflow properly linked up in the past week.] Since Twitter doesn’t support webmentions itself, Brid.gy is handling that part for you, but in Hypothes.is’ case you don’t have any of the details coming back for allowing you to display the discussion on your site except by doing so manually. Doing it manually for extended conversations is going to become painful over time.

From an IndieWeb perspective, you’re primarily implementing a PESOS workflow in which you post first on Hypothes.is and then send a copy of it to your own website. Naturally it would be better if you were posting all the details on your own website and using the Hypothes.is API to syndicate your copy there for additional public conversation outside of the readership of your website. Unfortunately building the infrastructure to do this is obviously quite daunting. Since they’ve got an API, you might be able to bootstrap something webmention-like onto it, but for your purposes it would obviously be easier if they had direct webmention support.

It would also be wonderful if Hypothes.is supported the micropub specification as well. Then you could ideally log into the system as your website and any annotations you made could be automatically be published to your website for later storage, display, or other use. In some sense, this is what I’m anticipating by making  explicit standalone annotation and highlight post kinds on my website. In practice, however, like you, I’d prefer to have a read, like, or bookmark-type of post that aggregates all of my highlights, annotations, and marginalia of a particular piece for easier future use as well as the additional context this provides. I suspect that if I had the additional tag within the Hypothesis Aggregator plugin for WordPress that would let me specify the particular URL of an individual article, I would have most of the front side PESOS functionality we’re all looking for. The rest will require either webmention or a lot more work.

I may have mentioned it before, but in case you hadn’t found it I’ve got a handful of posts on annotations, many of which include some Hypothes.is functionality.

Not itemized in that list (yet?) are some experiments I’d done with the Rory Rosenzweig Center’s PressForward plugin for WordPress. It allowed me to use a simple browser bookmarklet to save a webpage’s content to my personal website with a rel=”canonical” tag for the page pointing at the original page. (Here’s a good example.) Because of the way the canonical set up works within Hypothes.is, I noticed that annotations I (and others) made on the original were also mirrored and available on my website as well. In my case, because PressForward was copying the entirety of the article for me, I used the <mark> HTML tag to make the highlights on my page, but with Hypothes.is enabled, it also shows the other public annotations as well. (Use of the title attribute adds some additional functionality when the mark tagged text is hovered over in most browsers.)

In another example, I annotated a copy of one of Audrey Watters’ articles (after she’d disabled the ability for Hypothesis to work on her site, but before she changed the Creative Commons licensing on her website). But here I added my annotations essentially as pull-quotes off to the side and syndicated copies to Hypothes.is by annotating the copy on my website. If you visit Audrey’s original, you’ll see that you cannot enable Hypothesis on it, but if you’re using the Chrome extension it will correctly indicate that there are five annotations on the page (from my alternate copy which indicates hers is the rel=”canonical”).

In any case, thanks again for your examples and documenting your explorations. I suspect as time goes by we’ll find a more IndieWeb-centric method for doing exactly what you’ve got in mind in an even easier fashion. Often doing things manually for a while will help you better define what you want and that will also make automating it later a lot easier.

 

 

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Threaded conversations between WordPress and Twitter

I’ve written about threading comments from one WordPress website to another before. I’ve long suspected this type of thing could be done with Twitter, but never really bothered with it or necessarily needed to do it, though I’ve often seen cases where others might have wanted to do this.

For a post today, I wrote on my own site and syndicated it to Twitter and got a reply back via webmention through Brid.gy. This process happens for me almost every day, and this all by itself feels magical.  The real magic however, and I don’t think I’ve done this before or seen it done, was that I replied to the backfed comment on my site inline and manually syndicated to Twitter using a permalink of the form http://www.example.com/standard-permalink-structure/?replytocom=57527#respond, where 57527 is the particular comment ID for my inline comment. (This comment ID can typically be found by hovering over the “Reply” or “Comment” button on one’s WordPress website in most browsers.)

Where to find the comment ID to provide the proper permalink to get properly nested comments backfed to your site.

When a reply to my second syndicated Twitter post came in, Brid.gy properly sent it as a comment to my comment AND nested it properly!

I’ve now got a nested copy of the conversation on my site that is identical to the one on Twitter.

I suspect that by carefully choosing the URL structure you syndicate to Twitter, you’ll allow yourself more control over how backfed comments from Brid.gy nest (or don’t) in your response section on your site.

Perhaps even more powerfully, non-WordPress-based websites could also use these permalinks structures for composing their replies to WordPress sites to have their replies nest properly too. I think I’ve seen Aaron Parecki do this in the wild.

Since the WordPress Webmention plugin now includes functionality for sending webmentions directly from the comments section, I’ll have to double check that the microformats on my comments are properly marked up to  see if I can start leveraging Brid.gy publish functionality to send threaded replies to Twitter automatically. Or perhaps work on something that will allow automatic replies via Twitter API. Hmmm…

Despite the fact that this could all be a bit more automated, the fact that one can easily do threaded replies between WordPress and Twitter makes me quite happy.

Thread onward!

For more on my IndieWeb explorations with Twitter, see my IndieWeb Research page.

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🔖 dshanske/wordpress-refback: Refbacks for WordPress (Experimental)

Bookmarked Refbacks for WordPress (Experimental) by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (GitHub)
Refback is a linkback method that works using the standard HTTP Referer header. Like pingbacks, trackbacks, and webmentions, it attempts to present links of other sites that have linked to you. Unlike other methods, the other site requires no additional support. The implementation works exactly as the other linkbacks do in WordPress.
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I’ve had refbacks on the brain for the past couple of months after having read Why Refback Still Matters, so I figured since I’ve already got the pingbacks, trackbacks, and webmentions enabled, what’s one more way to communicate with my website from the outside? So as of this evening, just for fun, I’m now accepting refbacks too.

Besides earlier this week I joined my first webring in over a decade as well. It can’t be any more embarrassing to support old web tech can it? #everythingoldisnewagain

 

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I’ve come across many journals (and particularly many talking about Altmetrics1,2) that are supporting the old refback infrastructure and wonder why they haven’t upgraded to implement the more feature rich webmention specification?

I’ve been thinking more lately about how to create a full stack IndieWeb infrastructure to replace the major portions of the academic journal ecosystem which would allow researchers to own their academic papers but still handle some of the discovery piece. Yesterday’s release of indieweb.xyz, which supports categories, reminds me that I’d had an idea a while back that something like IndieNews’ structure could be modified to create a syndication point that could act as an online journal/pre-print server infrastructure for discovery purposes.

A little birdie has told me that there’s about to be a refback renaissance to match the one currently happening with webrings.

References

1.
Akers KG. Introducing altmetrics to the Journal of the Medical Library Association. Journal of the Medical Library Association. http://jmla.mlanet.org/ojs/jmla/article/view/250/403. Published July 3, 2017. Accessed July 2, 2018.
2.
Roemer RC, Borchardt R. Chapter 2. Major Altmetrics Tools. ALA Tech Source. https://journals.ala.org/index.php/ltr/article/view/5746/7187. Published July 1, 2015. Accessed July 2, 2018.
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👓 Sending your First Webmention from Scratch | Aaron Parecki

Read Sending your First Webmention from Scratch by Aaron PareckiAaron Parecki (Aaron Parecki)
Webmention is one of the fundamental indieweb building blocks. It enables rich interactions between websites, like posting a comment or favorite on one site from another site. This post will walk you through the simplest way to get started sending webmentions to other sites so that you can use your ...

A stupendous article, I just wish I’d had it all those many years ago. Thanks Aaron!

One useful thing for beginners that I don’t think got mentioned (pun intended!) in the article is that for receiving websites which don’t have a built in webmention form you can use a service like http://mention-tech.appspot.com/ which will allow you to manually put in the sending site and the receiving site and it will act as a bridge to send the webmention for you.

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