Replied to Agenda for Nov. 22nd Meeting by Todd ConawayTodd Conaway (Teaching and Learning on the Open Web)

We should make some agreements about our focus.

  • Are we continuting with various tools and sharing them on this site?
  • Should we focus more on building out our own domains and share that process?
  • Both? Other? 
  • Where shall we go?

Todd, I’ve randomly come across this post today and thought I’d toss out some additional ideas to consider if you haven’t already made up your minds.

If you’re thinking about doing something like WithKnown (aka Known, the CMS your post is on), and interested in the WordPress portion, you might consider doing a full/partial Domain of One’s Own program through Reclaim Hosting or even rolling your own. Even if you go small with just a few classes, you might consider adapting the Homebrew Website Club model at your site where you invite students to tinker around, help each other out, and then show off or demonstrate their work. The related IndieWeb wiki and online chat are free to join and can provide a wealth of information and help for students (and educators!) working at owning their own domains.

Incidentally, if you’re unaware, WordPress now has a suite of plugins that will allow it to have a lot of the site-to-site communication capabilities that Known does. I’ve not done it before, but I’m fairly certain you could run it on a multiuser installation of WordPress much the same way you’re using http://janevangalen.com/cms/.

Another interesting option would be to have students try out accounts on micro.blog which are relatively inexpensive, though I suspect if you touched base with Manton Reece and explained what you were doing, he might offer free or significantly reduced hosting for a reasonable period of time. I know he’s given away a year of free hosting to attendees of IndieWebCamps who are starting out with their own domains. If he did then you might be able to use some institutional funds to purchase domains for students to get them started.

I’m happy to spitball ideas in these areas if you’re interested. I’m glad to see others experimenting around with the ideas around DoOO and IndieWeb for Education!

By the way, good on you for opening up your planning process for teaching and learning on the open web. It certainly sets a useful example for others who are exploring and following in your footsteps.

Watched Connecting to the IndieWeb Movement by Jim GroomJim Groom from bavatuesdays

B4CoUflCUAEMNpG

Tomorrow at 12 PM Eastern/ 9 AM Pacific I’ll be be hosting a Connected Courses discussion that will explore the IndieWeb movement as a people-centered response to the corporate web. How do core IndieWeb principles such as owning your content, remaining better connected, and redefining control online intersect with the values of connected learning? Take a bit of time tomorrow and join myself, Mikhail GershovichBen WerdmullerErin Jo Richey, and Simon Thomson to find out more.

I particularly love how they all underline the humanity that should and does underlie the web. This is certainly a classic for the area of IndieWeb and education. I’m not sure how I hadn’t seen this before.

[Withknown is] the posterchild of the IndieWeb.
— Jim Groom

I’ll agree that it is pretty darn awesome!

Some slight rephrasings from Ben in the video that I thought were spot on:

IndieWeb: allowing people to connect online without caring about what platforms or services they’re using.

IndieWeb puts the learner first. The LMS, which primarily serves an administrative function, should not be the center of the process.

Liked The best way to blog in 2020 by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
I've been blogging - albeit not consistently on the same site - since 1998. That's a long time in internet years, and in human years, and over time I've conditioned out any self-editing impulse I might have. I write, hit publish, and share. Done. Because I'm fairly prolific, friends and colleagues o...

Amen Ben!

Liked a tweet by Johan BovéJohan Bové (Twitter)

Just wait until your friends start complaining when they realize that the SEO on their names and photos is ruined by your website ranking so far above their own websites and social.

Replied to a post by Johan BovéJohan Bové (Johan's Known)
Interesting experiment Chris. Too bad that the spam-bots found this site so fast. Especially for that reason I'm keeping the public comments on my own instance closed. What are you using for keeping webmentions to your site spam-free?

To my knowledge, there has yet to be an instance of spam within the broader community using Webmention. Of course, if it does become a problem there are community-based plugins like Akismet which have been very effective in the past. Others are also experimenting with building the idea of Vouch to extend Webmention as well.

cc: Chris Aldrich

Replied to a tweet by Katherine MossKatherine Moss (Twitter)

There’s no reason you can’t have multiple websites. Several of us do it for a variety of reasons:
https://indieweb.org/multi-site_indieweb

I’ve been running versions of both for many years and they each have their pros and cons. In terms of IndieWeb support they’re both very solid. Why not try them both for a bit and see which appeals to you more? Depending on your skill level and what you’re looking for in your site you may find one easier to run and maintain than another.

Personally I’ve used WithKnown (I’ve used it for multiple sites since it started) in a more “set it and forget it” mode where I just post content there and worry less about maintenance or tinkering around. On my WordPress site  I tend to do a lot more tinkering and playing around, particularly because there is a much larger number of plugins available to utilize without writing any of my own code. Lately I am kind of itching to play around with Drupal again now that it has a pretty solid looking IndieWeb module (aka plugin).

👓 Why I chose Known over WordPress | Greg McVerry

Read Why I chose Known over WordPress by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (Quick Thoughts)
Creative Growth 2013 Home show and fashion show (72) flickr photo by origamiguy1971 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license Plurality stitches a beautiful quilt of complex choices, and each person adds their own unique spin on the  #IndieWeb. As long as you wrap yourself in the warmth of #...

👓 Some important Known changes | Marcus Povey

Read Some important Known changes by Marcus PoveyMarcus Povey (marcus-povey.co.uk)

Some important changes to Known were merged in over the weekend.

Most notably, (most) external dependencies are now managed and installed via Composer, and not included natively in the repository itself.

This makes updates easier to manage, but it does mean that if you are installing from (or more importantly, upgrading from) the git repository directly, you will need to perform an extra step.

cd /path/to/known; composer install

This is particularly important if you’re upgrading, and your site is a checkout of the git repo.

I’m reminded that I desperately need to upgrade everything on my install…

👓 An error unexplained | Jeremy Cherfas

Read An error unexplained by Jeremy Cherfas (jeremycherfas.net)
Well, that was weird. Something had gone wrong with my little PHP script for adding items from my list at reading.am to my WithKnown-powered stream. It ran, reported no errors, and yet produced nothing at the other end. Gorgeous Saturday morning, blue skies and sunshine; what better way to spend it than indoors debugging?

👓 Festive indieweb and selfhosting | voss.co

Read Festive indieweb and selfhosting by voss voss (Left handed typing since 2017)
Holiday is on, and apart from relaxing with the family, I aim to look into a bunch of stuff before I'm back at the factory in January. My Indieweb life is coming on well, thanks to Known, and the community in London. I attended my first couple of Homebrew Website Club meetups in town in 20...

Reply to Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream by Brad Enslen

Replied to Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
All this WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg stuff got me thinking.  With WordPress it seems like the Indieweb starts making serious and cool progress and the WordPress people come along and knock the game board and pieces off the table.  And it sounds like the disruption from WordPress is going to continue f...

Brad, I like and agree with your general thoughts, but I think that looking at the long term broader picture, most of what you’re describing is covered under the umbrella principle of plurality. For things to grow and thrive, we all need plurality to flourish. As a result there are several hundred projects within the broader IndieWeb which are growing and thriving. It seems far slower because a large number of the projects are single-maintainer single-user ones which are being built for personal use.

It’s nice that there are mass-scale projects like WordPress, WithKnown, Get Perch, Grav, Drupal, and a few others which have one or more “IndieWeb-centric” developers working on them that allow those without the coding skills to jump in and enjoy the additional freedom and functionality. The occasional drawback is that those big-hearted developers also fit into the broader fabric of those massively distributed projects and sometimes their voices aren’t as well heard, if at all.

I’m aware of the disruption of the Gutenberg Editor within WordPress v5.0 and how it applies to those using IndieWeb technology on WordPress. I’m sure it will eventually get sorted out in a reasonable fashion. Sadly, throwing out the baby out with the bathwater as it comes to WordPress and IndieWeb may not be the best solution for many people and may actually be a painful detriment to several hundreds.

While it would be interesting to see a larger group of developers converge on building an open and broadly used IndieWeb system as you suggest, it takes a massive amount of work and community collaboration to get such a thing moving. I think this bears out if you look at the lay of the land as it already exists. Just think of the time effort and energy that the core IndieWeb community puts into the tremendous amount of resources that exist today.

Looking back on the past 4+ years of IndieWeb within the WordPress community, I’m really amazed to see exactly how far things have come and where things currently stand. There used to be a dozen or more pieces that required custom code, duct tape, and baling wire to get things working. Now it’s a handful of relatively stable and well set up pieces that—particularly for me—really makes WordPress deliver as an open source content management system and next generation social medial platform that aims to democratize publishing. In terms of building for the future, I suspect that helping to bring new people into the fold (users, developers, designers, etc.) will increase and improve the experience overall. To some degree, I feel like we’re just getting started on what is possible and recruiting new users and help will be the best thing for improving things moving forward. IndieWeb integration into large-scale projects like WordPress, Drupal, etc. are very likely to be the place that these ideas are likely to gain a foothold in the mainstream and change the tide of how the internet works.

While it may seem daunting at times, in addition to the heroic (part-time, it needs to be noted) developers like Mathias Pfefferle, David Shanske, Micah Cambre, Michael Bishop, Ashton McAllan, Jack Jamieson,  Ryan Barrett, Peter MolnarAmanda Rush; enthusiastic supporters like you, Greg McVerry, Aaron Davis, Manton Reece; and literally hundreds of others (apologies to those I’ve missed by name) who are using and living with these tools on a daily basis, there are also quieter allies like Brandon Kraft, Ryan Boren, Jeremy Herve and even Matt himself, even if he’s not directly aware of it, who are contributing in their own ways as well. Given the immense value of what IndieWeb brings to the web, I can’t imagine that they won’t ultimately win out.

If it helps, some of the current IndieWeb issues pale in comparison to some of the accessibility problems that Gutenberg has neglected within the WordPress community. Fortunately those a11ys are sticking with the greater fight to make things better not only for themselves, but for the broader community and the world. I suggest that, like them, we all suit up and continue the good fight.

Of course part of the genius of how IndieWeb is structured: anyone is free to start writing code, make better UI, and create something of their own. Even then they benefit from a huge amount of shared work, resources, and simple standards that are already out there. 

👓 A Look at Known: social publishing and Indieweb | Brad Enslen

Read A Look at Known: social publishing and Indieweb by Brad Brad (Brad Enslen)
Publish blog posts, photos and media to your own site, and syndicate it to your social networks. Keep everything on your own site. Source: Known: social publishing for groups and individuals I’m looking at Known this morning.  The website has that Silicon Valley – Apple vibe to it – lots of s...

Reply to It’s time for a new branch of public media by Ben Werdmüller

Replied to It's time for a new branch of public media by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, an independent public broadcaster had been established through grants by the Ford Foundation, but Ford began to withdraw its support. Here's what he said: "It...

I’ve been thinking very similarly along these lines for six months or more, but with a particular slant at journalistic enterprises. I’ve specifically been considering what would happen if small local newspapers and other journalistic outlets were running IndieWeb-esque platforms for their local communities. This would potentially help to moderate and encourage local conversations and consumption of local grown content and journalism and potentially improve the toxicity of general social media or massive issues like those that Facebook is facing with genocidal effects of their platform in Myanmar where they didn’t have any local presence or moderation much less people in-house who had language capabilities to even begin to deal with these issues. This type of mission could better empower entities to improve both local journalism by binding it to a different substrate as a financial model  and fix many of the issues we see with social media simultaneously.

This general idea also isn’t too dissimilar from Greg McVerry’s idea of having local libraries allow patrons to “check out” (aka set up) their own domains and social presences/identities using their library cards.

The difficulty I see is that as the world moves toward increased specialization, that looking for newspapers or even municipalities to oversee and maintain such infrastructure may be difficult. I already see issues with smaller outlets building and maintaining their own publishing platforms with simple out-of-the-box CMS solutions that are relatively easy-to-use and modify with simple plugins. (In a recent inventory of my local news sources, I’ll note here that nearly 100% of the local online news sources for my community are running on WordPress, but not all of them have a huge amount of technical knowledge about what and how they’re doing it in those spaces). The growth of content management systems like Ghost, which has a journalistic bent, also indicates that there isn’t a “perfect solution” to the CMS problem, much less the issues of running IndieWeb-like platforms/clusters based on simpler platforms like WordPress or even Known. There’s certainly a lot of space out there for third party companies to help grow and expand in both of these areas (community-based social platforms as well as journalism platforms and admixtures thereof.)

If local institutions or even governments did move in this direction, then their users are at the potential mercy of third-party businesses which may not necessarily be aligned with local values.  An example of something akin to this was covered recently in The Daily on their episode Taking Over Local News. I’m also reminded about of my poor experiences  with un-moderated third party platforms like Nextdoor.com can be.

Another microcosm to look at is how hundreds of thousands of public libraries are interfacing with the four or more media suppliers of e-books and what that financial model looks like as, if taken, I would suspect a similar trajectory for local social public media. Similarly looking at how municipalities interface with cable franchising can reveal some pitfalls to avoid moving forward with respect to monopolies and competition.

Certainly some additional thought about how to solve these issues at the smaller local and personal levels is welcome. Thanks for dipping into and expanding my surface area of thinking Ben.

Read Tending towards 1.0 | With Known by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (groups.google.com)

Before we begin -

  1. Hi! I'm going to return to spending more time on Known. As you may know, I was Director of Investments at Matter Ventures for the last two years or so, which occupied a disproportionate amount of my time. This is no longer the case. While I'm working on another open source project - Unlock - during the day, I'll be able to devote more attention to Known.
  2. Known deserves a 1.0 release, and will get one. Marcus and I have spoken quite a bit about the route forward.
  3. Commercial enhancements to Known, like the hosted service and Convoy, will get their own update. Going forward, any commercial ambitions or support for Known will be secondary to the open source project, if they exist at all.

Okay. With all of that said, I'd like to put the following out for discussion. Replies, questions, and criticisms are welcome!

This may be some of the best news I’ve heard in months! Known is one of my favorite open source CMSes that’s easy to spin up and use. It also supports so many awesome IndieWeb specs like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, etc. right out of the box.

The runner up awesome news is that Reclaim Hosting is very likely to revamp their installatron version of it.