Replied to Microblogging with Mastodon: Posting Automatically to My WordPress Site by Dr. Scott SchopierayDr. Scott Schopieray (schopie1.commons.msu.edu)
When the Humanities Commons team started to spin up hcommons.social I started to wonder if this platform would be a way to conduct my microblogging activities in a space that might have a better distribution network, allowing my work to be more visible.
OMG! There is so much to love here about these processes and to see people in the wild experimenting with them and figuring them out.

Scott (@schopie1), you are not alone! There are lots of us out here doing these things, not only with WordPress but a huge variety of other platforms. There are many ways to syndicate your content depending on where it starts its life.

In addition to Jim Groom and a huge group of others’ work within A Domain of One’s Own, there’s also a broader coalition of designers, developers, professionals, hobbyists, and people of all stripes working on these problems under the name of IndieWeb.

For some of their specific work you might appreciate the following:

Incidentally, I wrote this for our friend Kathleen Fitzpatrick last week and I can’t wait to see what she’s come up with over the weekend and in the coming weeks. Within the IndieWeb community you’ll find people like Ben Werdmuller who founded both WithKnown (aka Known) and Elgg and Aram Zucker-Scharff who helped to create PressForward.

I’m thrilled to see the work and huge strides that Humanities Commons is making to ensure some of these practices come to fruition.

If you’re game, perhaps we ought to plan an upcoming education-related popup event as an IndieWebCamp event to invite more people into this broader conversation?

If you have questions or need any help in these areas, I’m around, but so are hundreds of friends in the IndieWeb chat: https://chat.indieweb.org.

I hope we can bring more of these technologies to the masses in better and easier-to-use manners to lower the technical hurdles.

Replied to a post by @soaproot@mastodon.lol@soaproot@mastodon.lol (mastodon.lol (Mastodon))
@chrisaldrich Today I learned about Hometown. I'm not sure I have an opinion about local posting (yet), but am curious about the various fediverse programs (including what features exists across all of them and what do not).
Hometown is one of the few well-maintained forks of Mastodon that I’m aware of. There are obviously a number of other projects that support the ActivityPub protocol which are used for blogging, video, bookmarking, events, books, etc. One of the best lists I’ve seen is at https://indieweb.org/federation#Federation_projects
Replied to The ethics of syndicating comments using WebMentions by @edent@edent (Terence Eden’s Blog)
This blog uses WebMention technology. If you write an article on your website and mention one of my blog posts, I get a notification. That notification can then be published as a comment. It usually looks something like this: Screenshot of a comment showing that someone mentioned my post on their bl...
Not an answer to the dilemma, though I generally take the position of keeping everything unless someone asks me to take it down or that I might know that it’s been otherwise deleted. Often I choose not to delete my copy, but simply make it private and only viewable to me.

On the deadnaming and related issues, it would be interesting to create a webmention mechanism for the h-card portions so that users might update these across networks. To some extent Automattic’s Gravatar system does this in a centralized manner, but it would be interesting to see it separately. Certainly not as big an issue as deadnaming, but there’s a similar problem on some platforms like Twitter where people will change their display name regularly for either holidays, or lately because they’re indicating they’d rather be found on Mastodon or other websites.

The webmention spec does contain details for both editing/deleting content and resending webmentions to edit and/or remove the original. Ideally this would be more broadly adopted and used in the future to eliminate the need for making these choices by leaving the choice up to the original publisher.

Beyond this, often on platforms that don’t have character limits (Reddit for example), I’ll post at the bottom of my syndicated copy of content that it was originally published on my site (along with the permalink) and explicitly state that I aggregate the replies from various locations which also helps to let people know that they might find addition context or conversation at the original post should they be interested. Doing this on Twitter, Mastodon, et al. is much harder due to space requirements obviously.

While most responses I send would fall under fair use for copying, I also have a Creative Commons license on my text in an effort to help others feel more comfortable with having copies of my content on their sites.

Another ethical layer to this is interactions between sites which both have webmentions enabled. To some extent this creates an implicit bi-directional relationship which says, I’m aware that this sort of communication exists and approve of your parsing and displaying my responses.

The public norms and ethics in this area will undoubtedly evolve over time, so it’s also worth revisiting and re-evaluating the issue over time.

This I’m recommending:

And all three for their kindness and thoughtfulness in technology spaces.

Perhaps hidden/unknown to many, but hcommons.social and other instances running the Hometown version of Mastodon, have the ability to post only to their local community and specifically not federate their content to the broader Fediverse. In the posting interface, click on the link icon and choose whether you want to allow your post greater reach or stay only within your community. This can be a helpful affordance for having smaller/restricted conversations.

User interface from hcommons.social highlighting the fifth icon, a link, with a drop down menu to choose either federating one's post or making it local only.

Replied to a post by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (hcommons.social (Mastodon/Hometown))
Hey, @chrisaldrich! It's been a while since I've been in touch with you around stuff. I'd love to know if there have been any new developments, or if there are new possibilities on the horizon, especially on Mastodon <=> WP front. I'm thinking about my writing workflows and how I'd like to structure them in the weeks ahead...
Happy Friday @kfitz! You’re in luck—its not even horizon we’re watching for, but new lands we can walk. There are several options with varying levels of technicality and user interface affordances:

POSSE

There are some well built and not overly complicated pathways that allow syndicating from your WordPress website to a Mastodon instance and getting responses back from them, just as I think you’ve done with Twitter in the past. Most of these can be done with plugins like Syndication Links or Mastodon Autopost or a handful of other similar plugins in conjunction with Brid.gy (which does the work for bringing back responses). Personally, I prefer Syndication Links for this and it particularly dovetails well with other IndieWeb infrastructure like Micropub clients.

Mirroring

There are a small handful of methods for “mirroring” your WordPress site so that it will look like its own (single or multi-user depending on your configuration) instance within the Fediverse running ActivityPub, meaning that those on Mastodon or other related platforms could follow your site directly. Most of them are configured as publishing only, so you won’t have a built in reader interface and would have to rely on other (available) infrastructure for those portions.

Option 1

(More technical, and with a few less features) Brid.gyFed, which has options to do the syndication to a separate instance mentioned above, as well as making it look like your website appear to support ActivityPub.
More details on this here: https://indieweb.org/Bridgy_Fed

Option 2

Our friend Matthias Pfefferle, a genius engineer and longtime opensource advocate and WordPress developer who has also written significant pieces of other IndieWeb code you’re already using on WordPress, has written a handful of plugins which will make it appear as if your WordPress site supports ActivityPub out of the box. You’ll broadly want the following plugins: ActivityPub plugin, WebFinger plugin, NodeInfo(2) plugin.

They don’t have very many configurable options though some may be hiding a bit, so try:

  • /wp-admin/options-general.php?page=activitypubwill give you options for how your posts appear;
  • /wp-admin/users.php?page=activitypub-followers-list will show you who is following your site so you can more easily subscribe back via a reader if you like;
  • /wp-admin/profile.php and look under “Fediverse” where your profile identifier will be found. It is based on your username within WordPress.

The documentation for these plugins are scant and I’ve got the intention to write up something explaining the subtleties and a few quirks, but it will have to wait until the holidays I’m afraid. In the interim, they’re not as complete as they could be, but the following two blogposts have some useful details and hints, though its obvious to me that they’re much newer in the space:

There are one or two quirks still pending for how things display if you’re using the IndieWeb-based Post Kinds Plugin, but the developers are generally aware of most of them and will hopefully get them ironed our shortly.

As a result, mostly of these plugins, WordPress is already the fifth largest number of instances in the Fediverse with an (under-)estimated 878 as of this morning.

I’m practicing both the POSSE option as well as Option 2 above on my own site, which can be followed at @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com, as an example. Matthias’s example can be found at .

Help & Questions

This is a lot to consume and potentially implement, so, as ever, I’m happy to help guide and lay out the sub-branching options or even hop on a call to walk through bits with folks who have questions. David Shanske and I have been thinking about doing some group sessions and some training videos to walk people through some of this within the next few weeks. There’s also the IndieWeb chat which welcomes questions and conversation which is sure to give you some additional perspective: https://chat.indieweb.org/wordpress/.

For the social reader portions I briefly mentioned, I outline some of those options last year at OERxDomains in A Twitter of Our Own.

HCommons

Separately, congratulations to HCommons having stood up a Mastodon server so quickly!

It looks like it’s running Hometown, which has local only (unfederated) posting, though I’m not sure how many are aware of that useful feature (hiding on the link in the posting interface) which is sadly missing from most Mastodon instances, particularly for smaller communities. It might be something useful to add to the welcome email? I think this could be a great feature for Universities to allow more private class-based social networking while providing some safer spaces that don’t reach the broader internet and which might comply with FERPA. Obviously it would need some testing and some of the barriers for standing up and maintaining these servers to come down a bit.

There’s a lot of messaging and potential education to be had to roll it out well, but it could be interesting to see the WordPress offerings from hcommons.org include some of these IndieWeb and Fediverse tools as well.

Reposted a post by Tim Chambers (@tchambers@indieweb.social)Tim Chambers (@tchambers@indieweb.social) (Indieweb.Social)
My team at work just launched new research on the : We analyze which platforms are growing - especially , & #Post. We look at which sites users are adding to their Twitter bios, posting to their friends about & downloading apps for. Please do boost this, and love to hear any comments or feedback on it! Download it here: https://www.deweysquare.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/DSG-Snapshot-of-the-Twitter-Migration-December-12-2022.pdf

Graph of users leaving Twitter since Musk took over with big spikes of movement to Mastodon and smaller spikes in last week to other services

@jimgroom@social.ds106.us I’ve not seen the admin UI, but is there a toggle for what appears on the /explore page of an instance? I notice that some smaller instances have pages of people to check out (opted in by each user in the settings), eg: https://hcommons.social/explore. Did social.ds106.us specifically opt out of this for its instance?
Replied to a post by Dr. Jonathan FlowersDr. Jonathan Flowers (Mastodon (zirkus))
Next semester, I get to teach Philosophy of Technology, and I have only one objective: teach students that "social media" does not "cause" anything. Yes, you heard that right, I'm going to teach them that social media does not have agency, but is instead given agency through how users use the platform and interact with one another on the platforms. Hopefully, this will cut down on the "social media causes..." or "due to social media" takes.
Instead of agency, perhaps something along the lines of James Gibson’s definition of “affordance” in The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems (1966)?

I anxiously await this syllabus and reading list were it to be available. Kudos!

Replied to How to add your blog to Mastodon by Donncha O CaoimhDonncha O Caoimh (odd.blog)
It’s mostly straight forward. Install these two plugins: ActivityPub WebFinger The installation instructions are unfortunately not great. After you install both plugins, go to your Profile page (Users->Profile) and scroll right to the end. Down there you will find your profile identifier. It will look like @author@hostname.tld.
Thanks for all these excellent details and tool tips. 

You’re right that the documentation isn’t necessarily the best. Another useful plugin for better Fediverse dovetailing is to use the NodeInfo plugin by Matthias as well. It helps by providing some additional details about your instance to the broader Fediverse. For example, you’ll see your site show up on the-federation.info where you’ll also see a number of other WordPress sites/users who are in the Fediverse as well. I’d heard rumors that portions of this were moving into the main ActivityPub plugin, but haven’t seen confirmation of all of it.

For those going the cross posting route and using Mastodon Autopost and Mastodon Auto Share I’ve written up some details for Crediting your own website when syndicating to Mastodon with WordPress plugins.