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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

Greg McVerry

I Can No Longer Recommend WordPress.Com For the Beautiful People of Tumblr

3 min read

Tumblr's that special place on the web. The refuge, the gallery, the club, the home of people you probably do not understand, and that's okay,

Folks who discuss the story of Tumblr and what's happening through a lens of porn miss the point. Tumblr's that part of the web for those who seek a beauty in a new world due to the ugliness of the old. It's not online or offline. Tumblr's different.

Truthfully I have never really played there. Just when I started getting into Tumblr I started my own blog and forgot, and I got older. Networks gravitate around different forces. 

Yet I feel compelled to reach out to folks on Tumblr asking about what to do next. Plus I am having one helluva good time. Like seriously this place is so cool. So tolerant. So beautiful.

I am a teacher. I have many students I personally know who have found a level of acceptance on Tumblr that was deeply missing in their households. I want to help them all. To hug them, to help grow as artists and writers. All of it. I can't help myself. Art is the ultimate expression of democracy.

Dewey was right.

I also believe that even with Tumblr's beauty the best path forward for people. Especially, the most vulnerable among us,is to own your own data on your own website style.

No Longer Recommending 

I love WordPress. It drives the web. My website uses WordPress. All my students have accounts as they onboard on the web. Naturally, I recommended to Tumblr users

I can not anymore.

Not until I know Automatic, the company behind takes steps to ensure third-party ad services that make Automatic money do not put at risk populations in danger.

My student wrote a heartfelt post on her struggle of surviving with an eating disorder and the ads that get served up...mermaids and fat shaming.

Fat shaming on a post about eating disorders. I am so angry. I blame Automatic. I blame, the third party as a company, I blame the artist who draws the ad, and I blame myself. 

I should have never trusted the ad-supported web for vulnerable students no matter how much I trust Automatic.

I wish it wasn't an isolated case it gets worse:

  • the fat-shaming ads appeared only on female students in class. Never male, not once. Though I do not have conclusive numbers and no students who identify as male blogged about health or feelings.
  • the fat-shaming ads only came on posts about diet, exercise, mental health, anxiety or eating disorders. Every time. This is predatory to the core. 
  • posts about relationship abuse were served up ads about a CheaterTracker app. The men in class got this add as well.

This problem is so solvable. Var = eating disorder { fat-shaming ad: false}. This problem is solvable. Put people in charge of algorithms. Do not rely on keyword matches sold by third parties. Look what happens, bad things that can actually kill people. 

Tumblr users, especially those who paint the world with your own palette, try to invest in your own website. I fear will not be safe. Not until we get some reassurances. 


Greg McVerry

Some quick quotes on #edu106 and the power of #IndieWeb #creativity #edtechchat #mb

4 min read

I am most proud of my website because I have never created a website by myself before and it was fun to figure everything out everything I wanted to do with my website. I could have done better at posting every week to be consistent and written longer posts that had more detail. Blogging helped me understand what we were doing in this course and what it was about. I believe reflection drives learning because you look back at everything you’ve done and determine what you did really well and what you could’ve don’t better so that in the future you can work on what needs it and come back with something stronger than you’ve had before.

The fact that I now have a place where I can do that, where I can publish my thoughts whenever I want in a place open for people to read and to not be afraid of doing so, is liberating. I’ve always wanted a space online to call my own. I’m so tired of all the endless perfection I see on social media. My space, “Life Chapter by Chapter” is real. It’s me, personified by a website. And though this post is not digitally enhanced in any way, I love it because it’s representative of the bottom line of what I’ve learned in EDU 106. I’m my own person on this site, I’m not defined by Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I can post what I want, when I want, how I want. It’s a beautiful thing.

.I think blogging helped because me having to write about technology was interesting and it was a way to express not only that but also new things or topics about myself that I don’t have time to talk about or even write about. It gave me a chance to express myself.

Reflection drives learning because when you reflect on something you keep on thinking about it in your head and it keeps eating away at you until you just have to know more about it and by doing that you have to read about it ask information look it up on websites and this is you learning new information about what you were reflecting on and you keep it with you and eventually your going to try to learn everything you can if your really reflective and passionate about it.

Through this class I have gained a sense of voice I didn’t have before. I am able to stand up and talk about things infant of people and not be scared. Through conversations I can be the reason someone reaches out for help. I have gained my confidence through my writing, support from Rebekah, and J. I have learned that I am worth a fight, I am worth the hard work and dedication it takes to recover, and I am worth so much more than I thought I was.

I am most proud of being so open to talk about my eating disorders and my experience with abuse.

At first, I really didn’t want to blog because I thought it wouldn’t be something I enjoyed. I didn’t really use it so much as I should of, but I do admit that I really enjoyed customizing it the way I did and letting my thoughts come out for people to read. When I was probably around 13-14 years old I actually made a wordpress blog and I was so excited about it, but I only used it for a couple weeks. I tried to find it now but I couldn’t because I think it would be really interesting to see how I’ve changed on the web. Anyways, I think this blog has been pretty interesting with writing down my thoughts and being honest with myself.

Greg McVerry

Following People or Feeds in the #IndieWeb #mb #DoOO #edtechchat #literacies

2 min read

I am scrolling through history (h/t to Kevin Marks for reminding of the ccurated posts by danah boyd) as we discuss how best to follow people in social readers on the IndieWeb.

Tantek Çelik has suggested nobody ever on the history of the web wants to follow feeds. danah seemed  to agree in 2004.

Tantek suggested a one button push follow that people have come to love on social media. In fact I have been documenting dicoverability and following on Tumblr and it is amazing.

The problem is the firehose. Social media silos use proprietary data and algorithms to reduce the chronologocal feeds. Tumblr and facebook decide what I see.

On Twitter I could never follow the chrnologogical feed of the thousands I follow. A follow on Twitter is a h/t nothing more. Instead as a human I have to curate my feed using Tweetedeck into 37 different feeds (columns by hashtag).

On Slack, IRC, Telegram, we have channels.

Nobody wants to follow my firehose,or Aaron Parecki's or Chris Aldrich's ....your phone might explode. Between the three of us you may get over 100 updates each day...and that is a low estimate.

What can be done for following and discovering of people? Can we follow people and not feeds while avoiding the firehose? Well bunch of ideas floating around chat:

  • leveraging topical webrings
  • creating h-card directories of people to follow on websites
  • creating a public h-card directory
  • encouraging the use of p-category with key topics/tag in an h-card.
  • adding preffered feeds in your h-card.
  • adding logic to social readers so if you follow someone and they have a feed the same name as a channel you get auto subscribed.

I get not liking feeds. I threw out my RSS feeds after a decade. It just got unmanageable, broken links, impoprted OPML files. So I started rebuiling feeds more my social reader. So much work. I got about half way through, my channels...and then stop...keep meaning to go back....but you know....

Grooming feeds, a crappy experience since 2004.


Greg McVerry

An Important Reminder from @zephoria Blogs Aren’t Safe

1 min read

As us in the community, many who sought refuge online as a safe space from the horrors we faced offline 20-30 years ago, advocate for Tumblr Diapspora to the IndieWeb we must remember the spaces we created weren’t safe then, on the blogosphere in early years,  or now:

We must tread lightly as we invite the communities of youth support on Tumblr to the IndieWeb

Especially if we believe that owning your content and controlling your space provides pathways to protect.

Greg McVerry

Gonna take a communbity to hold that back scratcher: @Tumblr to the #IndieWeb

9 min read

Import–needs rock solid LiveJournal-clone and Tumblr support if your site is to serve as an archive. I don’t know if there even is a working Wordpress plugin to import from LJ or Dreamwidth. The best-supported Tumblr->Wordpress importer is actually better than most standalone Tumblr backup tools, but it still mangles video posts/embeds. It’d also be cool to have import tools for AO3, Deviantart, and other major fanwork repositories.


Are there export tools that you can use to get Tumblr posts out as JSON data. We used to tell people to use the deprectated API. I do not know if that still works. People have done some amazing migration work. Stop by the IndieWeb dev chat channel to brainstorm.

Going Tumblr to WordPress is well documented and we are trying to build WordPress themes for the artistic crowd..

separate out posts I created, posts I added comments to, and posts I just shared via reblog. A nice addition would be the ability to copy Tumblr tags to a metadata field that’s separate from Wordpress tags–WP tags tend to be organizational, whereas on Tumblr, tags are often a sidechannel for comments that don’t propagate on reblog, thus filled with all sorts of crap.

Many people do this on their websites. I am using Known. i can soret by tag (see my footer) or by post Type (drop down menu) or both, or search. Similar WordPress plugins exist and just works out of the box this way.

On that note, Itch #3 is mass-organization tools. Select all posts that fit certain criteria and do a mass edit on their tags, categories, post types, or other taxonomy data. Lots of fandom folks have years or decades worth of content from various sites, making organizational tasks highly impractical to do manually. I’ve dicked around with a few Wordpress mass-edit plugins, but none of them seemed to work that well.

Look at thre HTML. Do tags have a link with rel=tag? Modern microformats prefer p-category but parsers recognize both.

Not sure how well the existing backfeed tools support Tumblr notes, but for fandom to bite, the Tumblr support oughta be pretty damn slick. And the cross-posting should ideally support all the features of a native Tumblr post, because by god, we will use them, and we will notice if an expected one is missing. I can spot IFTTT cross-posts from AO3 without even reading text, and tbh my eyes usually skip right over them, unfair as that may be.

Got post types? We got all the post types and then some. Plus people be experimenting every day. Different platforms offer more post types. In general the most accepted are article, note, repost, reply, photo. Every platform supports these at a minimum, but the you have eat, listen, read, watch, jam, chicken, checkin, bookmark, and many more.

We don't write specs first. We do first, and when a bunch of folks end up doing the same do then we write it down.

If this project extends to feed readers/aggregators, the embrace of multi-site cross-posting implies a need for deduplication. Preferably getting rid of Tumblr’s charming “barf the full post back out onto your dashboard every time someone you’re following shares/responds to it” behavior in the process. For fandom use, it’ll need a blacklist feature. And I’d love some more heavy-duty filtering, selective subscriptions (like to just one tag of a blog), creating multiple feeds based on topic or on how much firehose you want

I would love to hop on a video call and show you how the social readers work. They can do so much! Slick.

This may be a personal itch, but at least for personal archiving needs, I’m sick, sick, sick of the recency bias that’s eaten the internet since the first stirrings of Web 2.0. Wikis are practically the only sites that have escaped chronological organization. It would be cool to have easily-manipulated collections with non-kludgey support for series ordering, order-by-popularity, order-by-popularity with a manual bump for posts you want to highlight, hell even alphabetical ordering. None of these things are remotely unsolved problems, but they’re poorly supported on the social-media silos most people’s content lives on these days. Fandom’s suffered from this since at least the days of LiveJournal, which had the ominous beginnings of what’s since become the Tumblr Memory Hole. Relentless chronological ordering + the signal-to-noise ratio of any space with regular social interaction = greatest hits falling down the memory hole unless a community practices extensive manual cataloguing. Hell, LJ fandom did practice extensive manual cataloguing, but even within that silo, there was so much decentralization that content discovery was shit if you didn’t know the right accounts to search through. Like, fuck, at least forums bump threads to the top if they’re still active–LJ and blogs have the same “best conversation evar falls inexorably off the map as new posts are added, no matter how active it is” problem that InsideTheWeb forums did in 1999. (Anyone else remember InsideTheWeb? AKA 13-year-old me’s first experience with platform shutdown, frantic archiving attempts, and massive data loss. Fun times.) Tumblr and Twitter, meanwhile, spam you with duplicates of the original post every time someone you’re following replies to/shares it, a key component of the endless firehose of noise drowning out any attempt to hang on to the signal.

The whole concept of IndieWeb fails to address (and might even worsen) what I suspect is the core dysfunction of social media. Which is the degradation of community spaces, and their replacement with a hopeless snarl where all content lives in individual accounts. There are a lot of weird effects that arise when the “social” sphere is built entirely upon the one-on-one connections created when someone subscribes to another account or gives someone else permission to view their restricted posts. Echo chambers, shame mobs, out-of-context remarks going viral, popular accounts setting off harassment storms whenever they disagree with someone, the difficulty of debunking hoaxes once they’re out in the wild… all of those are either created or made much, much worse by the lack of any reasonable, stable, shared expectation of who a post’s audience is.

This is true and I have been guild of being insentive due to context collapse myself. especially arounnd IndieWeb advocacy and fogetting the work, and the privledge required to have the ime and treasure for this work, that is involved.

But I think you are off a bit. People are nicer on their own domain. Something about owning the space where you speak from seems to reduce the shouting. Holistic tech is harder but it leads to better democracy when compared to prescriptive technology.

We are also experimenting with bringing back webrings to create a sense of protected or curated community. Fandom groups could have a collective list and a Code of Conduct.

We are also experimenting with restricted posts by requiring IndieLogIn, meaning I invite people to see restricted posts either by ring membership, where you login with yoru domain or privately where I share just with domain. Can people still screenshopt and share? Yes, the world has always had assholess. Web can't fix that.

Basically, if “own your content and host it on your site” also applies to your comments, interactions, etc, it starts running counter to one of the strengths of the Old Web. Which was community contexts where you explicitly weren’t posting to your own space or addressing everyone who might be looking at the main clearinghouse of all your different stuff. You were posting to the commons shared by a particular group with a particular culture and interests, not all of whom were people you’d necessarily want to follow outside that limited context, some of whom you might disagree with or dislike, but in any case you knew what audience you were broadcasting to. You knew what the conversation was, how similar conversations had gone in the past, and the reputations of all the main participants–not just the ones you yourself would subscribe to and the ones attention-grabbing enough to get shared by the people on your subscription list. And you weren’t spamming all your other acquaintances with chatter on a topic they weren’t interested in.

A lot of philosophical disucssions going on right now about webmentions, ethics, and displays. Had a few sessions at our last IndieWeb Camp in Berlin.

Shared spaces can also establish whatever social norms they need and moderate accordingly. (Plus, plurality of spaces = plurality of norms for different needs, which would solve a LOT of what’s currently ailing fandom.) Peaceable enforcement of a code of conduct, beyond the “minimum viable standard” sitewide abuse policy, is fundamentally impossible on social media, where individual muting is the closest thing you can get to moderation. That + unstable audience = any social norms that exist are so unenforceable it turns people into frothing shame-mob zealots, ratcheting up the coercive pressure on everyone the more it fails to work on the handful of unrepentant assholes who would’ve been permabanned from any self-respecting forum within a week. Moving onto personal sites with beefed up syndication/backfeed capabilities ain’t gonna fix that. Meanwhile the truly heinous dickweeds who’d ordinarily run afoul of the sitewide abuse policy will have the same capabilities, minus any risk of getting banned.

IndieWeb itself is a group of organized bloggers. We also connect in real life events, on Slack/IRC, and on wikis...You know just like fandom. We have a code of conduct. It covers both real life and online spaces even thoguh we have no central organization.

Also see earlier comment about webrings.

That said, one potential point of friction is that fandom is far more pseudonym-centric than the devs and tech hobbyists who’ve coalesced around IndieWeb so far.

More so for saftey than just hobbyist. We built tools to allow for psuedonyms:

I am late for work...Really want to tkeep dialogue going.

Greg McVerry

Launching an Open Source Journal of Blogging and Social Media Research #lra18 #IndieWeb #digped #DooO

2 min read


Each year at LRA I release a tool the community could use as an open source alternative to our nonexisting community tools.

I have set up private social networks using open source technologies. I created portfolio systems using Mahara that could be used isntantly at conferences and for free by members.

This year I wanted to try a new challenge. Could I launch the infastructure for an open source journal where author's published from their own websites in a practice of Academic Samizdat.

Academic Samizdat

Samizdat is aterm ofr the undergroung journalists and artists who risked their lives under Soviet regimes. While academic samzdat does not try to equate our struggle with one of life or death we do recognize that the academic world is exploited and governed by despots.

A system built on privledge will always reinforce privledge and we do need to stand up and shake that tree of liberty. Publishing is no different

Samizdat: Journal of Blogging and Social Media Journal will be an open source, open access, open peer review journal. If we have a high rejection rate, shamne us. What kind of model of knowledge should be based on rejection?

You will publish all of your drafts from your website and always mantain control of your data. We highly encourage you to publish your studies elsewhere and accept previously published studies where copyright allows.

And poetry. we will always take poetry. 

Serious Endeavor

My previous MVP (minimum viable product) lanuches at LRA were more theortical. I wanted to show the Board how easy this could be to create open respoistories from the conference.

This year is different. Samizdat is a real journal. The first call for proposals is out. Folk that went to blogcon from 2033-2006 could even dust off their old papers and pass the pixels along.

Researchers at are welcome to submit articles.

I also need help. Specifically another leade editor or two and then the editorial review board. My guess is we wuld have reviewers work with 2-3 authors a year. This isn't a rate and forget it review. We will coach and facilitate articles to publication. 

If you want to get involved please reach out. 


Greg McVerry

How a Samizdat Journal Will Work #lra18 @vconnecting

3 min read

As part of my call to "do" open rather than form ad-hoc committees and "talk" about open I challenged myself to build the infastructure for a peer reviewed samzidat journal.

Today I released an MVP of the peer review system you can find here: soI thought I should explain it a bit more.

Academic Samizdat, is the practice of publishing all your own research from your website. 

For the last four years I have published ab Opebn Source system LRA "could" use to archive session papers and proposals. I demoed many of these and we never got any buy in.

Figure it is time to stop talking and start doing

Samizdat Worflow

We will have a peer reviewed research journal focused on blogging and social media research. The journal editors will put out a call

You will publish a draft similar to:

All you have to do, if you have tools on your site,  is mention the call by linking to it anywhere in the post. If you do not have webmentions enabled you can post a link to your drafty as a reply to the call.

The editors will then review your work and write up an openly available review simialr to: 

You will then recieve a webmention when your article is finished:

The reviewers will then send comments to your draft as you work together processing the piece to get it ready for publication.

A final draft can be published on yoru website and syndicated to our site.

What kind of pieces will Samizdat accept?

Nearly all of them. Our goal is to remove the false economy of scarcity and mentor new knowledge. The topics should be reaserch, theory, opinion, or poetry about blogging and social media.

You can use any and all modes. The final presentation will be in HTML. As long as you can send a file in html from your website you will be fine. If you want to get fancy with CSS, video, scripts, etc we encourage this play. We will provie no restriction on design or mutimodality.

We also epecially ecnourage you to publish pieces that have been published elsewhere (if copyright allows). What the publishing barons call self-plagirism we call syndication. 

Next Steps

I need to write the copy and design the layout for the fron matter. Make a few template pages, design a holistic five point rubric, and write the first call.

If you want to get involved find me on Twitter or simply link to this post from your website and I will find you. 

Greg McVerry

Tracing Pathways of Perspective and Broken Promises #LRA18

5 min read

Perspective. Too often it's just the 250 words you can allot before describing yoru study, or worse the views of someone paying your tuition bills.

Yet when we think of design and building off of theory much of thw world is trying to replicate what we once meant by having a theoretical perspective drive your design.

I have tried to reclaim this aspect of my research over the past year.

Teacher Education Research Study Group

I had originally planned on working with the TERSG study group on work on culturally proactive pedagogy. Joy Meyers, Carin Appleget, Courtney Hokulaniokekai Shimek, Breanya Hogue. Awesome people I had let down.

Last year at LRA it was my first time trying not running a study group in five years. It felt liberating. Actaully it was my first year not being a section program chair or e-editor in in three years.

I looked forward to trying something new. The Teacher Education Research Study Group soudned great.I walked in not knowing a thing and I loved their design. Each year they nrainstorm a study , compelte study and present the next year. Rinse, wash, repeat. Brilliant.

I also thought trying to move my research into teacher ed would help me survive life at a comprehensive university. A 4-4 load, with three credits release for being graduate coordinator, and trying to organize an research agenda...I thought basing my research in my day to day of teacher prep  would help me breath.

The pressures on faculty are immense. We handle 30 applicants a semester. Advise 30-40 students a semseter. Hit enrollment targets, develop a plan and set targets for minority teacher recruitment. Collect data for CAEP, figure out the EdTPA roll-out, interview perspective students, sit on graduate council....who am I telling you know the story...

I loved the work we did with Teacher Education Research Study Group. We designed a series of lessons around culturally proactive pedagogy in our methods classes. Worked on iterating on design, reflecting on our own bias. Solid good work the it's meant to be.

I did some of my best teaching that semester. I wanted to model proactive. As an online class discovered new ways to track patterns that provided wonderful insight. Maybe even get a metholdogy paper out of this as well! After the semester I went to pick up the IRB forms dropped off to the office.

One student completed the form.

I had nothing. All the work, for naught. Which then makes you feel guilty for trying to make professional gains doing something that is so fundementally right.

I tried to stick with the group. I had made new friends. Slowly the pressures of the campus and a loss of perspective and I faded away. Letting my team down.

The research never truly drove me. I loved the search for new methods for data analysis of online classes but diversity in children's literature just wasn't my passion. Which also leads to guilt. Here I want to talk tech and students face a world of hate and opression.

I needed a new plan.

Perspective Possibilities

At my plan crumbled I was also making no secret that I think most of the education research, publication, and assessment industry is a sham at worse and a waste of resources as best.

I have always tried to advocate for greater open scholarship. Pushed hard. Got bruised harder and made no gains.

It's called power for a reason.

So I started searching and playing in open spaces. I have always fooled with tech. Never really a coder or developer, a tinkerer.Part of the reason I studied at the New Literacies Research Lab. I believe the way we read, write, and participate has fundementaly shifted and we as educators faield to respond.

Given my affinity for hanging online and my desire for open scholarship I was drawn to the IndieWeb community. In fact my first IndieWeb post came at LRA when I argued against the rights  we sign away to publishers.

So I chose to switch gears and continue the work I began last year when I presented a study on and Rhizomatic Learning.

Philosophies of Your Own Domain

Something different happens in  spaces people own online. The agentive writing, the continuos exchange of knowledge, and the struggle to understand all unfold as people fold their identities.

I began by trying to draw on Vygotsky's idea of perezhivaniya.After designing a research project around this philsophy I shared the work with the Extrended Mind Culture and Activity ListServ.

They pointed me towards Dewey. I missed the the "essence" that often will not translate to English. I have always been drwn to Dewey. Especially after long conversations with Chip Bruce and Rick Beach. So I tweaked my design around theories of democracy and education.

I ended up here in the paper:

Yet this makes me think about perspectives and international literacy research. Is Dewey, his pragmatism, as American as Apple Pie and frought with same cultural bias? Can you build toward an ideal without a focus on the critical?

These will be thoughts I will continue to explore. Well it's after midnight. Missing everyone at but Skip James been keeping me company. Enough rambling. Gonna call it a night. Enjoy vital sessions.


Greg McVerry

Notes For: The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning

16 min read



Being smart, especially in a fast-changing and complex world, requires people to beg, borrow, or steal new ideas.


initial mentorship to get us prepared to learn from experience in specific areas or domains; lots of prior experience; clear goals; something being “at stake” (mattering to us emotionally); and the opportunity to act in a way that elicits a meaningful response from the world.


Note:Circuit of reflective action

idiots savants



What does this truth-seeking game look like? It looks a lot like what we called in the first chapter the “circuit of reflective action” carried out collaboratively. In the circuit of reflective action, we formulate a goal (and the goal could be answering a question) and then we take an action in the world. We see how the world responds to the action, ask ourselves whether this response was good or not for the accomplishment of our goal, and then, if need be, act again on better information or a redefined goal. The circuit of reflective action is an interactive conversation with the world.


Note:Gee on the collaborative nature of truth seeking

This leaves us in this chapter with the human need for agency. By this I mean that people want to feel they are effective actors in the world, not just spectators of other people’s actions. They want to feel that their actions have their intended consequences and will lead to success in accomplishing their goals (this is a large part of what feeling a sense of control is about).


Note:Gee defining agency Also implications to why is starting place.


To be agents, people need both opportunities to be an agent and models of effective action. They need to see that taking action can really matter, and they need to see what successful action looks like.


Note:Gee on why agency matters.

Such self-organizing knowledge communities also freeze thought. They have their own standards and conventional ways of proceeding, often built bottom up and democratically to some extent. But they seem to be able to unfreeze decisions and solutions faster than formal institutions can.


Note:Gee on knowledge communities being able to unfreeze institutional thought.

(extended) kin, they could see what others saw as corruption in different terms. The deathbed scene in Edwin


Let’s use the term “imagined kin group


Note:A phrase loaded with connotative meaning.


What polarizes a group and makes its members reject multiple perspectives and critique? One thing that can do it is a feeling of being oppressed or not appreciated, of being “cheated” of their rightful due.


Note:Want an example? Read the comments at @politico


Unions became, for some, kin-like groups.


Note:unions defined as kin-like and not imagined kin groups. Take opportunities to discuss bias.



We can all be in “Schools for One.” However, we have argued throughout this book that one can be a lonely and stupid number for us humans when we are left alone to “be me” and “do it my way.


Note:Interesting thesis on the problems of overly customized learning.


The genius of human beings was and is the invention and use of tools to make themselves smarter.


Note:JPG defining human intelligence based on tools.

There is a name for the ways in which knowledge and ability can be shared between a human mind and a tool. It is called “distributed cognition.” The ability to see far is distributed (shared) between the eye and the telescope;


Note:If knowledge exists between human and tool where does intelligence lie? The act or mind?


An artificial tutor learns how a learner behaves and what the learner likes and then adapts to the learner, which is a form of leading the learner to water and persuading him to drink


Note:Defining artificial tutors.

This had one good effect and one bad one. The good effect was that more people could design and unleash their own creativity. The bad effect was that people needed to learn less and work less hard. It was harder, too, to earn status, since more people could now design well without a lot of learning and hard work.


Note:On plusses and minuses of intuitive design features and updates. Status and access affected.

Experts are people certified by other experts who know a great deal about one relatively narrow area. The disciplinary names we use, labels like “economics,” “biology,” and “law”—are actually too broad to characterize an expert. Experts specialize in sub-parts of these larger domains.


Note:Defining experts. Status and competency based?



Understanding and dealing with the consequences of complex systems requires pooling different types of expertise from different domains in a highly collaborative way. Going it alone is out of date and dangerous.


Note:Why we need collaborative models of teaching and learning.



two basic foundations for why the human mind can so easily go awry in the modern world. One is that humans are not oriented toward truth but to meaning. The second is that humans do not like to carry heavy things around in their minds.


Note:Notice the explicit cues to text structure in the chapter. Gee tells us his organization.

Humans orient toward meaning in the sense that a person, thing, or event has significance and value within a story that gives their life and actions, and the world they live in, a purpose. For humans, meaning in this sense answers questions like “Who am I?,” “Why am I here?,” and “How am I part of something larger than myself?


Note:Gee takes a practical view of "meaning" and describes importance of the narrative.

The human urge to find and create meaning is closely related to what we called in an earlier chapter mental comfort stories.


Note:Looking for meaning to explain. Hope is a veil draped over natures indiscriminate ways.


Perhaps ironically, we humans have never become modern mentally. Most of us still do not like to carry in our heads knowledge that does not seem applicable or useful in the near future.


Note:Pracitical knowledge dominates our daily thoughts.


Nothing weighs heavier on the human mind than complexity. We humans are very poor at dealing with it. Too bad, then, that the modern world is replete with high-risk complex systems


Note:Interesting point but also notice the transition to the next chapter.

In complex systems there are too many variables and too many interactions among them to control them all. Thus, they are not directly open to being studied through “controlled studies” of the sort normal in less complex areas of science.


Note:Education and the classroom are def. complex systems.


I mean by this questions that can only be answered by considering and at least partially figuring out the workings of a complex system or a system complex enough to count as a complex system to our human understanding


difference w/ cognitive science. It's transformational knowledge not transfer of knowledge.

Such questions require pooling lots of different sources of knowledge, building models, trying and re-trying different interventions, testing various explanations, and returning again and again to the drawing board. They require looking at things from different perspectives and seeking alternative viewpoints and new sources of ideas.


Note:Better definitions of inquiry learning. We need to encourage transformational knowledge.


We know this though: complexity and our inability as societies to deal with it is killing us. Global warming, environmental degradation, global flows of economic speculation and risk taking, overpopulation, global debt, new viruses, terrorism and warfare, and political polarization are killing us. Dealing with big questions takes a long-term view, cooperation, delayed gratification, and deep learning that crosses traditional silos of knowledge production.


Note:Collaborative Inquiry. The reason it's cornerstone of online research and media skills.

Our public sphere is in tatters. We are divided by ideology and harmed by greed. More and more in our highly competitive societies, it is each of us for ourselves or our families alone.


Note:I really see this starting with the birth of the internet, conservative radio, and The Clinton Era.

But looked at as part of an ant colony, the ant is very impressive indeed. What if humans are missing their colony? What would their colony be?


Note:We romanticize social insects quite often. They deserve awe but the metaphor ain't perfect.

public forum.


Note:In many ways the true public forum is a dream as old as democracy.



it means that status affects everyone’s health all the way along the line of the status hierarchy. Lower status = less health; higher status = more health all the way along the line as a matter of statistical probability.


Note:Why we must recognize the Literacies involved in the spaces kids play hack and make in.

They also feel a sense of agency and control when they feel that their actions count and contribute to society, when they feel like participants and not spectators.


Note:This is also true in the classroom.

chapter that these needs are integral to human beings. When



is our appreciative system in different domains that tells us whether the results of our actions—our probes into the world—are good or bad for accomplishing our goals. We


Note:Interesting concept here. Will have to think on this one.

empirical question does not ever lead to absolute truth. The “game” of answering empirical questions is a “pragmatic” game. We seek the best answers we can, act on them as our “best bets,” and stay open to revising them and learning more.


Note:The "game" of answering empirical inquiry questions.


Science is the empirical game and we have seen that the empirical game is just the normal circuit of reflective action on steroids.


Note:Definition of science.


rare piece of information or a rare viewpoint may be crazy and, if so, it will wash out as we pool all our sources.


Note:The internet is a self gleaning oven of ideas.





empirical game, whether played by credentialed scientists or by all of us, must always and everywhere be coupled with social activism with the goal of making a better world where more people count


Note:Social activism as being central to scientific inquiry?




engaged in social activism,


Note:And those who engage in clicktivism. "Ohh you changed your Facebook profile pic. Big deal" edu523



humans as reciprocal tools for each other + nonhuman tools (artifacts and technologies) all networked and integrated together. We are “plug-and-play entities,


Note:Knowledge and memory then would be situated in activity and embodied acts.



network a “Mind” with a capital “M.” A Mind


Note:Gee loves distinguishing by playing with letter conventions.



Which people and what tools I plug into and play with are those I hope and believe will make my life and my world meaningful and valuable.


Note:Purpose driving education.

 Mind Visions are ideas about what groups and whole societies, coupled with their tools, ought to do. They can be visions of the good life, of morality, or of power and destiny. They can lead to great good or great ill. Mind Visions do not really come from any one person. They have to be ideas that are contagious and that spread.


Note:Collective thought or visions. How borgish yet compelling.

Synchronized intelligence is a well-coordinated dance among humans and tools in the service of a better world. It is the intelligence of people linked to each other and to good tools, not left on their own. Synchronized intelligence is the product of Minds working well.


Note:Synchronized intelligence. wonder if Agee distinguishes between intelligence and knowledge.



affinity spaces should have the following features.


Note:Great looks like a more exhaustive list. Time to redo the video.



People are in them by choice. They are in the space because of a shared interest in a common endeavor, not because of their race, class, or gender. Their affinity for each other is based on a shared endeavor. In fact, on the Internet people can hide their race, class, and gender (and other aspects of their identity) and use these as assets strategically if, when, and where they want to. In an affinity space people choose who they will be and which parts of themselves they will invest and share. People of diverse ages and backgrounds are in the affinity space. They are not age-graded. People with different skills and different levels of expertise are in the affinity space. People range from “newbies” to “old hands.” In some affinity spaces credentialed experts comport with amateurs. Sometimes amateurs get to be as expert as credentialed experts, becoming “pro-ams” (professional amateurs). Some people in the space have an interest in the common endeavor and some have a real passion for it. The space is built to fan interest into passion. However, one need not go all the way to passion— people can satisfy their interest and move on—but they must respect the passion as an attractor to the space. Those with passion set high standards that others acknowledge and seek to emulate. There is no “grade inflation” or “dumbing down,” only multiple routes to mastery for those who seek it. This does not mean standards are not negotiated and contestable, but it does mean that people in the site have allegiance to discussing and pursuing excellence. The space is focused on knowing and doing (production, solving problems), not just on knowing. Some people make massive numbers of contributions to the space, others make many less, but every contribution, large or small, has the chance to matter, change things, and contribute. The space recruits a diverse array of talents. Even someone with limited skills or quite rare or special skills can find a place where their contribution counts. The space is designed to allow for multiple contributions, to leverage diversity so that no piece of knowledge or skill goes untapped, and, yet, too, to focus people’s attention on the places, problems, and parts of problems to which they can make their best contributions. Yet people are still allowed to roam free if they want to and try new things. In an affinity space, leadership and status are flexible. People sometimes lead and


Note:I notice in the new list of defining features Gee omits the word knowledge. I wonder??

what I will call “storied truths.


Note:In all of Gee's writing storytelling , writing, making is central to learning.



Research has shown that brainstorming, in which students throw out as many ideas as they can with no critique—supposedly to free them up from fear of criticism—can easily make students less creative than they would have been if left on their own. Teams, whether students or not, actually perform better when the free flow of ideas is coupled with critique and debate.


Note:Need to find the research on brainstorming.


Rather, human intelligence and creativity, today more than ever, are tied to connecting—synchronizing—people, tools, texts, digital and social media, virtual spaces, and real spaces in the right ways, in ways that make us Minds and not just minds, but also better people in a better world.


Note:Intelligence as syncing


All these programs would share data (something that digital media can help with) in order to support children’s learning in a coordinated way.


Note:Lot of fear of big Data among parents.

Greg McVerry

Scoping Out Basics of #IndieWeb Search

4 min read

Over the weekend I met with the CEO of BLUR Search Technologies . Jaime is also my brother-in-Law, and has  sponsored IndieWebCamp NYC in 2018. We mainly gathered for Thanskgiving, the second Thanksgiving, and finally leftovers.

As we all played clean the fridge we snuck away to scope out a possible search engine for the IndieWeb Community. Blur Search Technologies will donate time and technology but we will need some help in implementing some building blocks  IndieAuth, Post Type Discovery Algorithm, etc.

We will also check out and see how much of I think it will be a ton, plus we have data already to play with. 

Opt-in with IndieAuth

Yes many of us publish openly, even with liberal licenses that allow for remixing and forking but this does not mean we want the data scraped, parsed, and sorted. The right thing and what you have the right to do are not always the same.

Thus the first feature we would need to have would be an opt-in service using the IndieAuth protocol. Meaning the only website data the search engine would collect would be that which you authorized.

Grant Richmond has done this well with the h-card directory. Speaking of which...

Types of Tables

We first discussed what types of tables and data are available to fill these tables. We did not decide if each top level h* would get a table or we would the h* as the first column.

  • h-entry
  • h-review
  • h-feed
  • h-card
  • h-cite
  • h-feed

Again we looked at Grant Richmond's UI, but the h-card directory would get parsed as soon as someone joins the search engine.

Indexing Sites

A feed reader could then be used to index sites. Using the post type discovery algorithim and existing microformats parsers we can add columns for all the properties used in:

For large blogs with decades and gigs of post we will index the pages overtime in the background. Adding sites quickly gets more expensive even quicker.


Some queries, like those involving people would get hard coded into the search engine. You could ask:

  • Where is @x? -Then the search engine would qury the chekin posts for that person and tell you the last known location
  • Who is @x? Will present the the h-card of a person. If there is a p-note or p-summary present then a tagline will appear in the results.
  • What is @x Mastodon name? Queries the directory and finds the rel-me link
  • What (movie, book, podcast) is most popular? This would query the frequency of "p-name" in the h-cite" of any watch, read or listen post (or whatever is the corect answer, much of this is new). These queries could of course be date restricted.

Keyword Search

The keyword search would look for exact matches in:

  • first p-name after the h-*
  • p-category or rel="tag"
  • content
  • h-cite

These could then be weighted in some form of ranking

  • +100 if keyword in the p-name and alo p-category
  • +50 if p-name
  • +25 if p-category
  • +10 for each exact match in the content

Next Steps

We needed to scope out an MVP which this blog post now completes. Next we will start working on testing the different microformats to json parsers to populate tables with dynamic columns to see which can be static columns.

We will start with my blog but need a few other volunteers. Find me in chat if interested.

Update:Ryan Barret

reminded me of, which already has data to muck around in and a prior example of some crawling technology.

We also need help from people with experience using the IndieWeb building blocks.

Big Questions?

Can we add a micropub client so if you are signed into the search engine you can reply and interact with the results?

Can we develop APIs so people could add the search engine natively to their blogs for both local and network searches?

Could a private search enging help protect vunerable blogging communities by controlling not only who can use the search engine but giving uvers full control over what data is parsed?

Overall I think an opt-in search engine, where you can add and subtract your data as easy as every other time you use IndieLogIn will be great for the community. Search technologies combined with existing building blocks the already created such a search tool would be useful to other consumable feeds in the as well.