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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

Read UConn athletic department in 2018: generated $40 million in revenue, spent $81 million in expenses

Go Sportsball! Important education dollars at work. Though I do agree cultural investments like the arts and sports are important for a shared identity. But wow, that is expensive.

This would be so much better invested in .

I mean if we are investing $42 million dollars for sports for "play an important role in the life of the university and the state" we might as well make it the Whalers or an NBA Team.

Never understood infatuation with minor league sports.

Though the vast majority of Division I athletic departments operate at a loss, UConn’s deficit has become particularly extreme. A USA Today analysis of data from 2016-17 found that the school’s athletic department received the highest university subsidy (about $42 million) of any Division I public institution and that its allocation as a percentage of total reported revenue (just under 51 percent) was higher than that of any other public school in one of college sports' six biggest conferences.



By Alex Putterman

Greg McVerry

Onboard Through Blogging: Open Source Training

3 min read

As an open source community  your front door must invite potential contributors to walk right in. Yet many spaces fill their most forward looking properties full of jargon and or well established practices not easily identifiable to outsiders.

Might as well put a Keep Out sign on your front door.

We need to find new ways to invite people in. This often includes onboarding. Some open source communities have very formal governance structures and may require training, others may have explicit systems for issues, pull requests, and commit files.

The snark that scored when n00bs violated social norms can no longer stand today. Instead we need to socialize new members into our ways of being as we always have in apprenticeship models.

Use Blogs for Onboarding

As long time contributors to Mozilla we often tried to push contributor onboarding through open pedagogy. Specifically within the learning programs in the now sunsetted learning programs run by Mozilla Foundation and in MOOCs set up by different communities within MoFo.

MoFo chose a different path and went with a commercial training and testing platform. The lure of ease of prescriptive technology and the ability to quickly generate data to write reports provided to sweet a deal.

We believe blogging provides open source communities a better option because:

  • Open Pedagogy- We know this works when people have shared values of open.
  • Shared Identity- A blog empowers people to embrace identity formation encourage their identities to be a part of the communities.
  • Spread Your Message-You do open source for a reason. Why not encourage others to tell the world?
  • Better Data- While multiple choice  test produce pretty pictures they often get framed in bad data. People blow through online quizes making them meaningless. When you make task relevant you can trust the data it produces.

How to Set-Up Learning Tasks

Look at your current onboarding documents. Most if not all you could turn into blogging tasks.

If not you can choose a well defined path where you encourage the publishing I milestone posts, "I just did X after completing Y." You can also design more open ended and reflective tasks.

Trust me you will enjoy the freedom of of designing learning modules not answered in mutliple choice questons.

Even if your onboarding in your community is just walking someone through their first pull request encourage participants to publish a post when done.

Not Everyone has a Blog?

Did your teacher ever correct you for showing up to class without a pen or pencil? Isn't showing up to an open source community without a website the same thing?

Now many children in school live an existence where thjey may not have access to pencils and this inequity gets compounded in life to a point where we can understand why someone may not yet have a website. Then, just as our schools should, we need to asisst or members and provide basic literacy tools.

You can link to tutorials on setting up free blogging tools on commercial hosting sites. As a community invest in  a domain and provide subdomains to anyone who can not afford the real life cost or need the anonymity of not paying and registering for a domain.

As an open source community we must band together and help build a better web. We can do this by encouraging blogging across our networks. Why begin where it all begins at onboarding?

Greg McVerry

Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework


We will use the term “community” as a shortcut for community of practice, which we define as a learning partnership among people who find it useful to learn from and with each other about a particular domain.

We use the term network as a shortcut for social network. The term refers to a set of connections among people, whether or not these connections are mediated by technological networks.

We prefer to think of community and network as two aspects of social structures in which learning takes place.

  • The network aspect refers to the set of relationships, personal interactions, and connections among participants who have personal reasons to connect. It is viewed as a set of nodes and links with affordances for learning, such as information flows, helpful linkages, joint problem solving, and knowledge creation.
  • The community aspect refers to the development of a shared identity around a topic or set of challenges. It represents a collective intention – however tacit and distributed – to steward a domain of knowledge and to sustain learning about it. 

The formation of a community creates a social space in which participants can discover and further a learning partnership related to a common domain.

The learning value of community derives from the ability to develop a collective intention to advance learning in a domain. This shared commitment to a domain and to the group of people who care about it is a learning resource.

The learning value of network derives from access to a rich web of information sources offering multiple perspectives and dialogues, responses to queries, and help from others – whether this access is initiated by the learner or by others.

When a network lacks self-awareness to achieve a desired level of collective intentionality, participants need to build a shared identity through community-building processes.

When a community has become closed and inward looking, when its collective identity has become so tight that it is an obstacle to outsiders and new learning, network-building processes can shake things up

As human experiences that evolve over time, communities and networks have stories – how they started, what has happened since, what participants are trying to achieve.

In other words it is largely through their personal networks that people participate in broader social networks. Social networks are the aggregation of personal networks.

Communities also involve both personal and collective narratives. Communities develop a collective identity that becomes part of the identities of members. Stories of individual participation become part of the stories of communities. But the two are not conflated: they constitute each other, but they are not necessarily congruent.

Greg McVerry

You don't need blockchain in a community you need people #mb #el30

2 min read

 In @downes el30 class we discussed community and much of the week revolved around "how do decentralized networks arrive at trust" we talked a ton of blockchain. isn't an engineering problem it is a human problem. Blocks don't build communities people do.

Stephen laid out three paths to trust through blockchain

  • Proof of Work - any entity can add a block to the chain by performing a complex mathematical calculation and including the result of this calculation in the block. Reliability is ensured by the cost of introducing falsehoods into the chain.


  • Proof of Authority - only entities who are authorized may add blocks to the chain (where the identity of these entities is secured, say, by digital signatures). Reliability is ensured by the reliability of the authority, and the impossibility of any non-authorities to add blocks to the chain.


  • Proof of Stake - entities can mine or validate block transactions according to how many coins they hold. Reliability is ensured by the existing stake entities hold in the blockchain.

I believe this to too expensive and fruitless endeavors. Communities online take shaping and grooming.Time and we will not be able to engineer our way out of the problems the web currently has.

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

A space of one's own, right?
What I learned

Greg McVerry

People laugh at me when I offer webrings as a solution to identity and credibility but think about it. You have a small community empowered by a strong code of conduct. Community ownership through vouch as to who gets let into the ring.

Greg McVerry

@jdferries ohhh can I handle digital identity, safety, and networking stuff? Could have kids spin up their own websites on @glitch, @microdotblog, or WP and use new social readers to connect the class Have them reflect on design thinking

Greg McVerry

Endorsements in #IndieWeb Webmention Badges #OpenBadges

2 min read

As I show people the simplicity of a webmention badging system they often look to feature parity with the 2.0 spec.

We begin with a discussion of credibility and authenticity and usually, folks realize that webmention badges create a chain of trust that boils down to two permalinks.

When you stamp something with your URL you stamp it with your name. In many ways webmention badges solves the credibility and identity issue of credentialing better than open badges.


People then turn to the endorsement class added, though with few of no actual examples in the wild, in the spec. They want to know if a webmention badge could handle a third party endorsement.

For background you can read this piece by Nate and Dan.

Endorse What you Like

In Dan and Nate's example they use a third party accreditation board. We can accomplish feature parity with a like post using just a few words "u-like-of"

In our Badging Tools example let's say Eddie Hinkle is actually a renowned coding boot camp.

He can endorse the badge issued by .org by publishing a like post.

<a class="u-like-of" href="">"></a>

Here is what it looks like parsed:

    "items": [
            "type": [
            "properties": {
                "temperature": [
                    "40.88 \u2109"
                "weather": [
                "author": [
                "url": [
                "like-of": [
                "bridgy-publish": [
                "published": [

You need verification! Why not go check the weather in Baltimore the day Eddie published. Yet this would be overkill. Just seeing the like on an h-review should be enough to say Eddie Hinkle endorses this badge.

There is a permalink to the post. This could be added to the ledger when a badge is issued

Endorsements solved.

Greg McVerry

If you did any work on social media or blogging for please consider submitting it to the first issue of samizdat. We will explore methods for exploring knowledge and identity in our work: