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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.


Come Journey Through the IndieWeb Sites


Greg McVerry

@downes @benwerd Given this I am still stuck (even though I have discussed pros and cons with each of you) with notion of an HTML first world. If we have random vocabs people will make random input fields to fill those holes. Feels like a philosophical turning point in some way

Greg McVerry

In many ways defining Children's Literature Wittgenstein effort to define a "game"

From Wikipedia:
In his work, Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein regularly referred to the concept of language-games.[1] Wittgenstein rejected the idea that language is somehow separate and corresponding to reality, and he argued that concepts do not need clarity for meaning

Children's Literature is the same way, The concept gets created by sums of parts and can not be separated from bias in society.
-How many classics had female leads? People of color? First Nations not presented as savages?
-What about toys?
-What about video games?

Greg McVerry

4 Reasons @GetClassicPress Should Add Native Microformats Support

4 min read

Now that phase one of Gutenberg has dropped the interest in grows by the day. So many WordPress developers fear the loss of control they will face under the new regime of 5.0. Many just don't want to do the work of all that refactoring.

and should join forces.

wonder twin powers activate

The WordPress community has discussed the inclusion of microformats into ClassicPress core. I wanted to share our thinking

1. The Philosophical Right Choice

So many altruistic efforts fail under the premise of building platforms, data, and systems free of bias. They will all fail. Technology can never be free of bias. When you choose a stack, a language, or metadata you make a philosophical and political choice.

Microformats make sense for the web and for ClassicPress. A few properties in your HTML and you are  done. More importantly keeping the web in semantic HTML helps to ensure it stays open in the future.

One plain text file and you can be online. Let's not lose that. Sustainability, energy consumption, the web affects it all. Microformats gives us the ability to keep websites light weight while providing the plumbing for some really cool things.

Choosing to exclude, or to rely on JSON-LD alone, is also a choice. When people say, "That is what Google and Yoast want..." Ask yourself,  "Do you want to design ClassicPress for your goals or Google's?"

"Do you want good content or some companies SEO tricks to drive discovery?"

It is always a philosophical choice. How will you choose?


2. Empower the Web as THE Social Network

Scroll through the history of blogging research. Up until 2004 the research framed the blogger, the learner, and  the networks being sources of agency and power. Then from that time on the research became about SEO and dominating places others owned.

Is the web you want to build with ClassicPress? The project will fail if the old value proposition of syndication and exposure are used. 

ClassicPress needs a better social web to survive. 

Have you tried webmentions yet? No this W3C approved standard brings social to your website as you publish a  reply on your website  to a post from a friend and your reply shows up on their site as a comment. Microformats make webmentions useful. and possible.

What social reader will ClassicPress use? It won't be WordPress or anything connected to JetPack. Microformats empowers a new generation, using webmentions, and some other open protocols micropub (writing API) and microsub (reading API) to create a way to

Adding native microformats support will provide ClassicPress with an abundance of already built community tools. Don't repeat our mistakes or waste limited open source resources.

Use what people already built.

trippy dots floating in air

3. Committed Community to help ClassicPress

We have come to love the IndieWeb's focus on personal goals to sustain open source communities (everyone uses open APIs and majority open source their work). Building for yourself does help to sustain when your values align with others in your network. No white papers, no committees, just  code. 

We want the same for ClassicPress.

Having members loosely organized but bound by a sense of duty to the web  works and our community wants to build the future with ClassicPress.  We have an install base in the thousands with hundreds of active members using IndieWeb WordPress every day. The WordPress IRC/Slack channel never stops.

ClassicPress may see a huge influx of users, much larger than your targeted business audience, when the second phase of Gutnberg drops and theme developers and users need to decide to update or move on.

Many will move on. We need to get ready. Let's work together. 

All we need to make it happen is native microformats2 support.

turtles flipping each other over

4. Compatible with other Metadata 

No one is asking ClassicPress not to use JSON-LD, a commitment to open standards and APIs all we need. In fact SemPress, the most widely used IndieWeb theme, already includes support for mf2 and JSON-LD.

We just need to add a few properties to rendered HTML...and just works.

we are so compatible

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

@dogtrax Yeah if you want to engage an hours of philosophical debate on the meaning of a "like" versus a "bookmark" or a "thumbs-up" place to be..though with your own website you know you own the like to do with what you want.

Greg McVerry

@ChrisAldrich Yeah I am at a purely philosophical use case thinkery stage right now. There are tools that repositories use that import data. They must be assigning metadata to fields.

I am thinking strictly in terms of @altmetric stuff for now and also thinking about building interlocked communities of open scholars in the future.

Is this a use case? Or too much overhead for the individual. A puzzle worth exploring.

Just kind of default to stuff I keep in HTML.