IndieWeb Support

In the summer of 2013, I learned about the IndieWeb, ironically, via a comment, posted at Scripting.com, Dave Winer's website.

Over the past 25 years, Dave has created, collaborated on, and evangelized about multiple open web technologies, but he's a bit prickly about some IndieWeb concepts, especially h-feed. That's okay. The IndieWeb continues to move forward.

In the fall of 2013, I added the ability to receive Webmentions on one of my websites. It was more of a test to see how it worked, and I thought that it was fascinating. In 2018, I still consider the Webmention to be the best technology feature, created by the IndieWeb group.

This is my favorite concept of the IndieWeb:

The IndieWeb is a community of individual personal websites, connected by simple standards, based on the principles of owning your domain, using it as your primary identity, to publish on your own site (optionally syndicate elsewhere), and own your data.

That's all that is needed to support the IndieWeb. A website owner does not need to support any of the "advanced" IndieWeb tech ideas, such as Micropub, Microsub, Webmention, etc., for the site to be considered a part of the IndieWeb. It's mainly about NOT posting all web content on other platforms (silos).

The IndieWeb encourages "old" bloggers to revisit their old, abandoned websites, and the IndieWeb encourages people who have never bought a domain name to consider the idea of hosting most of their public web content on their own websites.

Since 2013, I've created several web publishing systems, mainly to learn new technologies and programming techniques. In the spring of 2016, I created my web-based static site generator called Wren, which I use to manage the content here at sawv.org. Initially, the only IndieWeb concepts supported by Wren consisted of some Microformats and receiving Webmentions.

In the summer of 2017, I read Chris Aldrich's post titled Feed reader revolution. After reading that excellent post, I added more IndieWeb tech support to my Wren app, including sending Webmentions, logging into my site via IndieAuth, supporting Micropub on the server, using brid.gy to interact with my test Twitter account, and more usage of Microformats.

Here's my Jul 6, 2017 post titled IndieWeb Testing where I ran my Wren web pub app through several IndieWeb-related tests. At that time, I was hosting content at boghop.com, but that content has been moved here. I should re-run the tests again.

My main reason for implementing some of the IndieWeb tech in my web apps was to learn more about how it worked. It does not mean that in the future, I will continue to accept Webmentions at sawv.org and syndicate some content to my test Twitter account.

I don't "use" social media, and I don't engage with others on the web outside of my own small message board toledotalk.com that I started in January 2003. I choose to learn how to program some IndieWeb tech in case needs arise in future projects for work and for hobby. I could see adding support for Webmentions and Micropub in other projects.

In the summer of 2017, I created a web app called Warbler that is a different take on the message board. All thread starter posts and comments are Webmentions.

kleete.com relies on Warbler. The domain name means nothing. I'm not planning to use nor promote kleete as a community site. It's simply something to play with.

Technically, toledotalk.com is a silo, I think. I wondered how a message board could function without being a silo. The best idea that I could invent was Warbler.

To reduce spam with my Warbler app at kleete.com, I could require each poster to log into kleete.com via IndieAuth, which would mean kleete.com would not accept Webmentions programmatically. Currently, I have throttling in place at kleete.com where a new thread post can only be created after at least five minutes have passed, since the previous thread starter post. And the same website or domain name can post a comment only once every 60 seconds.

The concept of accepting comments or user-contributed content is not a problem. The problem is that web site owners don't work hard enough to encourage better comments by erecting barriers. It took me a long time to find the right combination of "barriers to entry" that worked well at toledotalk.com. Plus, a community site admin must be willing to enforce posting guidelines and weed out the abusers. A site that proclaims to be wide open and "free speech" friendly is a site that will probably fall into ruin.

Over the past few years, toledotalk.com has slowly faded activity-wise, mainly by design, since I have had new user sign-ups disabled for most of the time over the past few years. toledotalk.com is over 15-years-old, and I have lost interest in the site in recent years. And because of the IndieWeb influence, I think that it's more important for people to post on their own websites.

In the aught years, the Toledo area had an active blogging scene. Maybe it still does, I don't know. Last decade, Toledo Talk referenced some of those bloggers and their content, and some of those bloggers posted at Toledo Talk. Symbiotic.

I think that social media dominates in the Toledo area, like most places. It would be nice if a small group of us began posting content on our own domain names in addition to using social media (optionally).

That doesn't mean that the people should use IndieWeb tech to interact with social media, at least not at the start. Baby steps. Step one is encouraging people to post content on their own domain names. Step two is building a network around the personal websites.

My wife uses Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and who-knows-what-else. Back in the winter, I bought her a domain name, then I built her a simple blog setup, and I posted some content on her site as an example. But I have been unable to encourage her to use her personal website on a regular basis.

If I struggle to get a close family member to use the web in a slightly more open manner, then I imagine it will be difficult to get others in the Toledo area to own their content. But it doesn't hurt to try.

A few times each week, I view the IndieWeb IRC chat logs. I enjoy their discussions and passion. With each passing year, more new people join the conversaion and experiment with IndieWeb principles and tech. The beauty is that no corporation owns the IndieWeb/Open Web.

created Jul 25, 2018