In Reply to:  Manton Reece – The way out

I think Manton nailed the big picture on this one pretty good.

I think we should consider forums again too.

Smaller social networks: Many people are looking for “the next Twitter”, but it’s not enough to replace Twitter with a new platform and new leadership. Some problems are inevitable when power is concentrated in only 2-3 huge social networks…

I’m going to put a plug in here for the lowly forum as part of the solution for smaller social networks.  A forum can cover topic specific threads much better than any social network I have seen.  Don’t discount them because they are old school.  Forums are not perfect, but they are a good, if not the best, tool for a narrow niche social network, until we can invent something better.

As big general topic networks, yeah, blogs and Mastodon are better.

As Manton says there has been a lot of talk about social networks recently.  I wish we were talking about forums more in these discussions as part of the solution.   Blogs and forums.



In reply to: Ticker Tape Parade.

What no black background with with neon green text?  😀

Seriously, I really like this.  At first I was disoriented for a second because I was expecting rigid and flat.  But then it just all clicks and makes so much sense.  The threading and the different sub styles for different post types all work really well together.  Colors are good.  Most important, it’s highly readable.  Very cool.


Source: XXIIVV Webring

I like it.  It’s unconventional and neat.  I think with a ring of personal diaries and wikis emphasizing the Random navigation makes sense – like a teleporter.  All the other points you made: classy, sophistication, minimalism are all valid.  Good webring. Good find.

Replied to


In reply to: Blogs in the Wild

I think the Indieweb is aware of the search problem but they have been focused on getting the essentials for individual blogs and stuff you can do with it up and running first.  I’m excited about their outreach to students and educators because I see students and academics seeing the utility for them straight off.

I don’t see mass adoption happening until WordPress builds it into, then lookout world!

But that’s okay. I think what you and I are doing will go like this:

  1. We hunt for homegrown blogs, sites, wikis and such just as we are right now.

  2. We build directories, webrings and syndication services that map out this world.

  3. The thing becomes a self-sustaining flotilla of: a) Talking, pitching in with each other’s projects. b) Experimenting with the format—I like to think that we’re developing an alternate timeline, as if blogs had replaced Friendster/Myspace rather than these other derivative networks. c) And customizing these directories and projects for subcommunities.


Those social network silos did a couple of good things even if they are going sour now. 1. They broke Google’s stranglehold on the web and getting found, 2. They offered an alternative advertising choice besides Adsense and Adwords.  This is something even Microsoft/Bing and Yahoo before it could not do.  They proved to the rest of Silicon Valley it could be done and Google was not invincible.  So I’m not anxious for the social silos to crumble too fast, I also get a fair amount of traffic from them.

(And that maybe part of the lack of wider uptake of our directory, webring, blogroll strategy, everyone is getting some traffic now by syndicating to the silos so they don’t see a problem.)

Anyway, I’m not willing to go back to Google being the sole Gate Keeper of the Web. I’ll fight that, no matter how puny my efforts might be. There is a story behind this: you have never been carpet bombed until Google has carpet bombed you.  I’ve been collateral damage in that.  It was things like webrings, directory listings, and a huge network of hyperlinks from little websites that kept my directory on life support until I could rebuild elsewhere. That’s kinda why I started reminiscing about them when the topic came up.  No I’ll never go back to Google controlling the web. I’ll never take traffic for granted again.  Part of the reason I’ve been posting so much is to try and build a reader base before syndication gets shut off.

So yeah, you and I are experimenting with versions of these guerrilla search tools.  We will see if there is any life left in them.

I can roll out a directory ready for submissions in a few weeks if I have to.  All the old directory scripts are a little long in the tooth but I already know the one I would use and how I would use it.  I can roll out webring hosting too since I found that Ringlink perl script. Or you can or we both can.  Again, if need be.

Public uptake is the key, uptake by bloggers and webmasters.  If they are not willing to list themselves, if the public is not willing to to use these to browse, then we have little chance.

Marketing plays in here. I just put up a little advertising banner for the blog directory.  Early signs are it has more visitors checking it out. We’ll see if that’s a temporary blip or a trend.

Anyway it’s fun.

Replied to


Replying to: Difficult or Silo?

Heh, well everything not on your own domain is a silo, or at least I can make that argument.  Not all silo’s are bad we’ve all just gotten sloppy talking as if they are.  Silo’s become particularly bad when they become monopolies: ie. Facebook, Twitter, Google.  But what you are trying to do with is exactly the opposite, that is create another independent outlet for both articles to be found and also blogs to be found.  We need more of these not less.

Indieweb et al.: Commendably, you have built using Indieweb tech.  But I’m not sure if the Indieweb, as it sits right now, is the best audience.  I mean, we Indiewebbers all “got ours”, we can talk to each other directly anytime we want, we have: webmentions, chat rooms on, Slack, IRC and maybe other places, we have Twitter, we have our own Indie News self serve aggregator, newsletters and most of what we talk about with each other is Indeweb related.  And there is nothing wrong with any of that, it’s just that, maybe gets overlooked by that audience.  I see you have opened things up so that more diverse non-indieweb equipped blogs can syndicate and I think this is wise.

There are blogs and bloggers out there, basically talking to themselves because nobody can find them.  They don’t know if anybody is reading or appreciates what they post because nobody comments and they have no clue about Indieweb.  They want to reach out but they don’t know how, maybe they aren’t techie, maybe they majored in English at Uni.  How do we reach them?  How do we get them to get off their duffs and nailing manifestos on  I have to confess, there are times when I forgot to syndicate to xyz because my post was not linking or Indieweb related.  I’m getting over that.

Difficulty: I think it is best if we have to do a little work to syndicate to xyz.  I’ve thought about what if we could syndicate via RSS but that would spam xyz out.  It does not need all my drivel, only my better (or longer) posts.  And if you incorporated RSS then the real spammers would take over sooner or later.

There is a generational thing here too.  I’m not talking about the Indieweb, but others on the web.  They have become passive, or at least it seems that way to me.

Keep at it.  You are experimenting with something good.  When all the massive silos like FB and Twitter go down or wall themselves off, people will discover the need for places like  They just don’t know it yet.


In reply to: Chris Aldrich replying to the Blog Snoop Memo.


Cow Paths:  Yes we have this concept in both New Urbanism and planning municipal bike/hike trails.  It’s a good analogy for what I’m doing: “What’s available off the shelf and free as a stopgap until somebody designs something better?”

Blog Discovery:  I’m sure directories are not the best solution for blog discovery, but like blogrolls they have a place at the table because they are low tech and cheap. Here’s a rough hierarchy:

  • Do In A Pinch: Blog acting as a directory.
  • Minimum: A proper directory script (ie. phplinkdirectory or similar) This allows for blog owner to submit their blog, write a description etc.
  • Better:  A directory script that not only lists blog URL but also lists blogs RSS feed.
  • Better x 2: Directory described above which also generates it’s own RSS feed for each category and subcategories.
  • Better x 3:  Some sort of fusion of the x2 directory above, and Indieweb stuff to some degree.  Maybe a fusion of a standard directory with Kicks Condor’s  This is just brainstorming.
  • Better x 4: Probably an RSS search engine like the old defunct Daypop.  Because this leads the searcher to individual posts about a topic in close to real time.  Such an engine could use Post Kinds as filters for the searcher to refine their search.  There used to be a lot of RSS blog search engines I could find only RSSMicro today.
  • Best: Some sort of hybrid directory/RSS/crawler engine listing only blogs.  The search crawler digs deep into a blog for those posts from 2015 or before that are buried and won’t appear in feeds.  The RSS search engine for the newest posts.

Something like that.

I don’t think we have tapped RSS fully.

OPML: I use Inoreader and I subscribed to your Indieweb list from your Following Page.  Brilliant list and thanks.  I think there is a future for this for deep discovery.

rel=directory: My instincts tell me this is important and they are on the right track.  The directory also is a low tech way to sort by topic.  Because it’s not enough to just have all the Indieweb plugins, but people need to know what the blog’s topics are.

Vouch: Yes. Needed in some form.  I used to move at the periphery of the spam crowd although I was never part of it and I can tell you, right now Indieweb stuff, (webmentions etc.) are in a honeymoon.  The spammers will figure out how to exploit these in ways you never dreamed of.

Thanks to you and to Kicks Condor for taking the time to reply so extensively.  The first step needed for Blog Snoop is to have an extensive index of blogs.  Only then will it be of any use.  And this was a useful discussion because it gave me some ideas that might work.  Again thanks.

In reply to: The Awesome Directories.


I think I have an answer to your linkrot concern. Not for Awesome but a hypothetical directory – “someday”.

The idea really isn’t mine, I got it thinking about the directory, which is really a new Indie style webring that also has a List of Sites page aka a flat directory page.  When you join you get a webring code to place on your site, plus listing in the directory.  Cool.


On some hypothetical future niche directory it’s that webring code that prevents the linkrot.  As long as the webring/directories robot keeps finding that validation code you stay in the directory, no code and eventually you will be dropped. Not perfect but it automates the process a bit.

It wouldn’t have to be a webring code, it could just be a validation code, I suppose.  I like the idea of indiestyle webring/directory combined.  My worry would be scale on the ring.  Old style webrings had a sweet spot of 50-200 sites.  Over 200 and they become difficult to manage and it was found that bigger destination sites in the ring siphoned off too much ring traffic and gave very little back.

Still adding that directory page was a good evolutionary move for indie-style rings.

Massaging this idea a bit:  one could let ring members self define subject categories when they join very much like you did on (tags sorta) which would help when it gets larger.

This was also posted to

Replied to

In reply to: Catalog of Internet Artist Clubs

Kicks!  Great find.  That is one of the best done websites I’ve seen in a long time.  I love the timeline bar graphs.

I’m beginning to think that the failure of early directories was that they were just piles of links with no sense of an editor or curator.

This got me thinking.  There was/is another directory model that I don’t think we have discussed much: the expert guide model.  When I first got on the Web I ran across The Mining Company which later became  A similar one was Suite101.

The Mining Co. was fantastic, but when they ditched the unpopular topics and became they were not as good.  Still About was decent for awhile.

Anyway the model was each topic or subtopic had an expert guide they would write lots of different essays on their topic, link them all together, and at the bottom of each essay was a list of links to resources and other expert pages on the subject.

This was a sort of hybrid: not just a collection of links but not a wiki either. The bottleneck was finding experts and keeping them.  Wiki’s were developed partly in response to this bottleneck.

These sites were excellent starting points when you knew absolutely nothing about a topic but needed to learn.

Replied to

In Reply to Kicks Condor Cataloging Horror Fiction.

Track Expired Links: Many directory scripts had a bad link checker but that really didn’t work well.  Basically you had to go through the directory categories and subcategories manually and get rid of dead wood.  Now I was in a “hobby and fan” niche so a lot of sites listed were static sites on Geocities, Tripod or other free host.  (Blogs, on Blogger and, were new and didn’t have Pages yet) Surprisingly the free hosted sites were more stable than sites on their own domains.  Webmasters on free hosts might abandon their site but they left them up and Geocities didn’t delete so even without updates their existing essays and info were still good.  Sites on their own domains: would either go dark or get snapped up by the p*rn industry and go p*rn.  We did have a way for users to report bad links but only a few went to the trouble.  So clearing out dead wood was a time consuming chore and part of what I mean when I talk about difficulties of getting directories to “scale”.

Updates: No way to know really.  On the Horror search engine I had the spider reindex the Index page every few months so changes made there would eventually show up.

Wikis as replacement for Directory: No and sorta.  A directory is about navigating the Web.  The job of a directory is to get rid of the searcher by helping them find what they want as quickly as possible.  You are sending people off to a primary source.  A wiki is about providing information and if it links out, that is a secondary function.  Take Wikipedia as an example: Wikipedia (which I use daily) is a silo.  It’s just not a commercial silo.  Wikipedia has filled the vacuum left by the closure of free hosts like Geocities.  Before Wikipedia the experts were all building pages about their areas of expertise either on free tilde pages from their ISP or university or on GeoCities and the like, now they are editing Wikipedia pages.  Then Google intentionally filtered out free hosted sites, so it fell to niche directories and webrings to help free sites get found, then the plug got pulled and Geocites went dark.  But that is how we found information before Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is a mixed blessing.  It provides a needed service – free, but it also smothers out many small informational sites from being created (unless they can contain more useful detail than Wikipedia.) It’s more efficient, but lacks funkiness and fun.

Blogs can act as curated directories. I have a small experimental one. But they really can’t do it as well as a directory even though they might aid in discovery they are improvisations.

Webrings are like taking a subcategory and adding navigation between like sites in that subcategory.

Crawler:  Having a real crawler that you control is like having the secret decoder ring!  Even if you can’t see all the uses right now, you will quickly find all sorts of new uses and utility.  You can detect bad links, changed content, who they are linking too, etc.

Moderation: yeah I hate to say it but you will eventually need it.  I closed down many of my directories partly because they were obsolete but partly because those old directory scripts did not have spam protection.  They got spammed out by submit bots.  It got to be too much work deleting out hundreds of spam Add URL’s each week from the review cue.  Right now you are flying under the radar and the Indieweb movement is small, but once both your directory and the Indieweb blips up on the screen the spammers will come.

As you have pointed out, directories are still around us: Yelp, yellow pages, Craig’s List, eBay, Amazon etc are all directories.

Directories can exist without a hierarchy.  The now defunct Searchking “search engine” was really just a linear directory.  You submitted each page of a site (no crawler) you wrote a title, description and 10 keywords (Tags?) and your page was instantly findable in the index.  That was okay in the early days of the Web when sites were static and small.

Your experiments are going to be a lot of fun.  The technology has changed from my day and that will work in your favor.  I can’t help with coding, that’s above my pay grade, but if you have any questions keep asking, I be happy to tell you what I can.