I have several blogs: 1 x Micro.blog hosted blog plus 2 x WordPress blogs.  After the Holidays, I’ll probably migrate my main WP blog (you are here) to some other blogging platform.  No matter what I do I will lose my Indieweb features on that blog.  But that said, I forsee it becoming increasingly hard for the Indieweb moveement to continue to support WordPress in the coming months and years.

So here are some options I’m considering:

  1. Blot.im – this is kinda cool.  I like that you have a backup of each post on your harddrive plus on Dropbox plus on Blot’s servers.  I like that it is compatible with txt files and Markdown plus HTML. My problem is I currently have 2 laptops in rotation and my Blot post files would be scattered between the two harddrives.
  2. ClassicPress – I know I’m going to use this in the future that I wanted to build with WP.  They have a plugin that should convert most WP 5.0 sites to ClassicPress.
  3. TikiWiki  – the admin panel stretches beyond the horizon.  It’s a full blog, wiki, discussion forum, article poster, static html page creator, FAQ generator, web directory, newletter engine and more stuff I can’t remember.  You just turn the features you are going to use on as needed.  Not for beginners.
  4. Micro.blog – I already have one here.  I use it mainly for quick Tweet-like posts. Frankly it’s under utilized.  I think that will change if I move to any of the three platforms above.  The main problem, for me, with Micro.blog is that anyone that wants to comment must do so on Micro.blog which means that a friend from university following me on an RSS reader (it could happen) can’t really comment on a post or participate in a conversation.  MB might get those capabilities someday just not for now.  I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to overcome this but I’m not coming up with any answers.  I do know that if I move to TikiWiki or Blot I will use my existing Micro.blog hosted blog more.

Right now TikiWiki looks the best.  It’s got nearly everything and then some.  It updates to a new major release every 8 months so it is well supported and not a beta.  I can syndicate out to Twitter and Mastodon via my Micro.blog account.  I’ll have to give up Indieweb magic until I can figure out how to add bits of that to it. It has comments protected with Akismet.  Still thinking.

I’m just posting this to give people a snapshot of my current thinking.  This could all change tomorrow. But if you are stuck on WordPress you might want to explore these as options for yourself.

 

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To recap, Gutenberg Phase 2 will: Be outside of post_content. Focus on customization. Upgrading themes, widgets, & menus. Early version of phase 2 will be in the Gutenberg plugin. Be sure to reactivate it! Last updated: December 9th, 2018

Source: Gutenberg Phase 2 Plan Revealed – Gutenberg WordPress Editor

This is the other shoe dropping.  The next phase of Gutenberg for WordPress will need new themes.  Unfortunately this is going to effect the Indieweb in even more ways.  Will it make Indieweb themes obsolete?

Gutenberg: All your bases are belong to us!

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Migrating your WordPress website to ClassicPress is easy and only takes a few minutes. Follow the simple steps below to get started:

Bookmark: Migrate your WordPress site to ClassicPress – ClassicPress

The folks at Classic Press have created an easy migration plugin that works with WordPress 5.0.  I recommend you watch the short video on the link.

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We are nearing the release date for WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, one of the most important and exciting projects I’ve worked on in my 15 years with this community. I knew we would be taking a big l…

Bookmark: WordPress 5.0: A Gutenberg FAQ – Matt Mullenweg

My measured response: we will see.

My rapid fire thoughts:

  • So with Gutenberg we can have more autoplaying Youtube embeds, more snarky memes, fewer words and meaningful sentences in blogging so we can be just like Facebook and Twitter. Feh!
  • I distrust reliance on JavaScript.
  • You break my WP blog and I’ll find a new platform and host.
  • I have until 2022 to find a new platform. Maybe.
  • I just want to write. I don’t want more friction to banging out sentences.
  • There is a reason I hyperlink to stuff rather than embed.
  • /waves cane/ like grumpy old git.

Source: Chris Aldrich

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This is how WordPress plays “Joy Whack a Mole”:

Me: Yay, I made a neat new logo.  Happyhappyjoyjoy.  (Tries to install it on WordPress.)

Sempress Theme:  I insist that your logo be 50px X 50px.

Me: Are you daft?  Do you know how tiny 50 X 50 is?  That’s almost as small as a favicon. it looks silly.

Sempress Theme: Muhahaha!

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@simonwoods made a great point about (re)building the web and search.

I’m convinced the best answer to search is websites. Let people collect and curate the information, rather than play Google’s game and then inch-by-inch the alternative search becomes viable —

Do read that whole thread I linked to above and pay particular attention to Simon’s replies because he’s on to something.

Here are a couple of takeaways I want to highlight:

  1. We, the little people, need to rebuild the web.  It does not do to just complain about silos and then point out other corporate alternatives, first and foremost the web needs websites built by individual humans, not just corporations, SEO’s and people trying to get their hand in your pocket.  This is the foundation of everything.
  2. People will not leave the silos and corporate web unless there is an alternative, ie. someplace to go and that someplace to go is actually many places built by us. See #1 above.
  3. We should link freely from our sites to other sites we like.  This, literally, helps rebuild the hyperlinked network of threads that gives The Web it’s name.
  4. Discovery, and search, will sort itself out, if we do #1,2, and 3.  We may have to relearn how to surf the web again, and that is not a bad thing.
  5. Over time, we will eventually adapt to #4: humans will index this New Web we build using both old ways and new ways that have yet to invented.  And yes, machines are also likely to index it as well.  We may end up with 5,6, 10 or more favorite places we go to search and that is good.

I hope I am interpreting Simon’s thoughts fairly and accurately.  I wanted to highlight them before that thread fades away.

How to Start

It’s not a pipe dream.  It is ridiculously easy to make a website these days.  You don’t need to know HTML.  If you want to blog go to Micro.blog or WordPress.com.  If you do not want to blog and would prefer a static website, again go to WordPress.com, because it’s just as easy to build a static site there and omit the blog.

(Example: On my to-do list is to build a static website for my neighborhood’s Little Free Library.  It only needs to be 1 – 3 static pages.  I’m going to build it on WordPress.com.  It should not take long.)

The point is, everyone has some skill, idea, knowledge that is worth sharing and equally, there are other people looking for the information you have in your head and take for granted.  Share it. We need to build that alternative.

Of course not everyone is going to build a website.  But more of us should be.  More of us can, we just don’t know how.

Pro Tip: With Micro.blog you can build your own website/blog almost by accident, while you are posting to social networks.  Just use it to post away, the blog (website) just builds itself.  No effort.  🙂  Example: Mumblings by Simon Woods is a Micro.blog blog.

More posts on ideas for websites in future posts.

Feel free to add to the discussion: agree? disagree? please comment.

 

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WordPress has taken down a handful alt-right blogs, according to several complaints from affected blog owners and readers who claim the sites were removed from WordPress.com, despite not being in violation of the company’s Terms of Service. Some site owners also said they were not notified of…

Source: New WordPress policy allows it to shut down blogs of Sandy Hook deniers | TechCrunch

I like that this policy is written narrowly so as not to open the door to corporations using copyright claims to shut down any criticism.  This fixes a specific wrong.

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I just installed the new Aperture WordPress plugin.  I’m not real clear on what it does but it gives me access to Aperture and Microsub and, maybe, Monocle so it’s going in the direction towards an Internet home, which is good.

I’ve been kinda waiting for this, but also stalling a little to see how thing go.  This brings me closer and makes the process easier which is great.

See also: Indieweb.org

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Is WordPress.com quietly building a blog based social network with Reader?

I have no inside information, but the answer is, They are half way or more there.

Aside

If I were a good (slick) blogger I would fill this post up with neat screenshots of Reader pages that illustrate each of my key points.  You could then squint at these unreadable pics to your hearts content.  Instead, just go to WordPress.com and register.  You can see Reader for yourself.

/Aside

WP Reader is an aggregater of all the blogs hosted on WordPress.com PLUS remotely hosted installs of WordPress that use Jetpack.  Everytime you login to WordPress.com the first thing you see is the Reader.  The Reader is also on all the WP mobile apps.  You can search for posts and blogs by keywords and subscribe to (follow) any blog in the index.  The Reader can also serve up the newest posts on the system whether you have subscribed or not.

  1. The Reader is fast and attractive, well laid out and easy to use. It’s like a timeline.
  2. It is everywhere and has a huge user base.
  3. It can send you notifications if you want.
  4. You can “Like” a post from Reader.
  5. I think you can even comment on a post from Reader if the owner of the blog has comments turned on.
  6. Reader is a very powerful discovery tool.
  7. Reader is a powerful traffic tool. Not just one time traffic but repeat traffic. It is so easy to subscribe to a blog you will find yourself with followers soon after making a few posts.
  8. You can see who follows you in Reader.  They have a profile page.

Is all of this starting to sound like the foundations of a social network?  Admittedly it is a closed one, a silo open only to WP users.

What if’s…

But what happens if they give you the ability to add RSS feeds from any blog hosted anywhere?

What would happen if they adopt Indieweb webmentions from the Reader and all WP blogs? So you could comment on another blog from your blog but all in Reader.  And get replies. These types of Indieweb feed reader (see webmention link above) are already available, so it would be just a matter of WP coding these capabilities into Reader.  Don’t ask me how, I’m not a coder.

With just a few more features a de facto social network would emerge.  I don’t know if it would succeed.  I don’t know if it would be a good fun community or be filled with trolls.

If I were WP, I would be at least thinking about it in my off time.

Micro.blog is also a blog based social network and seeing how well it’s features work tells me you can have a successful community built around blogs.

All this is just speculation.  A social network may be the furthest thing on WP’s mind.  All I am pointing out is that the foundations are there at least by accident.

The inspiration for this post came from Greg McVerry.  He very astutely asked the same question in Indieweb chat room a week or so ago.  But, other pressing matters were being discussed so no more was said.  But Greg’s observation got me thinking so I thought I would start a discussion.

Could it be done? Do you think they are doing it?

 

Portage, Indiana, United States of America
83°F

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Announcements are starting to appear in my WordPress dashboard.  That means the hammer is about to fall soonish.  Maybe no next update but before the end of the year.  This is WP pounding the beach, prepping for the invasion.  Crap.

I’ve been reading the spiel from WP and they talk a lot about the editor.  My problem has never been the editor in WP, it’s been finding where the switches are in the admin panel.  The other problem with WP is when something does not work tracking down who the culprit is: a plugin, the template, operator error, the latest update,  some obscure setting?

Despite that, WP has always been cool because there were so many ways to add on to it, so many ways to customize it with plugins.  The answers I’ve seen about plugins still working have been dodgy.  And what about themes? Is my current theme going to break?

I have this feeling this is more about making WP better suited for commercial for profit blogging than it is about blogging.

 

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