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Jeremy Cherfas

We are still a long way from home

1 min read

Struggling to understand how different bits of the  work in WordPress, I received some very sound advice from lots of people, including this little exhortation from @chrisaldrich:

I'll admit I had to read it about 3 times before I grokked it myself, but it also was a great general and practical intro to the inherent value of microformats.

If that were what it took to grok Facebook or Twitter, would anyone beyond a small, self-selecting cadre of geeks be using them?

I thought not.

Jeremy Cherfas

Pride goeth ...

1 min read

Blast. Just when I was reaching around to pat myself on the back for making webmentions work on the Mothership, I notice some big problems.

First, the home page is all messed up with duplicates of many things. Doesn't seem to happen on the local version, which means it is going to be tricky as all get out to solve.

Secondly, the markup on the Mothership leaves a lot to be desired. That one will be a lot easier.

There are probably others too.

Jeremy Cherfas

Site deaths where you least expect them

1 min read

Language Log -- a useful site I really enjoy -- recently wrote again about the big debate on whether language shapes, constrains or otherwise has any effect on thought. But that's not why I'm noting it here. Instead, there's the reason why they're talking about it again.

In 2010 The Econonomist hosted a big debate on Language and Thought. It used a very spiffy web-enabled platform to host the debate, and a language academic thought it would make a dandy introduction to some readings she is poutting together on the topic. Alas ...

[T]he Economist's intro page on this debate leads only to an debate archive site that doesn't include this one; and the links in old LLOG posts are now redirected to the same unhelpful location.

A source at the magazine explained:

We vastly over-designed the debate platform (and over-thought it generally, in various ways), and when we stopped running the debates that way, we stopped running that bit of the website. The old debates are now unavailable online.

Fortunately for all concerned Language Log was able to find copies in the Internet Archive. 

But if it hadn't ...

Jeremy Cherfas

Buona fortunate con la sperimentazione. Se stai a Roma, forse ci incontriamo per sapere più di indieweb?

Jeremy Cherfas

Reflections on Two Years of #Indieweb

Really good debriefing on two years of progress in the . I found this rather familiar:

While learning all of the requisite skills was challenging, the real struggle in joining the indieweb was piecing all the components together to hold a mental image in my head of what an indiewebsite should be. I spent a great deal of time trawling through the wiki and absorbing all of the ideas on disparate pages. At the time, there were many pages which would all have slightly different variations of the similar information.

There's still a ways to go, mind. When I did this reply to automatically, the title of the entry came though as "kongaloosh". I added the correct title by hand myself. The entry title is there, as `p-name` and I cannot tell whether the issue is at my end (WithKnown) or at Alex's end.


Jeremy Cherfas

The value of explaining yourself

2 min read

My father was devoted to cryptic crossword puzzles. He was good, too, but every now and then a clue would stump him. If I was around, he would read the clue aloud to me and, more often than not, before I'd even had time to think about it, he had solved it.

There's something about the act of saying it aloud that makes a different kind of thinking possible.

So it was last night, during the Homebrew Web Club virtual meeting in Europe. There was only me and Zegnat, much of the time, and first we explored further his comment, during the recent Indieweb Summit talk about Events, that "most of the things discussed are already available and possible with the current IndieWeb building blocks". So I fired up WithKnown and created an event for the virtual HWC and he replied and the reply was received and published. Just like that. Of course there are some things that could be improved, but it does Just Work.

Thinking more about improving things, I shamelessly took advantage by asking a lot of ill-informed questions about how to move further in the indiewebification of my presence on the web. Martijn was so helpful and patient with me, and I learned a lot. But the truth is also that just by asking the questions out loud, and having to think clearly about how to do so, I was able to see more clearly how things might work.

It's still pretty cryptic, but I'm getting there.

Jeremy Cherfas

@shosh_yossef Whatever platform you choose, you might also want to consider being more

Jeremy Cherfas

The continuing saga of marking up status updates in @WithKnown

2 min read

I’ve been reminded by Chris Aldrich of something I think I knew before:

[M]ost major CMSes (including Known) strip out or severely limit (for security reasons) the html that is accepted in comment fields. … Many also will mark as spam comments that have one or more URLs in them. As a result doing fancy or even mildly complicated html or markdown in replies is something for which most platforms just don’t build.

That’s fair enough. As ever, spammers are spoiling things for everyone. I do have an objection, though. If I am legitimately signed into my own site which, in the , is where I will be if replying to some other site, then I’m unlikely to inject malicious code. And if I’m a spammer, and signed in under a false flag, then I’m not likely to need such subterfuges.

A really helpful CMS would, surely, allow me to do all the formatting I want on something I am generating myself, regardless of the specific type of entry.

Chris makes another point:

The other issue in status updates and replies is that they’re often syndicated to other platforms and it’s a more difficult issue to properly do this with each snowflake social media silo depending on how they individually handle html/markdown (or not).

Well, yes. But that’s not my problem on my site. Let them strip all they want, frankly, as long as the leave the link to my reply alone. As Chris acknowledges …

Either way, the end result on the other person’s site isn’t something I can ever control for, so I try not to sweat it too much. :)

For now, I think I’ll sweat this just a little, and add the u-in-reply-to by hand, and hope that does the needful.

Jeremy Cherfas

> I pray that you've known this all along, you'll forgive my "indiesplain", and that I'm not catching the subtlety of your original post.

[That post is here](

Thanks to Chris Aldrich for reminding me of the bookmarklet, which I do sometimes use, and which I sometimes forget to use.

I do seem to vaguely remember that there was a bit of a problem with Markdown. So let me test that here, with some **bold** and *italics*.

Seconds later: As I feared ...

I probably have to abandon Markdown. But why should I have to? People have been asking for the ability to switch on a per post basis forever.

Jeremy Cherfas


1 min read

Finally reached a key milestone in the deliverables of a big work-for-money, so was able to treat myself to an excellent video from the [IndieWebSummit 2017](

First up, for me, [Lillian Karabaic]( offering [A brief history of my website]( I noted a few things.

First, the video, audio and editing were top notch. Huge kudos to everyone who made this happen. They say content trumps technical quality, and it does, but when you're not fighting quality, the value of the content is so much more obvious.

Second, and much more important, Lillian's trajectory mirrors my own and, not surprisingly, I can relate strongly to everything she said -- good and bad -- about the . The help available is stellar, the documentation isn't great (I hope to work on that) and it is hard to evangelise.

So much left to do ...