Via Frank Meeuwsen I came across a.gup.pe which says it creates instant groups for Fediverse.

  • You can join groups by following a group account like @grouptopic@a.gup.pe
  • Mentioning a group’s name will get it distributed to all followers of that group
  • Any mention of @sometopic@a.gup.pe that isn’t a group yet, will automatically create that group (much like my 33mail set-up does for email addresses.)

It seems to me it basically works as a repeater. Mentioning a group’s name will get your message boosted to all those who follow the group’s profile. Basically it boosts all posts on a topic you follow into your home timeline. Different than #tags because to follow those I need to set-up an additional column in my Mastodon interface.

When groups are small then this is potentially useful. But big topics will attract spammy behaviour soon I suspect. Suddenly you have the type of asymmetric amplification that otherwise doesn’t exist on Mastodon. Moderation is not done on the side of gup.pe I think. Anyone can send to the group, not just followers so there’s no route to moderation even. You’d need to mute or block unwanted boosts yourself. The flipside is that it may speed up discovery of new interesting accounts, and allows the type of group interaction that would otherwise require being e.g. in the same instance to be able to find/cluster together. I fear that noise easily will overcome such groups, but for now worth an experiment. I’ve created and joined a few groups from both my personal and work accounts, to see how it plays out over time.

I hadn’t really looked, but it turns out that Mastodon has incorporated microformats. It has h-feed and h-card, h-entry (a status), and h-cite (a boost). Plaint text properties (p-), e-content, and link properties (u-) are implemented. Indeed, they all surface when looking at a profile’s HTML source. This is what makes it possible to e.g. follow Mastodon feeds as h-feed, next to the existing RSS output and ActivityPub, and that e.g. Brid.gy can do its work to carry over any interaction on a Mastodon post to a blogpost here.

What I haven’t found was what I was looking for.
The ActivityPub protocol in its specs has several so-called Activity Types that drew my attention:

In short ActivityPub supports FourSquare and Dopplr like check-ins and travel plans. I’ve recently added that to my site in terms of microformats and was still wondering how to create a useful stream for it. I’ve been thinking about an OPML outline with schema.org attributes, or a dedicated RSS feed or h-feed. An ActivityPub stream might be of interest too, or even more. There’s a PHP implementation of ActivityPub that includes these Activity Types as well, meaning there’s potential to experiment for me.

I wonder, are there any actual implementations of these ActivityPub types currently?

I just watched this video about using the Map View plugin in Obsidian, which allows you to visualise the existence of notes grouped by geo-location on a map. The Map View plugin allows viewing and organising notes along a dimension that is currently missing in my notes, geographic location. I do have an overview of all my travel since the late eighties in my notes. The creator of the video, Zsolt is the creator of both the Obisidian Excalidraw and Brain plug-ins, which I both enjoy using and recommend. So when he suggests a plugin by someone else, it piques my curiosity.

Now I am of course thinking about integrating that with my check-in forms for this site enabling individualised Plazes. Specifically it may play a role in determining venue or location.

Would it be doable to, like I’m already posting from my notes to the site, automatically create an optional check-in record here when I create a geolocated note in Obsidian? Or the other way around, to have a check-in made through the webform also create a note in Obsidian?

Following up on “How to federate like our business ecosystem” I went ahead and created a Mastodon-instance for my company. It’s at m.tgl.eu. Next to me and a generic ‘team’, three colleagues have created an account, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll be active or not.

Some observations:

  • The distinction between separate accounts can cause confusion. On Twitter one is conditioned to see one account as ‘all of me’. On e-mail however we have different mail addresses for different contexts, of which work and private mail addresses are the most common two. To make the distinction visible between my personal and company account I used different avatars.
  • Some of our team have been hesitant about the context collapse between work and private life. E.g. sharing phone numbers, or posting work related material on your personal social media accounts. This is completely understandable (even if for me personally all work has come from personal interests so there’s an almost complete overlap between work and private, even if not the other way around: almost all of my work would fit in my private context, not all of my private context would fit in my work context.)

Having company accounts could help, as having different accounts for different contexts works as a sort-of category filter for the types of content that are being shared. I notice that from my work account I now do follow organisational accounts, whereas from private accounts I usually avoid doing that.

That’s all on the individual level.

The actual experiment here is to see a) what occurs if everyone in the team has an individual voice in their professional context and b) how that works out across organisations in our ecosystem. Does it lead to different types of interaction, more low threshold casual interaction, between people from organisations we regard as part of our ‘scene’? It’s a type of collectiveness that is impossible on global platforms like Twitter. It’s based on a locally more dense network between specific groups of people. As yet, this is still entirely theoretical, as it depends on other organisations also having such instances, from which people connect to us. Having at least our instance makes it possible to start the experiment if there’s at least one other. Maybe having ours helps that second one to start.

Bookmarked What IndieBlocks Does, and Why by Jan Boddez

I really need to start testing Jan’s IndieBlocks plugin, to see if it allows me to switch to WordPress Gutenberg. If yes, I think it will allow me to also do a few things with my site to make it less blog-centric. Because from what I’ve seen from E’s work on my company’s site, Gutenberg makes that easier than writing a theme from more or less scratch which I’ve been balking at for some time, aka 2 years.

I probably will need to set-up one of my test WP sites (nicknamed proto and meso) with IndieBlocks. A key thing to test will be if interacting with the site through my Micropub client(s) needs to be changed. I now push everything into a raw html text that gets submitted to the site, and I don’t know in what ways that would need to be different in Gutenberg blocks, and how it might change how I need to talk to the micropub end-point.

Because nearly everything in IndieBlocks is configurable, it will be possible to keep using the other IndieWeb plugins beside it. Simply disable the bits you don’t need!

Jan Boddez

In antwoord op Name Pronunciation And Spelling Mistakes van Wouter Groeneveld en Over het verhaspelen van namen van Max Roeleveld

Bij mij wordt van Ton nog wel eens Tom gemaakt, juist ook als ze al een Tom kennen want dan zit dat meer in hun vingers als ze typen (en de n en m zitten ook naast elkaar). In gesprekken wordt er wel naar gevraagd (twee- of driepoot?). Mijn achternaam levert meestal de vraag op of het met een korte of lange ei/ij moet. Tenminste in Nederland. Buiten NL gebruik ik als voornaam wat vaker Anton, dat geeft helderheid. Zijlstra spreekt men liever niet uit, het wordt geregeld “Mr Anton”. Bij het schrijven van mijn achternaam eindigt vooral vaak, ongeacht het land, een l midden in de ij. Vandaar ook de y in mijn blogadres (en omdat zijlstra.org niet beschikbaar was in 2002). Als buitenlandse contacten een vliegticket voor me boeken is het daarom oppassen, dat gaat makkelijk mis. Dan probeert Mr Zijlstra te vliegen als Mr Ziljstra en kom ik niet altijd aan boord. Het ergst wordt mijn achternaam verhaspeld na meervoudige transliteratie, zoals eerst naar het cyrillisch (op een event) en dan weer naar latijns schrift (in de Engelse vertaling van het Russisch-talige verslag van het event). Dan herken ik mijn naam niet terug.

Flemish and Dutch businesses, teachers, governments, and shops seem to have a very difficult time correctly spelling my name…

Wouter Groeneveld

Wouter blogt over naamsverhaspelingen waar hij zoal aan is blootgesteld. Sommige daarvan zijn, eh, creatief. … Hoe zit dat met mijn lezerschap?

Max Roeleveld

“Антон Зильстра, senior expert on open data, Netherlands”. Image license cc by nc sa.