Google is experimenting with added functionality to the Chrome browser that follows your browsing. It’s called Federated Learning of Cohorts, FLoCs. This is a way of tracking you for advertising purposes that doesn’t rely on third party cookies. That last bit sounds nice, but it is still very much based on active tracking, and this time it’s the Chrome browser itself that provides the data, turning Chrome into ad-delivery malware. You can opt-out with your Chrome browser, or better yet by not using Chrome, and also website owners can opt out their sites.

That is what I’ve done, opting out my WordPress site, by adding a small function to functions.php in my theme. Adtech cannot be aligned with the GDPR, so it wasn’t a decision at all.

WordPress seems to be planning to add that function to WordPress itself, starting from version 5.8, which should arrive in July. That sounds like a good step.

If that blocking is too successful however, I bet we’ll see opt-out settings actively ignored, like with the Do-Not-Track settings already.

Elmine, in her role as resident WordPress expert, pointed me to MainWP. MainWP is a tool that allows one to manage updates of WordPress and plugins, from a separate single WordPress instance.

That separate single WordPress instance doesn’t need to be online, and can be hosted locally. So I installed it on my laptop. That way there is no attack surface for the outside that would risk allowing access to my 6+ sites that run WordPress.

It turns out, an added benefit is that I can also post to any of those sites from this local instance. This has as an advantage that I can draft postings offline on my laptop, and then push them to a website when done. That should help me write more and with a lower threshold. It has a few drawbacks, as offline I don’t have access to some features I use regularly (post kinds, and more importantly previews).

This post serves as a test, posting from my wordpress instance on localhost.

Replied to https://boffosocko.com/2019/06/17/xfn-opml-files-and-blogrolls-oh-my/ by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (boffosocko.com)
I’ll see you your blogroll and add in images and descriptions as well! ... Perhaps what we really need is to give some love to that Link Manager in core to update it to OPML v2 and add in the rel attributes from XFN microformats to the links?

Thank you Chris for pointing out your work on your own blogroll, and how WordPress itself might be of use here.

Adding images is a nice feature. I added faces in my blogroll in 2003, because I generally subscribe to people not sources, and showing them in my blogroll was a nice way to visualise my blogging peer network, and make blogs look more like the social tools they are.


My blogroll in 2003

Bringing that back would be cool. Especially if relying on gravatars where possible.

So if I understand your postings correctly, the Links manager in WordPress also creates a separate OPML file. Now if this OPML file could e.g. be automatically loaded into a microsub server like Yarns, that would be even better. Then it would all be under the same WP roof.

I notice that the Links Manager allows categories and multiple at that, but tags next to categories would be even better. To do ‘Berlin coders into gardening posts this week’ type of searches in a reader. Having all the tags as categories would look cluttered in WP. I have little use for the defined XFN fields, I’d rather have tags that concern various facets of a blogger’s profile (tech, Drupal, infosec, parent, Barcelona, French, Arabic, rock climbing) to enable fast and detailed cross sections of my feeds. Having those tags here would presumably more easily allow me to carry them over into my reader somehow. Basically trying to figure out if WP Links manager could be the source of such data.

In terms of my ideal feedreader lots of the other features could then happen in a microsub/pub client.

One other question to explore: is there a way to bulk load links into the link manager. It is likely easier to build a spreadsheet with all relevant info for my current 200 feeds or so first. Do you add link by link by hand, Chris?

I have a ‘recent posts’ and ‘recent comments’ section in the sidebar. This seemed to create problems with the processing of webmentions, specifically with Aaron Parecki’s Xray library for grabbing structured info from any URL. It would find an apparently improperly micro-formatted link in the sidebar and take that as the URL of the posting referred to. This would create faulty likes on other people’s sites, which then would send webmentions to the wrong postings.

As recent posts and recent comments are only a navigational aid when you’re looking at things like the front page, search results and archive pages, I looked into if I can show them on those pages only. Because if those sections aren’t present on the pages of individual postings, they cannot cause problems when parsed for structure. This being a WordPress site, of course there’s a plugin for it, Widget Context. I installed it, removed the offending widgets from individual pages, and it looks like the problem has been solved.