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Biomedical and Electrical Engineer with interests in information theory, evolution, genetics, abstract mathematics, microbiology, big history, Indieweb, and the entertainment industry including: finance, distribution, representation







RSVP invited · Issue #156 · pfefferle/wordpress-semantic-linkbacks

When sends webmentions for people invited via a Facebook POSSE copy, the webmentions for these people don't show up properly in comments because `semantic_linkbacks_type` is set to "invite" instead of "rsvp:invited".

Manually effecting the change in the database provides the expected display. See:


Khürt, I can feel your pain. I know that SNAP just made a recent major release that changed a lot of it's code base, so I've been half purposely waiting to update while they work out some of the kinks. I'm just about to download the most recent and test it out on a server before I upgrade to the latest version on my production site, since the old version is still doing a relatively good job and it's a lot of overhead to update/upgrade going into the holidays.

There's a frequent phrase that many in the chat will use: by which they mean try doing everything manually to work on getting the output and workflow to work the way you want it to and only then try automating things based on your manual experience.

There are many ways of doing syndication, so before settling on one, try doing things by hand for a bit while you're testing out other potential options. I often find that even though I've got automated means of doing things very quickly, I actually often prefer the manual methods sometimes, particularly when it means I know exactly what the output will be. With POSSE you'll find that with some of the automated means, the easier it is to set up, the less options you'll have for control, while the more control you get means a much more difficult set up.

Try a few options and then go with what works for your needs until it drives you so crazy you have to change it. In the meanwhile, documenting the issues and problems either on your site or in issue queues will slowly help things get better.

In the end it can't be much worse than people who are syndicating their Facebook content to Twitter that simply shows up as just the raw URLs and nothing else. ;)


Replied to a post on :

Which sites are you syndicating to? I know it's the case that not all sites that SNAP supports are supported by Syndication Links. Most of the major ones like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are, but some of the lesser ones like Flipboard, 500px aren't.


@khurtwilliams A bunch of us are working on making it all easier in steps, but we're also doing it on a volunteer basis. Some of the key is knowing what it all comprises from a top-down perspective, then knowing what each of the individual pieces are and how they work. Nearly every week there's something new and cool. The key is to figure out which things you find the most useful and valuable and work on those one at a time.

It's a LOT easier now that it was even 8 months ago and will be measurably easier as time goes by. I'm currently writing a book on how to do it all at the level of "IndieWeb with WordPress for Dummies". Ideally it'll be as easy to do as signing up for a Twitter or Facebook account and just going, but we're not quite there yet, but it's getting easier to do the set up without knowing a lot of (or any) code. Hoping into the chat, going to a Homebrew Website Club or IndieWebCamp can be immeasurably helpful as well.

Again, if you want to do a quick conference call/video chat, I'm happy to help you out.


@khurtwilliams POSSE for WordPress can be tricky in part because, compared to most other IndieWeb pieces for WordPress, there are multiple different and varying ways to do it. Using one method could potentially conflict with another depending on how you set things up, though I think these are relatively few.

Your best bet is to hop into the channel of the IndieWeb chat and ask for help, particularly to discuss the specifics of what you'd like to do and what you expect.

In general, the more control and flexibility you want over the display of your POSSE posts, the more set up and work you have to put into it (e.g. SNAP), while the less control you have the more simple the set up (e.g. JetPack Publicize).

Things like publish functionality (or via the Publish plugin) can be more finicky for POSSE copies to silos because is parsing your site for the proper data to publish. (It does have a preview button built in to do manual tests if you need to.) This means that if your WordPress theme doesn't have the correct microformats markup (and often they don't), then you can get spurious results, particularly when it comes to crossposting photos.

Most of the main POSSE plugins and tech are very stable in fact, but they do require that you do a bit of reading and understanding what they do and don't do and what you can and can't control with them. Most all of them have GitHub repositories that you can post issues to and almost all the devs, maintainers, and community are happy to help you out and/or make changes to make the UI and documentation better.

As for backfeed from, it generally requires that the URLs of your post and the syndicated post have matching permalinks to be able to match the two up to send you the webmentions properly. You may have changed your settings, but one piece you appear to be missing is the Syndication Links Plugin which allows you to add u-syndication links to your posts so that knows which ones to send your responses to. Much of this is documented at It also looks like you don't have either an h-card or the appropriate rel-me links on your pages for Twitter, Facebook, et al. is pretty well documented, so you may want to take a look at some of the options there directly. If it helps, you can do a lot of interactive stuff with Bridgy by manually creating posts with specific html in your posts directly. Understanding how to do this can be helpful later when you switch to using a plugin to help automate part of those processes.

I'm sure I've got a few odd posts from ages ago when I tested things out, but when you say "I can also see from some of the failed posts on your website that you may experience the same issues." I'm curious which particular posts you mean? To my knowledge things I intend to syndicate out are currently working as I expect them to (aside from one quirk that occasionally spams the Indieweb chat with micropubbed posts which continually redirect, but that's specific only to me because of some experimental code I've been running). It is the case that I don't always syndicate everything to each and every silo target I could. I do very much pick and choose which things to syndicate to particular networks.

We'll help you get there yet!


Facebook Silences Rohingya Reports of Ethnic Cleansing


@billbennettnz @davewiner I think I mentioned to you that @Chronotope was mulling something over along these lines:

I'm curious if there's a middle ground? The way that @davewiner does his blog with updating hashes throughout the day would be interesting within news distribution, that way the URL changes, but at the same time it doesn't really. Example: (Naturally the ability to update RSS feeds over time would be useful---as he describes in this particular post--, but it would also depend heavily on how users are subscribing to their news.) In his case, the updates are categorized by day/date rather than topic or category which is what an unfolding story would more likely do in a digital news publication.

In some sense, these hashes are related to the IndieWeb concept of fragmentions:, though in their original use case, they're meant to highlight pieces within a whole. This doesn't mean they couldn't be bent sideways a little to serve a more news-specific piece that includes a river of updates as a story unfolds--especially since they're supported by most browsers. It would be much easier to syndicate the updates of the originals out to social media locations like Twitter or Facebook this way too. Readers on Twitter, for example, could see and be directed to the latest, but still have easy access to "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say.

Depending on implementation, news sites could offer a tl;dr toggle button that gives a quick multi-graph synopsis. As I recall USA Today and Digiday used to do something like this on longer pieces:
Here's a version of the functionality via the WayBackMachine that still works:

Imagine how powerful a long running story could be with all of these features? Or even snippets of inter-related stories which could be plugged into larger wholes? Eg: The Trump Administration's handling of North Korea seen in fact snippets over time spanning months while pieces of this could be integrated into a larger Trump Administration mega-story going back to January or even the beginning of his campaign. Someone who hasn't been following along could jump back months or years to catch up relatively quickly, but still have access to more context that is often missing from bigger pieces which need to stand on their own relatively.


@cdevroe @johnjohnston Ideally, it would be best if people were using their own blogs for direct replies. Then *if* they choose to syndicate those responses to, it would be best if were able to parse that reply and see the in-reply-to mf2 class to be able to properly find and thread the conversation on

I tend to treat as a feed reader of sorts, but for those who have their own blogs with webmentions (the case with this post right here), I'll definitely reply to their blog directly, though this can tend to dampen the conversation for those taking part on, but this is the case for the disjointed conversations happening on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Sometimes it's not always easy to keep the conversation on one's own site while simultaneously playing nicely with silos.

While is a great product that supports some interesting pieces, for those with their own sites and webmentions, it's still just another silo. The secret is to treat it the same way one would with Twitter, Facebook, or any other site you'd syndicate out to. Because is a hybrid site sitting between the old world and the new, how you use it and interact will have to change based on whether you're using it for hosting or not and whether you support niceties like Webmentions or not.

For me It's always been easier to post the start of the thread and then go to (or Twitter or Facebook) to continue a discussion with others knowing that I'll get the webmentions back to my site where I'll still manage to own the content. The tougher piece is for others (who also own their sites) to inject their reply via their own site into the original person's blog as well as the siloed conversation at the same time.


But just like Facebook has a HUGE cadre of geeky engineers who've been working for more than 10 years to make it work easily enough for your parents to use, we're the (currently small) group of geeky IndieWeb users who will eventually make it easy enough for everyone else too. ;)

I'd be willing to bet that far fewer of us in comparison can have a more dramatic effect on the web than Facebook has, even if it takes a somewhat longer timeline (and that mostly because we're all doing it on a hobby-ist basis and not full time).


I think a lot of the problem comes down to all of the siloed walls out there which are causing most of the friction. We're still relatively early days yet and only a tiny few are using the concept of salmention which would help keep running threads working properly. Admittedly having the context live somewhere and then having proper threaded communications isn't easy, so many do what they're able to for the moment.

I'm usually attempting to manually accomplish salmention as best as I'm able, but I may not hit every syndicated target unless you're displaying it directly. Additionally some targets just don't make sense--I'll webmention your original, for example, but this lengthy reply just won't look right at if you syndicated a simple headline and URL there, so why bother since you'll see it at the original anyway? Others who are on may miss out on part of the conversation, but presumably if they're looking at your copy on, they'll be able to see the original as it was intended.

Colin, you mention that not all of your content needs to go to Perhaps, but to think so in my mind is part of the older silo way of thinking. The only reason you're syndicating there is as a stopgap to reach the people who don't currently have the time or luxury to be doing things the way you are. Otherwise they could subscribe to you directly at the source (and potentially even circumscribe the types of posts, keywords, or content to get exactly what they want from your site.) In some sense you syndicate there to reach and communicate with the non-IndieWeb crowd. Perhaps some of your content doesn't make as much sense there as is limited in what it is able to do, but that is its limitation, not yours. Eventually in a fully IndieWeb-ified world, everyone would have their own domain, their own data, and syndication of any sort won't have a real need to exist at all.

As to Jack's comment, syndicating things out to multiple places is often difficult as is getting all the responses back. (Fortunately services like make things far easier though they don't cover all the bases.) I do it in large part because while I prefer to own all of my content and have all the conversation take place on my personal site, I can't necessarily make that choice for everyone else. My mom is likely to never have her own domain much less a site. The only way she'll see my content (whether it's meant for her or not) is to syndicate it to Facebook. For those who aren't yet aware of the IndieWeb or using it, they're still reading and interacting on other platforms, which, for me is fine since I can still have my cake and eat it too. Eventually there will be inexpensive platforms that will let people who don't want to deal with the development cost and overhead that allow much of the IndieWeb-types of functionalities they're not currently getting from their silo platforms for free. I suspect that these will be easier and easier (as well as cheaper) to use over time. I suspect more people will use them for their freedom, flexibility, and increased control. Until then, I have the privilege of using my site much the way I would Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Flickr, GoodReads, etc., etc., I just get to do it through a more unified experience instead of having to juggle dozens of accounts and only being able to interact with my fractions of friends, family, and colleagues who coincidentally happen to be spending the time and effort to interact on those websites. As an example, I have dozens of friends who interact with me on Facebook about things I'm currently reading or finished reading, but if I was only doing this on GoodReads, they'd never have a chance to see it as they don't have accounts there or even know it exists. (Coincidentally, this is also the reason that GoodReads and most other silos allow one to syndicate their accounts to Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Not all social sites are as lucky as Facebook to have such massive adoption. This creates a value imbalance with respect to the classic "network effect" (see: Philosophically I think that an decentralized and distributed version of IndieWeb philosophies add far more value than having hundreds or even thousands of individual silos.

Invariably some people are likely to stick with Twitter, Facebook, or others because they don't have the same values I do. (Currently I suspect the majority do it because it's frictionless and easy.) But this doesn't change the fact that one can't have a "universal" conversation if one prefers. When I look at various platforms, some of them have different personalities and types of conversations because of the (possibly) self-selecting group of people on them. I loved Twitter more in the early days because of it's smaller and more engaged community--things have naturally changed drastically since those early days. is a bit more like it now, but to me it's not so much a social media replacement for Twitter. To me it's really a social reader that I use to quickly follow a subset of interesting and thoughtful people until I have a better social reader built into my own site. The conversation would be somewhat different if these silos were working on niche audience content like knitting or quantum mechanics, but typically they're not. Most social silos are geared toward mass adoption and broad topic discussion or content posting for everyone/everywhere. Their goal is for their site to be the proverbial "phone number and dial-tone of the web". Why do this when I already have a connection and a "phone number" that is my own site URL?

Jack, while some bloggers have turned off comments, they've often done so saying "Post your reply on your own site, or on Twitter, Facebook, etc." This has just pushed the conversation on their ideas off somewhere else which is disconnected and not as easily searchable or discoverable. And without some kind of notification mechanism, the author of the original post has no idea it exists. (I'll elide a conversation about blocking trolls and abuse here.) I've written some thoughts on comments sections in reply to such a blogger who recently re-enabled comments which also links to several interesting articles about the pros/cons of having comments at all. To me, between webmentions, spam filtering, and even moderation, we're lightyears ahead of where we were in the early 2000s.

One other thing I do find interesting is that the way all of this is set up is allowing us the ability to write extended thoughts and extended multiple replies (with civility as relative strangers). I don't think there are many sites on the web that allow this type of interaction, and they certainly don't do it with anything remotely close to the open architecture we're using. While at times it can be a headache for maintenance and problems, I find far more value in it than using anything else.


.@TheNextWeb has an interview/highlight story featuring my Facebook Algorithm Mom Problem article:


Replied to a post on :

Are birthday wishes likely the most common examples of this type of post?
eg: (sadly the audience for this may not be public, and worse, doesn't seem to be changeable.)


Sure enough. Mom Likes it! ❤️

Since my post hit #1 on Hacker News and blew up the article in a whole different way, I thought I ought to change the audience setting on Facebook to public so mom could finally see it.

Sure enough it only took about 10 minutes from the time of the change for my mom to not only "like" it but to "heart" it. This time she went over-and-above and also wrote a note too.

I love my mom!


For the syndicated portfolio, you might want to take a peek at the PressForward plugin for WordPress []. While it is a stand-alone feed reader under the hood and could be used for creating an editorial flow, it will let you use a simple bookmarklet on your work published on another site to make a quick and complete copy of the post on your own site. Within the plugin settings you can set a "time to forward" (I use one second) such that people who visit that particular post will be automatically forwarded to the original (and canonical URL) on the commissioning outlet's site.

As an example, compare: (which is a bookmark with some commentary pointing to my post)
to (which is an exact copy of my post, which only I can see on my backend, that redirects the viewer to the original on AltPlatform).

This is beneficial as you can syndicate (POSSE) the post with your own URL to Facebook, Twitter, et al. and folks who click to read will be sent to your site for a moment before being forwarded on to the original. Thus you get a ping and the original outlet also gets a ping (as well as the advertising revenue for it.) And if, for any reason, the original outlet goes out of business, gets sold, or disappears, you've got a word-for-word copy of your original and can simply un-forward it so that it can appear on your site as it was originally published. Naturally if you prefer and the outlet doesn't stipulate otherwise, you could publish the original to your site and not forward it (or even forward it for an exclusivity window of time pre-agreed with the original publisher.)

Additionally, if you're using for backfeed, anyone who comments on your POSSE copies will have their commentary sent to your site. While others won't necessarily be able to see the commentary (if you're forwarding the URL to the publisher's original), at least you'll be aware of it and can reply to it and get your own replies in return. I suspect that in the future may be able to scrape commentary based on the syndicated URL so that your personal version aggregates commentary from the publisher's original as well as mentions of it on Facebook, Twitter, et al.

There are still some missing pieces I'd like to see in such a workflow for journalists, but it's slowly and surely getting somewhere.

(I've written about other parts of PressForward before at as I also have an off-label use-case to replace read it later apps like Pocket and InstaPaper.)