Cap a una lliure distribució de converses

I would like to make constructive criticism to the ones that like bloggers here in, have decided to have a space to enunciate, to talk and to create knowledge. One of the reasons is to present alternatives to the gray landscape that comes with concentration and capitalization of vectors where information flows. I will talk about common infrastructure and   silos ,an analogy that I think is so accurate when it comes to structures in information systems that are poorly related to other structures, so they prevent the free exchange of data.


Any network consists of nodes and links between them. Whether removed content creators (nodes) as infrastructure and communication technologies (links) network ceases to exist. In this post I will not discuss how to regulate the links between content creators and consumers on the basis of the conflict, there is a lot writtings about this topic...

When you create content, there comes a time when you should draw a strategy to generate network while blocking certain network topologies which prevent to express yourself with maximum autonomy and personality. We heard by every way imaginable that we should try to move towards free distribution of content,   Paul Baran graphics on decentralization and distribution networks to make them resilient are common in   reports and studies .But to do so, in addition to generating content (become active nodes), we should think about the relationship and how to care for the link between us and our conversations, especially when there is a tendency to abuse it by successive reforms of intellectual property .

Analyzing the possibilities that are currently creating content nodes to become active and productive, we can put them on a scale according to the degree of restriction, brokerage, and control (monitoring). Within this division if on one side there are the   silos , websites that offer content publishing often owned by large companies (twitter, facebook, gplus ...), on the other there is the   blogosphere .According to the proposed features by , we oppose them:

  • Requirement to create an identity in situ Vs. Flexible identity determined by the user.
  • Isolated communication: between the users of this site Vs. Communication with any contact of any network.
  • Creation of content of a specific type. Vs. Creation of any content (text, hypertext, images, video, audio).
  • Restriction when indexing whole content Vs. Indexing possibility.
  • Accept terms of service and terms of use Vs. Create your own terms.
  • Obligation to transfer part of the authorship or license of any created content Vs. Flexible autorship and licensing (it's up to you).
  • Restricts your ability to import/export your content, or content about your content (e.g. comments, tags) Vs. Possibility to export according to the possibilities and technical skills
  • Temporal context creation, transforming conversations to ranking in short time (for example, if you want to use Twitter as a channel for feedback, you will find that the talk lasts one week ) Vs.Generation of permanent context (limited to the existence of the blog).
  • Scalability by corporation decisions Vs. Scalability depending on technical skills and framework.

While to get some features you are dependent on the technical skills and infrastructure (often requires paying a hosting), you can enjoy much autonomy if you get a blog with a provider like, so on the degree of autonomy remains significant as compared to the all-in-one solutions as facebook.

So, I think we can accept that nowadays the more independent system to create content is still the blog. However there are some components of user experience in which the blog hasn't continued to innovate while silos do : Likes, shares, retweet ...Actions that have enabled new content streams and new relationships. Although they can be criticized of aggregation behaviors tend that decrease interaction, we must admit that there has been innovation and in many cases the users themselves(without previous strategy by provider) are the ones that have implemented improvements. An example of this is   semantic topics of debate via twitter hashtag .Interestingly in autonomous areas as blogosphere networks, the degree of improvement by content creators, is not frequent, at least much less valued and displayed.

As regards the social interaction of blogs it remains in 1) comments and in 2) mentions. Comments are reactions flow on a blog entry(the wall). I think Mentions are one of the cornerstones; They are a warning when someone links to your blog, and currently the most common way is to do it through   pingbacks (I am ignoring trackbacks, as they are too weak against spam): When someone mentions my text, whether to recognize, to reflect, or for whatever reason, I can accept the conversation and publish on my entry that the text has been referred in a remote blog entry.It is the social part of blogging that allows the federation of content and the articulation of agreements peer to peer (I am expresing myself from my space, who mentioned me acts in the same condition). So conversation is on equal terms. But surprisingly, this little gem of interaction is often ignored and even disabled, it is an old technology that is not understood visually and does not provide anything. For example, in Radical Community Manager workshops, I saw that in the training about content creation tools, the pingbacks were deactivated by default without debate. I think it is a strategic mistake, since not giving the possibility of interaction and conversation follows the logic of creating new parliaments, where who is speaking doesn't listen to the listener.

What is true is that it is an old technology that hasn't been improved since the technology has not changed too much since 2002 .This becomes critical because in the case of blogs the link between nodes is sufficient but inefficient and could be richer. I'm not talking about putting social media icons or SEO campaigns. I mean how to deepen the essence of the blog, allowing the network to continue talking, improving the context and details of the conversation. As I said before, if we don't take care of the links among us, all nodes suffers. In this sense a new simple and efficient mechanism appears to solve some shortcomings: the   webmentions .This protocol tries to make simple and standard communication in the blogosphere because it uses   Standard HTTP instead of  pingbacks' xmlrpc .Also it proposes the implementation of "social" actions categorizing mentions as Likes, Repost, Reply , although not enough, this implementation draws a more interactive blogging and opens the door to a rich conversation.

Going further, I think that in front of the idiosyncrasies and specificity of each silo or restrictive "social network" when we talk about indexing content, it is necessary to seek out improvements in the federation of content and conversations, that would mean a substantial added value of blogging systems. And what a better way than to follow the distributed way that allows http protocol? Going even further we can bet the semantization via RDF or JSON-LD to deal with the APIs that are used in major hubs, that usually reduces content to an artificial scarcity. Why semantics? because when you see the mention that you made me, it should be easy to discover the author, the content of entry, date, comments ...

To do this, it would mean that it is important that blogs open a section explaining what possibilities of interaction are offered. A section telling that:

  • This blog publishes content enriched through RSS protocols in:______
  • This blog publishes resources described via RDFa 1.1 in each node.
  • This blog allows webmentions, comments and pingbacks.

We would love to articulate conversations so comfortable and so the idea is to implement properly pingbacks and webmentions.

The way it works is that when I publish a blog entry, and someone mentions it, the references system goes to the place where mention comes and seeks for the context of the reference. With pingbacks is simply a statement of the type:

... On the way described method is a formula of ...

It provides little or nothing.

The problem is how the reources are described: we need a more careful context. It would be interesting to get the author, date, blog, tags, pictures ... But mainly, define the description of the entry and the body of the article, in order to allocate scrapping resources to look bold phrases instead of dealing with silos' widgets. The degree of permeability of your website depends not only on the fact that it has a pleasing design and it is optimized for readability, it's required to enrich the link and make it stronger, especially now that some laws tends to criminalize it. We need that each blog understands with each others, and in the same way as a link leads to another, we are at one step to get the clicked link to perform an action (to be known if it is a response, if it is of type favorite or like, or if it is wanted to share the content you mention it ...).

If some proposal was described in 2010 at   Now it seems that is the leading voice when it comes to description of resources, but regardless of this, we still have foaf, sioc ...If not enough with them you can always create specific ontologies to your community, extending some existing ones. It may seem complicated, but for simple content such as blog entries it should not be, especifically when we have written examples like .We have both   webmentions plugins as rdf plugins for blog services (there is a version for drupal to github, which I am bringing them hours ), there are also services which capture mentions of our blogs to prevent and break the commons enclosures .

But there are also dangers. It is paradoxical that some value on the free distribution of content methods, such as RDF, gets distorted when appears the word SEO. Then useful federation could become just marketing to bring up your post on top of the seek results. We must highlight the tools and perceive them beyond allowing Google to fix the shop window that   each blog owns .So SEO is an additional benefit, not the main purpose, and we have to take care in not giving or sublicense our own resources and responsabilities. For example: Google will put a picture on your search index with your blog but to get that "rich snippet"   you must transfer your identity to Google Plus .We must take advantage of progress as a community and between communities, not only allocate them to enrich the middlemen and thus give them the benefit of owning our resources. As always think the web and its distribution standards for the peer exchange, not for centralization.

So far, had built a system of dual pingbacks and trackbacks. From now, we incorporate webmentions system, and we use still the pingbacks while we cancel the trackbacks, because in all the time that we have had them active, we only received 4 good ones (coming from the same planet) and about 2500 that were spam.

In drupal, semantics default is done via RDFa 1.0 in every content type, some microformats and html 5 tags that helps define the good content. The mechanisms of interaction will be reflected in the entrance (un) API in footer's menu   .In addition we have added   microformats , some specifications and RDFa 1.1.So the content will get foaf, sioc, og and specifications. Trying to implement standards when possible. So can we keep the web talking again?


Molt interessant el tema, me guarde el post per rellegir-lo i provar alguns plugins en wordpress.

Jo he fet algunes proves amb FoaF i OpenID per l'enregistrament, açò últim sense molt d'èxit. També tinc una guerra oberta amb els pingbacks/trackbacks (no entenc molt bé la diferència entre els dos) en RSS, no aporten molt en xarxes espesses i no se filtrar-los, si estigueren un un feed distint seria molt millor.

Aniré fent proves i les relataré en el blog, espere que continuem investigant.

Un plaer i salut!

In reply to by Litox

El plaer és meu! Pel que tinc entès, el trackback és un avís en un sentit:  Té l'extracte de la menció en l'avís d'aquesta(per tant no té validació intrínsica). Mentre que el pingback és un avís de menció en dos sentits: Ja que l'avís va sense informació extra, i es compta que hi haurà validació quan el mencionat busqui l'enllaç al cos del text que el menciona. Així a nivell de spam s'entén que el pingback serà més segur. 

Sobre separar mencions i comentaris. En drupal, comentaris i mencions són entitats diferents i es poden indexar de manera molt flexible i separada, en wordpress ni idea ... crec que t'hauràs d'endinsar en el codi o posar camps extres als comentaris ( ).

A veure què tal els webmentions amb wordpress...

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