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Kevin Marks

sending webmentions for all links in #indieweb #yesvember

1 min read

A while back I built which is a webmention sending tool with a couple of differences - you can set it as your webmention endpoint, and it will pass through webmentions, but it will also cache the mentions itself, in case the linked URL doesn't have an endpoint.

What it didn't have was a way to look for all outbound mentions and send them for a post, so I added that tonight. It may need to work more carefully wiht h-feeds, but with an h-entry it should be OK.

Try it out at


Kevin Marks

Rel-me, mastodon and browser plugins

1 min read

If you go to an account on, like you can see that it now verifies rel=me links:

However not all mastodon instances have updated to 2.6.1 yet, eg

Help is at hand though - with the verify-me chrome plugin it will check when you click the green tick:

And if you go try this on the version, you can check their checkmarks should be checked:

Which is helps see if aral is being sneaky.

Kevin Marks

How do we replace Flickr? #Indieweb #Yesvember

4 min read

Flickr, like all successful social software, is different things to different people. When something is done well, we internalize the communities that we interact with on it as part of the character of the place.

Just two average guys, minding their own business, walking down the street in SF.  The usual.  This is usual, right?

Flickr was intentionally built as a community - it had community guidelines and a welcoming presence from Heather Champ and George Oates, who tummelled it brilliantly, welcoming new people and setting the tone.

Don MacAskill, Smugmug CEO and new owner of Flickr, wants to retain this:

We bought Flickr because it’s the largest photographer-focused community in the world. I’ve been a fan for 14 years. There’s nothing else like it. It’s the best place to explore, discover, and connect with amazing photographers and their beautiful photography. Flickr is a priceless Internet treasure for everyone and we’re so excited to be investing in its future. Together, hand-in-hand with the the most amazing community on the planet, we can shape the future of photography.  

However, he also wants to change things, in particular he wants to undo Yahoo's 'Free TB of storage' model:

In 2013, Yahoo lost sight of what makes Flickr truly special and responded to a changing landscape in online photo sharing by giving every Flickr user a staggering terabyte of free storage. This, and numerous related changes to the Flickr product during that time, had strongly negative consequences.

First, and most crucially, the free terabyte largely attracted members who were drawn by the free storage, not by engagement with other lovers of photography. This caused a significant tonal shift in our platform, away from the community interaction and exploration of shared interests that makes Flickr the best shared home for photographers in the world. We know those of you who value a vibrant community didn’t like this shift, and with this change we’re re-committing Flickr to focus on fostering this interaction.

I get this, but the heuristic that Don has chosen—free photos will be limited to 1000, and the oldest ones will be deleted first—is likely to damage the original community feeling that he wants to preserve. Ton points out the Creative Commons ethos, but it is an earlier mode that I want to point to.

In the early years, before cameras in cellphones and huge bandwidth became commonplace enough that we all had photostreams, Flickr was the place where we shared a community record of events. We'd upload our photos and tag them together to make a shared sense of occasion. I know if I want to remember etechmicroformats first anniversary or the vloggies, the photos will be there.

DSCN0375Microformats One Year Anniversary PartyLike Father, Like Son

However, a lot of these photos are from free users, and they may have gone over 1000, so the collages will be ruined.

I'd like to suggest a more subtle heuristic. If images are public, and tagged, and especially if they are creative commons, Flickr should retain them to preserve this archive. If as Don says there are 3% of users with many thousands of photos that are private, they will still be hit by this without enclosing the commons.

On the creative commons side, the Internet Archive can download those:

As for the people who want a big private archive of photos for free, send them to Google Photos, who love users like that (and will run machine learning over them for fun and profit).

Meanwhile, over in the fediverse, pixelfed is just getting started.

Kevin Marks

Douglas Adams on digital ID

2 min read

“It was an Ident-i-Eeze, and was a very naughty and silly thing for Harl to have lying around in his wallet, though it was perfectly understandable. There were so many different ways in which you were required to provide absolute proof of your identity these days that life could easily become extremely tiresome just from that factor alone, never mind the deeper existential problems of trying to function as a coherent consciousness in an epistemologically ambiguous physical universe. Just look at cash point machines, for instance. Queues of people standing around waiting to have their fingerprints read, their retinas scanned, bits of skin scraped from the nape of the neck and undergoing instant (or nearly instant --- a good six or seven seconds in tedious reality) genetic analysis, then having to answer trick questions about members of their family they didn't even remember they had, and about their recorded preferences for tablecloth colours. And that was just to get a bit of spare cash for the weekend. If you were trying to raise a loan for a jetcar, sign a missile treaty or pay an entire restaurant bill things could get really trying. 

Hence the Ident-i-Eeze. This encoded every single piece of information about you, your body and your life into one all- purpose machine-readable card that you could then carry around in your wallet, and therefore represented technology's greatest triumph to date over both itself and plain common sense.”

Mostly Harmless, 1992

Kevin Marks

Kevin Marks

Kevin Marks

The indieweb includes RSS and much more, but @davewiner is still resisting change.

2 min read

Dave Winer writes:

Richard has turned to IndieWeb for the latest on open web tech. That's fine, but you have to look elsewhere too, because as he's discovered, they only embrace part of the open web. It's too bad they chose such an inclusive name, but have an exclusive approach. For example, they have avoided RSS, for reasons I'm sure I don't understand (I've listened, so no need to repeat the reasoning). We need all the advantages we can get because there are serious headwinds these days for blogging. RSS is serious open web technology. To not build on it is unthinkable, for me at least. #

As is often the case, Dave is focused on RSS rather than the web per se. Indieweb does build with RSS, along with Atom, json-feed, Activity Streams as well as h-feed and h-entry. The feedreader I use, woodwind, reads h-feed, RSS and Atom, shows posts as a river, and integrates posting to your own site through micropub.

So Indieweb is inclusive, whereas Dave does tend to be resistive to new technologies -this was his original view on JSON:

No doubt I can write a routine to parse this, but look at how deep they went to re-invent, XML itself wasn't good enough for them, for some reason (I'd love to hear the reason). Who did this travesty? Let's find a tree and string them up. Now.

Nowadays he happily uses JSON, so maybe he'll be inclusive of microformats and the indeweb derived standards like webmention and micropub someday too. I even sent him a pull request.


Kevin Marks

Day 9: Previewing Mastodon instances as h-feed #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

I was watching Christopher try to decide which mastodon instance to join. This made me realise that we need a way to preview instances’ local and federated streams. So I made one: Here's and here's

How this works is that from mastodon 1.1.1 the public timeline json api no longer needs authentication, so I can read it by default. I do this, then use a tempate to render it as an h-feed compliant view.

I also added a list of known instances from, though I wasn't able to  fetch the list dynamically.

I hope you find a mastodon insatcne community that you like.


Kevin Marks

My rev-canonical misstep with @kellan

1 min read

While writing up the rel-canonical I found an old mistake I made :

Kellan picked it up and ran with it but rel=shortlink is much clearer

Kevin Marks

Day 8: A specification for rel=canonical, by request #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

Domenic pointed out that rel=canonical was not well specified in the HTML spec. We had a stub page on the microformats wiki, so I expanded it into a more detailed discussion.

I tried to follow my mantra that 'standards should be documentation, not legislation' by explaining and linking rather than just writing a list of imperatives without much explanation. 

Do let me know what you think