Henrik Carlsson's Blog

All things me.

Replying to micro.blog posts, directly from my blog

posted this note on and tagged it with IndieWeb micro.blog

Lately I’ve started to use micro.blog more actively again. As part of that I’ve also started to reply more to posts and have stimulating conversations. That made me realise that those conversations might be of interest to have on my own site, so I should really try to set up my system so that I can reply to micro.blog posts directly from my blog. Yesterday some free time opened up during the evening so I gave it a go and it more or less works.

So first off, here’s my setup. I self host a WordPress blog. It uses a theme that I’ve made myself and quite a few plugins that I didn’t make. The important plugins in this context should be IndieWeb, Post Kinds, Semantic-Linkbacks and probably most important Webmentions.

There’s a help page on micro.blog about called ”Replies and @-mentions” that tells us that:

For an external blog post that is a reply to a specific Micro.blog post, the external blog can send a Webmention to Micro.blog. As long as the sending blog is associated with a Micro.blog user, that post will be copied to Micro.blog as a reply and threaded into the conversation. Micro.blog’s Webmention endpoint is: https://micro.blog/webmention

So that’s what I tried to set up. I created an iOS Shortcut for my iPhone and iPad that I can trigger from the ”Share” menu in the micro.blog app that creates the hyperlink and fills in the @username-part. It then asks me for my reply as input text and finally sends it off to my blog.

On the Mac I don’t have quite such a nice automation workflow yet. Instead I just have a TextExpander snippet to fill in the hyperlink a bit faster.1

I also mark up the hyperlink with class="u-in-reply-to", though from the help text I suspect that’s not fully necessary.

Getting things working

The thing I knew I had to tweak was the part about how ”as long as the sending blog is associated with a Micro.blog user”. I’ve had multiple people reporting to me before that my webmentions shows up as sent by anonymous rather than as me, so I figured I had to sort that out first. To do that I used the Indiewebify.me service and checked how well my blog did the ”Become a citizen of the IndieWeb” and ”Publishing on the IndieWeb Level 2 – 1. Mark up your content (Profile, Notes, Articles, etc…) with microformats2” parts.

They showed that I had some tweaking to do, mostly because I had mistakenly only marked up part of my h-card as such so a lot of things where missing.

When that seemed to work I made a test reply to one of my own posts on my blog and the webmention had my name attached to it, so that seemed like progress.

I then sent out a post asking for people willing to receive some test replies and John (@johnjohnston) and Ron (@ronguest) where kind enough reply. The first proper test almost worked. It did show up a a reply but it identified as sent by blog.henrikcarlsson.se instead of by @MrHenko, so some part of micro.blog identifying me as me didn’t work.

So I dug around some more and realised that I had inputed http://henrikcarlsson.se as my web site in micro.blog’s account settings. While that is technically true, as my blog posts comes from the subdomain http://blog.henrikcarlsson.se, so I tried changing to the latter in micro.blog and that worked. My replies on my blog arrives properly threaded in micro.blog and properly attributed to @MrHenko.

One glaring problem remained though. Every reply from me got double-posted. I assume that is because I technically do send two things to micro.blog. A webmention from the blog post and then the post itself because it shows up in my RSS feed that is used to feed micro.blog.

My solution was to post my replies in a special ”interactions” category that I use the Ultimate Category Excluder plugin to exclude from my main RSS feed. And with that in place things more or less worked as intended.

Some things that still need tweaking

Every time I make a new reply in a thread in a micro.blog conversation, that’s a new post on my blog.2 That is in itself not a big problem but the curious part is that every reply that somebody else makes in the thread results a webmention/comment to multiple of the posts that I’ve made that has been threaded in that particular conversation. So I get duplicate comments, but on differens posts on my blog.

Right now I deal with it by only approving the comment to the earliest post I’ve made in the thread but that doesn’t really quite work since my subsequent comments doesn’t show up as comments on my own first post on my blog. So I’ll need to look more into this.

  1. Litteral sidenote: The prospect of Shortcuts on the Mac is what makes me the most interested in updating macOS this fall. 
  2. I’ve tried to get it to send comment replies as webmentions but that doesn’t seem to work. 

Replies and comments

Why I cross-post/syndicate, and why I think it’s a good idea

posted this note on and tagged it with IndieWeb POSSE

For the past few days there’s been a lot of discussion about whether to to cross-post your content to different places or not. I assume much is this discussion bubbles up now because Facebook is heavily restricting its API.

Ben Werdmüller makes a good case for why open source publishing tools such as Known should not spend time developing connections to proprietary APIs that can be shut down on a whim. A lot of people agrees with him and it also seems like many are rethinking whether to syndicate posts to different social networks or not, with most participants arriving at the conclusion that they shouldn’t.

I’m not going to argue against this, but I am going to tell you why I think cross-posting is valuable and something that I plan to keep on doing. Basically, it all boils down to what can be summarized as my mother doesn’t use a feed reader.

In a more broad sense it means that different people that I want to be able to see the things I write, and whos posts I want to read (my family and different groups of friends), use different social networks. My mother doesn’t read my blog. Nor does my fiancé. That means that if I post a cute picture of one of the kids my closest family won’t see it, unless I cross-post it to Instagram.

Same goes for a lot of my friends who have stopped using RSS and instead use Twitter.1

Other people use micro.blog, or Medium or any other site and/or network.

And yes I mentioned micro.blog because to some of us, micro.blog is also a cross-post. I don’t post on micro.blog, I post on my own blog and syndicate to micro.blog. Sure, an important distinction between micro.blog och say Twitter or Facebook is that the former does all the heavy lifting for me. All it needs is an RSS feed. It even sends webmentions for replies, which I love.

So I definitely think that the case can be made that it’s not worth the hassle to support all kinds of different proprietary APIs to cross-post to the latest snapstagram, but that’s about time spent, not about cross-posting being something bad.

Someone brought up the idea that cross-posting is anoying for a person who follows someone on multiple places and while I can see that, the solution is really simple. Don’t follow someone in more that one place, if that someone is someone who cross-posts most or all things.

  1. Note that I currently don’t syndicate to Twitter. That’s simply because I want to keep myself away from Twitter because reading things there only makes me angry. 

Replies and comments

posted this note on and tagged it with IndieWeb

Moving my blog from a shared host to a VPS really improved its speed dramatically which in turn made blogging, especially photo blogging, a whole lot more fun.

I think the takeaway from that is that the indieweb needs to be as fast and easy to post to as the silos.

posted this on and tagged it with IndieWeb The open web

IndieWeb: Make your social media posts open first