Thinking of Homepage Mentions

Going to get a bit technical. This is your only warning.

One of the challenges I have been looking at has actually come because of others. Now, if you’ve been looking at my website, you might notice that, thanks to the efforts of myself, Matthias Pfefferle, and Ryan Barrett that there have been major improvements to the presentation of different types of responses on my site. I have a screenshot of the replies on a recent post.

Facepiles, the row of faces representing people who ‘liked’ or what have you, was actually the first project I tackled when I joined the Indieweb community back in 2014. I’ve learned a lot since then.

Either way, the current work not only builds on what I’ve learned, but the contributions by Ryan, who really wanted this feature available, really jumpstarted things. Now, all of these people below don’t know they commented on my site…as they commented elsewhere and I pulled it back to my site via webmention.

So, it brings me to a new problem I want to solve. Homepage mentions. What is that? So, in June, we implemented the ability to direct webmentions(which I’ve talked about before) that reference your homepage as opposed to a specific article to a designated page.

WordPress doesn’t allow the attachment of responses directly to the homepage, and represents me, having a direct relationship to me on Twitter, Facebook, etc. So, any mention of my website or my username on one of those sites generates a mention that is sent to my site.

This is a problem in display. In recent weeks, I’ve had the following scenarios my website doesn’t yet deal with in a satisfactory way

  • Someone referencing my website as me, effectively tagging me in their post as having been somewhere. Example: With David(
  • Someone referencing my website as me in mentioning something I did. Example: David( kindly helped me.

Neither of this usages by others are displayed properly website, which is why they are not showing at all. I’m not sure how or where to display them.

Should someone mentioning me in this manner give me the option of generating a post, ala Facebook’s service of letting others post on your timeline, even if I moderate it somehow?

At the least, it should generate a message appropriate to the situation. And if it does, where should it go? Should I display recent mentions on the sidebar of my homepage? On a dedicated page?

The Indieweb declares a person tag as a tag on a post that refers to a specific person by URL and is done as a explicit action. Many of these mentions are explicit, but some are less so.

My goal is by mid January to figure out how I’m going to display these, one way or another, and write some code to do this. Perhaps as my project for Indiewebcamp Baltimore, coming up in late January.


Meditations on my Grandfather

Unlike many of my posts, this one is not being syndicated to social media, as they automatically do. Some of you heard that Monday, December 4th, my grandfather passed away.

I flew to Florida on the first flight the following morning to be with my family. While it was not unexpected that my grandfather, turning 102 in April, would not live forever, there was a part of all of us who thought, due to the sort of person he was, he might just beat the odds on that.

I was set to come visit the following Monday, and it saddens me to know that I was only days away from seeing him, even if that had been the last time. I spoke to him, although he was not entirely responsive, from his hospital bed only the morning of his death.

But, that is about me. Let’s turn to my grandfather. There is a lot that people have said about him over the last few days, as not only did people fly down to Florida, family and otherwise, to call on my grandmother and provide comfort, but people in the halls, the local shops…everyone who knew him wanted to say that they had fond memories of him.

That is not uncommon after a death, but my grandfather had special skills in talking to people. I remember going into a store with him, many times in my childhood. He’d make quick friends with anyone…get their story, where they were from, make them smile a bit. And clearly, that paid off in dividends in the many people who remembered him.

I was touched by people, even those who had only heard me telling stories about him, sending me messages to say that I had painted such a vivid picture of the sort of person he was that they felt like they knew him.

It was always the skill of talking to people that I, often finding it difficult to start conversations with strangers, that I most tried to copy. He would often ask people what they did, or where they were from, or other similar questions to start a conversation.

His random question to one individual, asking them their maiden name, revealed a distant family relation with someone who had lived, unknown, in the same building as them for years.

So, one final time, I’m going to answer the question he loved to ask me. He asked so many times, I had my own unique way of responding in the Spring of 2016 when I took my current position.

I have been looking at this picture a lot in the last few days, and others. Even at over a century, and him having been in my life for longer than most have their grandparents around, no amount of time would have been enough.

My grandfather always asks me what I do for a living. When I changed jobs, I wanted him to know.