Over at Key Smash!, I’ve been helping beta-test the Pterotype plugin to hook up a self-hosted WordPress to the Fediverse. It gives WordPress an ActivityPub presence, so new posts and comments can be seen in Mastodon, Pleroma, and other ActivityPub-powered networks, and replies from those networks can come back as comments.
But Key Smash! is a simple test case. It’s at the top of the site, there’s no caching, it’s only got a handful of posts, and it hasn’t been bombarded by spammers for years.
So I’ve installed it on here. Older posts won’t federate, but new ones (starting here) should, and replies should show up as comments. With luck they’ll land in the moderation queue instead of the spam queue.
You may be able to follow the site by searching for this post’s URL in Mastodon/etc. Maybe. I need to report a bug in the handling of sites that aren’t at the top level: To find the site I need to search for @firstname.lastname@example.org/journal – the first time. Then that search stops working, but I can find it at @email@example.com instead. But that only works after I’ve searched for the first one.
Well, that’s part of why I set it up here: to help beta test.
Update: Submitted the username/discovery issue to Github.
Update: You can now follow the blog directly at @firstname.lastname@example.org
Update (Dec): I turned it off temporarily due to spam problems. Spam comments were visible through ActivityPub, and couldn’t be deleted due to a FK constraint on the Pterotype tables.
Update (2019): Pterotype appears to have been abandoned. 🙁
Now that Pixelfed federation and Pterotype are taking shape, I can hook up my photos and blogging directly into Mastodon and the Fediverse, but you know what would be even cooler?
Connecting them to each other.
A lot of my blog ideas grow out of photos or statuses that I’ve posted previously, as I find more to say or a better way to say it. And while it’s always possible to just post a comment or reply with a link, imagine posting them into the same federated thread.
Here’s a scenario we can do today:
- Photo of something interesting on Pixelfed, boosted to Mastodon. I believe we’re one update away from Mastodon replies and Pixelfed comments appearing together.
- Blog post on Plume or WordPress with Pterotype going into more detail about the photo. Comments and Mastodon/Pleroma replies can interleave right now. (Try it, if you want!)
- Another photo on Pixelfed as a follow-up. Again, comments and replies can interleave.
This is already pretty cool, but it still creates three separate discussions. The best I can do is add a “Hey, I wrote more on my blog over here: <link>” to the first discussion.
What if there were a way to publish the blog entry as a reply to the PixelFed photo? Or to publish the second photo as a reply to the blog?
And that opens up other possibilities where people can reply to other people’s photos and blog entries with their own. (Webmentions sort of do this, but they’re not going to create a single federated discussion.)
I’m not sure what form this interleaved discussion would take, or what the pitfalls might be. (Visibility might suffer, for instance.) Blogging and photo posting tend to be platforms for an original post that can have comments, rather than platforms where a top-level post can be an OP or a reply, and this would change that model.