Keeping conversations going on the Web

In his latest AltPlatform post, Brian Hendrickson discusses various “levels” of comment/conversation technologies available on the Web:

  • Level 1 – Crossing web site boundaries, Webmention,
  • Level 2 – Hybrid network, publishing feeds but need a reader to follow them
  • Level 3 – Internal social networking (Slack, Rocket Chat)

I use Twitter and RSS readers to try to monitor areas I am interested, and items I want to read and comment on. What I would like is to be able to comment easily and keep a conversation going. If there are tools that can help me do that, I want to know about them!


Figuring out microformat support in the Selfoss feed reader

After Aaron Parecki added microformats support for the Selfoss feed reader, I immediately subscribed to my site.  However, I did not see my feed – what? I was running WordPress with two plugins to add microformats support, but something was missing, so I did some investigating…

The first thing I did was turn on debugging in Selfoss by setting the logger_level in my config.ini file to DEBUG. I was able to see that the reader was reading my posts, but it looked like the date was wrong:

03-23-14 16:30:00 Debug item “HOWTO – Setting up the Selfoss Feed Reader with microformats support” (1969-12-31 17:00:00) older than 30 days

I did a view-source, and saw that there was a “datetime” value, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I then used the microformats parser at and looked at parsed values for several sites supporting microformats, and noticed that my entries did not have any “published” items. I then checked the microformats wiki for h-entry, and saw that I needed  a “dt-published” class in the time tag.

I then tried to add this through modifying my uf2 plugin, but did not have any success. Finally, I did a search for “time class” in my theme files and updated all of those files, adding the “dt-published” class. Once I uploaded those theme file updates, I was able to start reading my microformat feed!

Interested in reading microformat sites? Give Selfoss a try!

IndieFeed Gateway Thoughts

I am working with Bret Comnes in looking for a way to create a Atom feed gateway for microformat websites. Bret recently created a Heroku app to create an Atom feed for the IndieWebCamp IRC log. Here are some notes from the IRC log from this week’s Homebrew Website Club meetup in Portland:

  • bret: we have two examples to work off of/use already: and
  •  andy: tried both with my site (, Barnaby’s service works with my site (was able to subscribe to the feed URL), Sandeep’s did not return any entries.
  • andy:I took a look at Barnaby’s Github account, I did not see any projects there that looked like his MF to Atom service
  • bret: here is my idea, you trigger on some kind of new content event (like a new post or an edit) to send a webhook or webmention to the atom gateway. this parses your h-feed and generates the updated atom feed. when that is ready, ping the pubsubhubbub hub
  • andy: that sounds good, I assume this could be built to feed Barnaby’s service or another service

In my test of the first example, I entered my URL and got a full URL with query back in addition to the Atom feed ( I then added this URL to my Selfoss feed reader, and was able to subscribe to the Atom feed.

Here are some possible user scenarios/stories:

  • If someone wanted to follow postings from a microformat website, and used a RSS/Atom feed reader, they could use the Barnaby Walters service to subscribe to that site.
  • If someone was publishing a microformats website, and wanted to provide an Atom feed to readers, they could use the Barnaby Walters service to get an Atom feed of the h-entry feed and then provide that to a PubSubHubBub hub, or provide a local copy of the Atom feed. Another option would be to provide a full query URL like the one I showed above for your site as part of a RSS feed link from your site.

Any other thoughts/ideas?