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Director of Web Strategy at the Internet Society. Author, speaker and podcaster on Internet technologies, VoIP, telecom, security, social media, IPv6, DNSSEC. Addicted to the sport of curling.


Watching Known Evolve... And Being Intrigued By Convoy...

2 min read

While I haven't posted here very often at all, I've definitely been following the impressive growth of Known.  I'm subscribed to the notifications of the Github repo and as a result get an email whenever issues are opened/closed, etc.  It's been great to see all the work that has happened here to make Known better and stronger.

I'm particularly intrigued by the new Convoy service for connecting a self-hosted Known installation out to social networks.  This addresses one of the challenges I found with self-hosting Known: configuration of the connectors out to different individual social networks is cumbersome and involves a good bit of work.

This new Convoy service appears to act as a connection broker in a very similar way to how the Jetpack plugin's "Publicize" module works for WordPress.  In Jetpack's case it is using the connectivity into social networks to allow self-hosted WordPress sites to ride along on those existing connections.  You simply activate the connection between your self-hosted WordPress site and via Jetpack and, ta da, you can connect out to social networks.

Convoy appears to work in a similar fashion.  I haven't tried it out yet but that is what it looks like.  Very cool to see.

While I'm quite happy with my current sites being hosted on WordPress and am not yet ready to move my own writing over to Known, I'm very glad Known is out here and evolving as it is.  We need a competitive market of self-publishing platforms so that we as writers and publishers have a choice of innovative and useful platforms.

Congrats to the Known team for all they have done so far!


FIR On Technology Episode 2 Is All About Known And The IndieWeb

1 min read

Yesterday I published episode 2 of "FIR On Technology with Dan York" where I spoke with overall FIR co-host Shel Holtz about Known and the IndieWeb.  In the 44 minutes we covered a wide range of topics.  The web page for the episode contains a long list of links to articles and sites we discussed.

Comments are very definitely welcome!


Questions About Known (@withknown) Platform, Webmentions and security / spam

3 min read

On my drive to an airport yesterday, I listened to the enjoyable conversation on Leo Laporte's This Weed In Google (TWIG 266) where he talked with Known's Ben Werdmuller and Erin Jo Richey about the platform and about the "Indie Web" in general.  Kevin Marks was also a guest and continued talking with Leo for a time after Ben and Erin had left.

The discussion helped me understand a great bit more about what they are aiming to do with Known - and also with the broader "Indie Web" movement that I hadn't really been tracking.  I'm a huge fan of all things that are "distributed and decentralized", so I very much like the model that is being developed.

I was also intrigued by the discussion of Webmention, something I'd not heard of but seems to be an updated and improved evolution of the "Trackback" concept that many of us used back in the early days of blogging in the early 2000s (as well as "Pingback" that came later).

I was left with a whole number of questions... some of which I think I'll understand better when I get a chance to install Known directly onto one of my servers... but the biggest question was:

How will Webmention deal with spam?

That to me became the biggest problem with Trackback - spammers turned to it and deluged all of us running blogs with tons of trackback spam.  It's still a problem on several sites where I still have trackback enabled (and I moderate all comments/trackbacks as a result).

I see on the page (which is a redirect to a Github page) that they have some thoughts around spam and abuse:

  • The verification process SHOULD be queued and processed asynchronously to prevent DDoS attacks.
  • Receivers SHOULD moderate Webmentions, and if a link is displayed back to the source, SHOULD link to sourcewith rel="nofollow" to prevent spam.
  • Receivers MAY periodically re-verify webmentions and update them.
  • If a receiver chooses to publish data it picks up from source, it should ensure that the data is encoded and/or filtered to prevent XSS and CSRF attacks.

But that doesn't really offer any solution beyond moderation... which means that the publishing platforms implementing Webmention have to provide some kind of interface for moderating comments and webmentions.

How does Known handle this?  Could I set up a Known server and start sending webmentions to every other Known server I could find?

Right now all of this seems to be more in the experimental development phase where this is all fine ... but at some point when this gets to be more popular, the spammers will come.  Inevitably they show up with their twisted desire to (ab)use every platform to advance their business model.

How will the world of "webmention" deal with that?  And how will Known specifically?

Many questions... 


What Is Known?

1 min read

What do we know about Known?  What can we learn about it...   that's why I am here! :-)