03/05/2018

# I woke up this morning to see a notification that Malcolm Gladwell's podcast Revisionist History was coming back for a third season on the 17th May. Colour me very happy.

Gladwell is a fantastic story teller who sucks you in, makes you interested in and care about things you might never normally consider.

Highly recommended if you don't already listen.

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# Following on from the GDPR discussion yesterday, and as Sebastian notes, in addition to the legality of processing personal data there is also an ethical consideration. Should you do it? Is it justified? Is it right?

The goal of the indieweb is to enable cross-site communication, primarily via webmentions, and the explicit sending of a mention from one site to another implies consent to display its contents on the target site.

Sebastian's primary focus, however, was on "backfeeding" replies from social networks and the problems you have notifying those replying that their data will be used and displayed elsewhere. You realistically can't unless the networks have indieweb considerations built in. They won't.

While they might have a clause in their terms and conditions that says your data might be used by third parties is this enough? Would aggregating replies by means other than the official API, where you couldn't match all of the processing requirements, even be caught by such a clause? Probably not.

Perhaps the best course is to play it safe and not backfeed.

It becomes trickier, however, when a service like micro.blog sends webmentions automatically on behalf of its users.

There is a definite crossover between indieweb proponents and micro.blog users and many will be fully aware of the underpinnings of the service. But with the backlash against the major social networks in some quarters more people are looking for an alternative and have been joining micro.blog without necessarily realising how it operates.

Are the underpinnings made apparent to users? Does there need to be an option to exclude your account from sending webmentions, especially to external blogs? Are comments made in the seemingly limited environment of the micro.blog timeline fair game out on the open web and does their "public" nature (thanks to effectively being blog comments) make them so? Further, should we as bloggers automatically publish these responses?

Micro.blog occupies a unique position which creates a problem of perception. Its primary service might be blog hosting but the primary interaction is via a social network style timeline. This will quite obviously colour the expectations of both the service and the data placed within it for those unaware of its design.

I've tried various comment aggregation tools over the years but traffic was only one way. Manton has created something wonderful in micro.blog, something that, when combined with the indieweb, I realise I've been after for a long time without necessarily knowing exactly what it was.

Sebastian's essay, however, gave me pause for thought, should give us all pause for thought. As does the GDPR and the ongoing conversation.

It's very much a case of "just because we can it doesn't mean we should" - an approach that ought to be adopted by much of the tech industry.

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# I was experiencing problems with various workflows giving “protocol errors” and then it dawned on me that the new host must be blocking xml-rpc. I’ve installed a plugin to redirect requests to a renamed file so, if you’re seeing this post it’s worked.

# My EarPods went for an impromptu spin in the washing machine but still work fine. Plus they're nice and clean ?

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog