patrickrhone
patrickrhone
How I Think About Micro.blog patrickrhone.micro.blog
|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@patrickrhone Bookmarking this coz I couldn't have said it better. Have to head out now but will respond later with a "revolutionary" thought 😇

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@pratik Can't wait to hear it.

|
Embed
TeganGemini
TeganGemini

@patrickrhone I think this is a wonderful summation of this platform as it is. Very nice thoughts, indeed.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@mercymorbid Thank you. Much appreciated. I believe the moment one stops seeing it like a social network and starts seeing it as it is, everything that is apparently "missing" falls away.

|
Embed
TeganGemini
TeganGemini

@patrickrhone It almost makes me feel sad for my imminent switch to a self-hosted blogging solution. But even then I can filter my RSS through the feed, and cross post accordingly. Its honestly a very cool platform, and I very much enjoy being here.

|
Embed
MultoGhost
MultoGhost

@patrickrhone

That means the Micro.blog Timeline is essentially an RSS feed of the blog posts and related comments on those posts.

This always how I've seen it, as well, but with a scrolling history. For me, micro.blog is where I "dip into" microblogs that I follow casually. If I want to follow someone "seriously" (like, never miss a post), I put them into Reeder. Big minus of that is mainly that it can be hard to reply to a post that's a week old. But mostly "read-only" suits me, though I get it doesn't work for other people.

|
Embed
manton
manton

@patrickrhone Thanks for writing that! That's a great perspective. Micro.blog has always been a mashup of blogs and the social web. We can't snap our fingers and grow the community, but I think we'll get there in time. Lots of little things from members make a difference.

|
Embed
KimberlyHirsh
KimberlyHirsh

@patrickrhone We are of the same mind on this, but that doesn't surprise me.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@KimberlyHirsh I’m in great company.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@manton I guess this is my simple way of saying that if you want more news on the platform start blogging about news. 😏

|
Embed
Annie
Annie

@patrickrhone great thoughts and reminder that it is what we make it.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@Annie Thank you my friend.

|
Embed
clorgie
clorgie

@patrickrhone Interesting and makes sense. In my mind's framing, MB is social software that may or may not be used to create a social network. But as long as it doesn't become social media, it's all good to/for me.

|
Embed
JohnBrady
JohnBrady

@patrickrhone I'm sure I'm in a minority, but I use micro.blog only as a social site, and see blog posts as an unavoidable by-product. When I want to blog intentionally, I do it elsewhere. On the other hand, I don't feel as if anything is "missing" in my micro.blog experience.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@clorgie Fair assessment.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@mercymorbid FWIW, my main blog that you see stuff from me here from is a self hosted WordPress site (https://www.patrickrhone.net). So, it's entirely possible to post from one's own hosting/site and still engage in discussion/community around those post here.

An aside, I'm only just discovering you and hope you stick around community wise

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@mercymorbid Another aside, my eldest daughter is a transgender woman so thank you for being out, visible, and vocal. It matters.

|
Embed
Denny
Denny

@patrickrhone Okay, I'll be the disagreeable one. 😉

First, I agree with your emphasis on it being a feed of blog posts and replies. Yep!

But:

If it is missing anything, it is the wealth of perspectives and subject depth that comes from a large diverse pool of active users who are willing to post about a variety of topics.

I saw active monthly user numbers for micro.blog a week or two ago but I forget what they were. A few thousand I think. Beyond the people I follow I can only ever discover new people via the Discover feed. I have an interest in climate and the conflict in Gaza. When I do a search on the first the most recent post is 2023-10-24 and there just are very few that show up. When I search for Gaza, zero posts. When I search for Palestine 3 posts, only one from 2023.

So for someone like myself, you see, I can only guess that either no one is posting about Gaza and Palestine and very few about climate. Perhaps this is true. But I have no way of knowing. I know that I've posted quite often about those three topics. But as search in Discover only yields results from posts previously featured it's incredibly limited. None of my posts about Gaza or Palestine have showed up which tells me none have been featured in the Discover feed. So I'm left to guess/conclude that there could be any number of people with these shared interestes but because the topics fall outside the safe zone of sanitized politeness I'll never know.

Of course it's true that I can and do find posts and writers on these topics outside of Micro.blog. For the many here that are frequent, perhaps mostly exclusive posters of other topics, non-political areas of interest, well, I'd guess they are very happy with the state of their timelines. And truely I'm happy for them.

But that said, it is a real shortcoming of Micro.blog that those of us that want to delve into these other areas are not able to because of how Discover, search, etc is set-up. But I would add that in the end I think this hurts Micro.blog because while those that want only the warm fuzzy timeline are happy, those that look for a fuller, more diverse expression of humanity are left to look elsewhere.

@manton

|
Embed
TeganGemini
TeganGemini

@patrickrhone I'm doing so from behind a pen name online, and a fake cat character to boot. But thank you for the encouragement. I hope your daughter is staying safe.

|
Embed
In reply to
TeganGemini
TeganGemini

@Denny I think you have a good point here. I'll also note that the default drop-down list of tagmojis on Discover is truncated, and one of the ones that got cut off was LGBTQIA+/Pride. If this is an RSS feed/blog aggregator, it has a few flaws in terms of discoverability, in my personal opinion.

Obviously, each person is responsible for curating their own feed. But part of being able to do that is to discover new blogs to follow. My own circle has gradually been expanding on here, but that is through communication and interaction. Perhaps that is the best way to grow an engaged community that has an open discussion about issues. But I personally think there is a danger that we may end up stifling the discourse and burying our heads in the sand.

Also, as a note: keep posting about the climate and Palestine. It's good to see someone on here doing their best to highlight important issues.

|
Embed
TeganGemini
TeganGemini

@patrickrhone I am very encouraged to see another self-hosted blogger! and thank you, I am just getting started on here, but so far I find it a convivial place to discuss important topics. A breath of fresh air from my normal social media consumption.

|
Embed
jsonbecker
jsonbecker

@patrickrhone yup. exactly. I have often described the Micro.blog timeline as an RSS feed of a multi-author blog where I choose which authors to follow. Posting here is just one of many feeds to my blog.

|
Embed
SimonWoods
SimonWoods

@mercymorbid Quick note about the tagmoji menu: it's supposed to be dynamic to some extent, such that when you reload it offers up a different selection. However...

@manton, do I have that wrong? I've just reloaded a few times on the web and the menu wasn't re-populating through the entire list. It's as if it is stuck on pre-determined sets and just cycles through those with each reload.

|
Embed
SimonWoods
SimonWoods

@Denny You said:

But that said, it is a real shortcoming of Micro.blog that those of us that want to delve into these other areas are not able to because of how Discover, search, etc is set-up. But I would add that in the end I think this hurts Micro.blog because while those that want only the warm fuzzy timeline are happy, those that look for a fuller, more diverse expression of humanity are left to look elsewhere.

(emphasis mine)

I think your arguments would be much more convincing if you didn't feel the need to conclude with an us vs. them construction.

The assumption that just because I don't actively use the web to talk about something means it is absent from my life is clearly nonsense, and yet you present your argument in this way. It's frustrating to read, Denny, since I was with you right until the end!

|
Embed
SimonWoods
SimonWoods

@patrickrhone Yes to everything you expressed in this post. I actually enjoy seeing people bump up against these notions when they're new to the platform; I believe other platforms have trained a lot of behaviour that isn't necessarily in our best interests, and Micro.blog does a good job of highlighting just that.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@patrickrhone I've always considered Micro.blog as an enhanced feed reader with the added benefit of having in-line comments. The timeline is basically whom you choose to follow and the replies can be customized in two ways - mutual follows and all replies of people you follow. But the Discover section is curated and so naturally, reflects the values (or bias) of the curator (Jean). But what if the Discover page was just tools for people to find other people/posts? You can search by emoji, categories, location, or language; much like having a custom feed of hashtags you follow on Mastodon or curated feeds on BlueSky.

I dunno how the page will look like and whether it will be dynamic or not but then it lets Micro.blog step away from advocating a certain vibe and let bloggers create their own vibe/community. I might not follow someone who only blogs about soccer but I might pin them on the Discover page to check out if I want sports news. Or a tag cloud of categories people are using on their posts. Click one and you see a series of posts categorized as such by the bloggers. Of course, this is just a prelim thought immediately after reading your post and @manton's "News" thread.

|
Embed
manton
manton

@SimonWoods On the web it only rotates between the featured emoji. On iOS it goes between all of them. It really should be the same. And @mercymorbid, thanks for pointing that out about LGBTQIA+, it wasn't intentional. I meant to keep the list updated throughout the year (e.g. football during the Super Bowl) so that other emoji can be highlighted, but it got stuck on an old set too long.

|
Embed
KimberlyHirsh
KimberlyHirsh

@patrickrhone @mercymorbid I engaged with m.b in the way Patrick describes for my first couple of years here and it worked beautifully.

|
Embed
KimberlyHirsh
KimberlyHirsh

@pratik @Denny @manton Curation is limited not just by a curator's biases and taste, but also a curator's capacity. If I'm remembering correctly, the idea of not having a full-text search is to protect m.b posters but if a side effect is stifling discovery, I wonder if having an opt-in full-text search might be helpful. I also wonder how reimagining Discover might free @jean up to work on other aspects of community management.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@Denny I don't disagree on technicality that search and discoverability could/should be better. And I'm certain that is something @manton has and continues to think deeply about.

That said, I also know that the Discover timeline is hand curated mainly by one person (Hi, @jean!) and I won't begin to fathom the complexity of choice she must go through to decide what goes there and what does not and why.

I do know she's one of the few people that has a feed of every single post on Micro.blog and therefore must have to find the sips of water in that firehose that gives new users a very generalized sense of what's available. (As you may know, when you first sign up and are not following anyone the Discover feed is your default timeline so I suspect it is they who are top of mind in those choices).

Perhaps the solution you seek would be as easy as the ability to see and browse through that firehose. Perhaps, for transparency's sake it would be a good feature/ability to have.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@pratik Certainly some good ideas to consider as part of the mix. Thanks for sharing them.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@SimonWoods An interesting angle for sure.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@jsonbecker A good way of thinking about it.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@mercymorbid She is. We live in a very friendly and open state (Minnesota). She can be who she is and live accordingly. She just got married to a lovely man and is quite happy.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@KimberlyHirsh That’s right. Time to re-evaluate pros and cons of full-text search.

|
Embed
jthingelstad
jthingelstad

@patrickrhone "I don’t see Micro.blog as a social network." ⬅️ 100% agree with this. I want a preference in micro.blog so I can load my "Posts" view by default and not the "Timeline". It is a fancy feed reader that also support replies. Which is awesome. 😎

|
Embed
sod
sod

@Denny

So for someone like myself, you see, I can only guess that either no one is posting about Gaza and Palestine and very few about climate. Perhaps this is true. But I have no way of knowing.

One neat thing about Micro.blog is that it embraces the open web. It's a website, and thus is indexed by most general purpose search engines. So you don't have to guess, if you want to know if fellow Micro.bloggers posts about Gaza, search for site:micro.blog gaza using your favorite search engine.

But as search in Discover only yields results from posts previously featured it's incredibly limited.

Yeah, I'm with you, I wouldn't mind a more extensive search, either. 😊 But, between Manton's philosophy and the Discover timeline guidelines, I think it's pretty clear that we won't see full-text search nor political posts there anytime soon.

But let's pretend for a while that Manton suddenly changes his mind and makes all Micro.blog hosted blogs searchable, we would probably still have a hard time finding every interest under the sun represented. Why?

Because the Micro.blog community is relatively small, around 7,400 monthly active users. So the chance of finding a person who is both interested in and willing to blog about the Israel–Hamas war is slim compared to finding them, for example, on Facebook with its roughly 3,000,000,000 monthly active users.

The most diverse expression of humanity online you will find on the internet at large, we're currently around 5.3 billion people on here. So instead of looking for interesting folks based on which blogging software they use, I encourage everyone to start exploring the entire web. (And if you don't mind wandering off the beaten path, there's fascinating writing going on in people's gopher holes and capsules as well.)

Marginalia is a free search engine that focuses on the non-commercial web. Kagi is a paid for search engine which lets you search the small web. And then there's blogrolls and directories like Gossip's web and ooh.directory.

|
Embed
Denny
Denny

@sod Yeah, I'd tried using google/duckduckgo site search some time back for keywords. The problem with this method is vagueness. The results I get point to users but not individual posts and very little context is provided. Upon clicking on any of the results I'm not taken to a user's blog but to their micro.blog feed. So, it's better than nothing but feels just one step above useless.

I somewhat agree with you on bypassing the focus on blogging software and just search the internet. Thanks for the links I'll check them out.

But, all that said, a part of the appeal of micro.blog is that it has the potential to serve as a home base on the internet. The limitations of the curated timeline would be a non-issue if there were some sort of improved opt-in full search.

In the current iteration, the simplicity of micro.blog actually makes some users work harder for worse results. I have to do a work around Google site search for very vague results. The result is that the "community" aspect of micro.blog is reduced for me. It feels like an increasingly smaller side branch of my daily online experience.

By comparison, I can do a keyword search from my Mastodon app of choice and get a listing of posts. It works very well, problem solved for me. And I've manually added some of the micro.blog folks I follow to my Mastodon. Again, that's more work for me but it's allowing me to have a more integrated space.

My recent posts and replies to posts on micro.blog are just as much observations of concern for micro.blog as a platform. At the moment it is the best ActivityPub blogging host. But I am fairly certain I'm not the only one that is unsatisfied with one of its main features.

|
Embed
abc
abc

@sod Very interesting reply, with which I agree. The link for the number of mb members doesn’t work. I’d love to see the source.

|
Embed
sod
sod

@abc That's weird, it still works for me. Are you maybe using a Micro.blog app? I know some clients get confused occasionally when following URLs on the micro.blog domain (they think the link points to a user profile when it's not). Try accessing Micro.blog from your web browser instead and follow the link from there.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@Denny @sod I have tried the site search on Google before but just did it again. Here’s what I get:

A screenshot of a Google search result page with the query "mumbai site:micro.blog" displaying various website listings related to escort services, massage services, and a travel agency in Mumbai.

|
Embed
sod
sod

@pratik @Denny Hehe, that looks super legit! I wonder why @manton won't just introduce an uncurated discovery feed. 😅

|
Embed
eumrz
eumrz

@pratik @Denny @sod Sorry to barge in, but is this the reason why Googling for post in my site (site:umerez.eu) gives no results? I found this problem the other day and I wanted to look into it.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@eumrz No idea. I’ve blocked search engines from my blog so can’t test it. For me, it’s a feature that Micro.blog doesn’t show in Google Search.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@sod If Massage By Girls was featured on Discover, maybe Micro.blog would be more popular 🤓

|
Embed
eumrz
eumrz

@pratik thanks. It is an issue for me. I'll have to look into it.

|
Embed
stupendousman
stupendousman

@pratik Oddly specific "Massage by girls in india" in search results.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@stupendousman "We will massage your micro blog"

|
Embed
DaveyCraney
DaveyCraney

@patrickrhone I’ve said before that M.B. For me is first and foremost where my blog lives and where I throw my content into the internet. It’s where I’ve planted my flag and built my wood cabin on the net so to speak. The fact it has the social element and the interactions is a very nice bonus for me and I really value the interactions I have with people here, but MY blog is for ME. I’m very pleased however that people appear to want to drop into my little home for a cup of tea and a slice of cake on occasion ☺️

|
Embed
amerpie
amerpie

@patrickrhone I'm just completing my first full week on micro.blog and your post helps me form a good perspective on what the place is all about. I look forward to perusing the two feeds here in a way I never did on more traditional social media.

|
Embed
sod
sod

@eumrz I don't know, sorry, only Google can tell you the reason. I would set up Search Console to find out what is going on. Looks like your site is better indexed on DuckDuckGo.

|
Embed
abc
abc

@sod Thank you. I was using the Micro.blog app I tried it on my Mac and it worked fine. I have wondered how many we are. 7,400 not bad. Even so, must be a labor of love in large part. MB imo is a bargain.

|
Embed
eumrz
eumrz

@sod thanks, Sven, I'll look into Search Console

|
Embed
manton
manton

@pratik @Denny @sod Sigh. I'm going to go flag those accounts. Probably older accounts before we had better tools for cracking down on spam. (This indeed supports our philosophy about limited search).

|
Embed
manton
manton

@abc @sod Thanks. It will always be a labor of love. I'm in this for the long haul.

|
Embed
manton
manton

@Denny @sod Good discussion. By the way, the limited search was not intended to be permanent. There are a lot of areas to improve between "hardly any posts" and "all the posts". For example, if someone is a member of the community and not posting spam or hate speech, probably all their posts should be indexed.

|
Embed
pratik
pratik

@manton Unless they don't want to be indexed by Google, right? I don't mind a private index if you are signed in to Micro.blog.

|
Embed
manton
manton

@pratik The profile pages will be excluded from Google no matter what (if that's set) but perhaps we should also disable the search if you aren't signed in. I'll look into that.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@amerpie That's terrific. Welcome and glad it helps you get a sense of what's here, why, and how to make it useful.

|
Embed
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@DaveyCraney Love that. Exactly. Thanks for sharing.

|
Embed
jonah
jonah

@jthingelstad I too would love the option to open reorder default start page. Gluon had a focus mode, but that app seems to have been deprecated

|
Embed
abc
abc

@patrickrhone I agree completely. To me this is what makes Micro.blog special. If you want it can just be a blog.

|
Embed