From IndieWeb

Cooking For Others was a session at IndieWebCamp West 2020.

Watch: ▶️1:07:18s

Notes archived from etherpad: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/cooking-for-others

IndieWebCamp West 2020
Session: Cooking for Others
When: 2020-06-27 17:00


  • Greg McVerry (facilitator)
  • Cooking for yourself, formerly known in the community as self-dogfiooding has been a sustainable force and emphasized doing over talking. Yet at the same time our space has remained pretty white and male. Do we need to consider building for others in order to address white supremacy, the patriarchy, and decolonizing the web. Come to this session to share community projects you have developed or to brainstorm how we build with more people for a more inclusive web.
  • Topics could include
    • organizing events
    • onboarding UX
    • community outreach



what are some new models for getting people online and giving them their own space online?

  • tools need to be easier (more like flipping a switch than wiring a house)
    • whenever I hear "flip the switch" I hear the theme of that Tik Tok meme "flip flip" (HA)
  • how do we engage with people to get them on the indieweb? events?
  • how do we lower the costs to entry for folks? are there business models for supporting this?

jgmac1106 has been doing small business grants to help get folks hardware and domains.

  • through mozilla foundation, but those grants are subject to the grantors calls-for-proposals

jacky: wanting to go hook up communities that already exist with indieweb building blocks. like webmentions.

  • if things are there by default people will tend to use it unless it breaks something.
  • onboarding should naturally follow something you're trying to do. want to comment? sign in to comment. oh, need a site to sign in, ...
    • needs to be very inviting and easy
  • "like disqus but it's webmentions"

t: agreed. reason why I started working with the dontgobacktonormal.uk community

jgmac1106: can there be a CPanel for IndieWeb tools?

  • popular WordPress (and other CMS) themes are often broken or not indieweb-friendly. can we fix them?
    • themes on github only don't count
  • club in New Haven w/ 45 students. each gets a wordpress (he wrote a bunch of scripts to install and configure IndieWeb plugins for each!)
  • what about a website for community X?
    • Known is it's own story / business model. Was using it but couldn't keep up with applying code updates.

schmarty: seems like there are different needs between running-websites-for-a-specific-community vs offering websites to most people (who might happen to engage w/ specific communities with it)

t: framing w/ economic model and grants may be steering us in the wrong direction. cheaper than ever to get on the web vs the early days of the web.

  • esp beware of othering or attempting to build-for a group that you're not a part of.

jacky: in order to gain traction we need to fly around a black hole to build up inertia.

  • money would be helpful in this space! money brings interest from folks that could do security reviews, UI design, ...
  • trying out building-with-others for webmentions because it seems doable (more doable than controlling people's HTML templates)

jgmac1106: meetable is a good example. solves a problem that folks have - publishing and collecting events.

  • also recent discussion in indieweb chat regarding google docs vs using the wiki.

schmarty: IndieWeb building blocks are great but (by design) allow for lots of different implementations. That means a developer may start from "micropub clients look easy to build" but then need to understand IndieAuth, and have a working micropub endpoint (and probably media endpoint), and understand how those endpoints might handle common vocularies, and how the result might be rendered, and how the result might be parsed to show up in an indie reader ...

kartik: yes! i don't have micropub because i don't want to build my own IndieAuth!

  • jgmac1106 mentions /Kapowski which works without logging in and gives you HTML to copy/paste. *or* you can log in and post via micropub.
  • kartik: don't tackle the hard parts until you need it

t: there's a term for this in development, like don't ask for permissions until you need them. (ben_thatmustbeme: lazy permissions)

jacky: as a community it will be important to prioritize as a community. we'll all have our own ideas about what to build next and there will be many tools to build! like eventually we want to end up with IDEs supporting IndieWeb technologies. Maybe our own browser??

t: we have a leaning, and should adopt, an anti-VC business model mentality. anti-growth-hacking, anti-lock-in. many VC companies lean into practices that are actively harmful.

  • during the pandemic a lot of businesses like restaurants have shut down. the ones that have stayed afloat have relied on their communities in many ways - maybe crowdfunding, maybe alternative moneymaking models, but they focused on having a community rather than just extracting money from customers.

t: resilience as a success metric!

schmarty: want to see more try-before-you-buy in indieweb. micro.blog may only be $5/mo.

  • jacky: you need to know what you're getting for those $5! netflix has an obvious value proposition. microblogging? i can already do that on twitter.

t: cooking for others as a metaphor - maybe it makes sense to work on friends and family. set up websites for your nephews?

fluffy: i've tried to set up publ instances for people, but it's for technical users and they balk at github and editing files on the server.

ben_thatmustbeme: rather than getting developers in easier so they can make more things for others - focus on getting non-developers first. offer a site that lets new users post and see responses from other sites and they'll ask "how does this work?" and become interested in adding to it.

  • t: amplifying. there are big communities primed to go w/ a try-before-you-buy indieweb solution. for example nearly anyone at mozilla would play with something for days/hours/minutes and if they don't have to pay to try it you'll see signups. lower the barries to "try before you buy".

fluffy: tumblr folks are hungry for something to move to. some move to wordpress, some try pillow fort.

  • t: the free level of wordpress is really powerful
  • jgmac1106: you can get a whole room full of people and spend $100 and give them websites.
    • t: there's a moral hazard setting up folks to spend a lot of time learning and maintaining something they could lose. it could be a net-negative. needs to be sustainable. relates signing up his parents on Known when it launched, but they didn't have enough of a draw for why they should keep working on their website. what does it do for them?

See Also