From IndieWeb

Respectful Responses 2021 was an IndieWebCamp Pop-ups 2021 session focused on enabling more positive serendipity & discovery via our websites, and raising preventative barriers to spam, harassment, and other unpleasant interactions.


How do we enable more positive serendipity & discovery via our websites, between both existing friends & family, and new positive interactions?

And how do we raise barriers to spam, harassment, and other unpleasant social media interactions?

It's not just "fixing comments", it's much more than that.

Respectful responses include even simple interactions like likes, bookmarks, and reposts, as well as indirect comments like quote tweets.

A broader user-centric conversation about the problem that Vouch is designed to solve one or some parts thereof.



Useful pre-reading:


From the Etherpad:



IndieWeb Code of Conduct: https://indieweb.org/code-of-conduct

  • Welcome and opening remarks
  • Introductions (1 minute per person)
    • Name
    • Personal website (if any)
    • What is one thing you hope to learn or accomplish today?
  • What issues are you facing with your personal site or personal projects?
  • 11AM Brief bio break
  • Discussion continues!
  • Commitments and next steps

Welcome and Opening Remarks


  • Marty McGuire, https://martymcgui.re/, hoping to inspire some positive design experimentation around moderation between sites
  • David Shanske, https://david.shanske.com, "My hope is for ideas to improve the receiving of responses on my website."
  • David https://omz13.com my hope is to get my head around vouch
  • Maxwell Joslyn https://www.maxwelljoslyn.com - hoping to discuss ... [display of] private replies to public posts, and vice versa
  • Calum Ryan https://calumryan.com hope of positive engagement on site versus negative or none
  • fluffy https://beesbuzz.biz/ How to balance discovery with not being discovered by toxic people, and how to encourage positive interactions (or at least discourage negative ones); moderation-first, filtering abuse and spam
  • Chris Aldrich at https://boffosocko.com - I use portions of my internet presence as a digital garden, so I'm interested in ways to make tending it easier and more pleasant myself as well as others who visit. Uses website as digital garden, and needs to weed appropriately. ** Wants to know where the digital pale is. (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/beyond_the_pale)
    • Defines pale as British Isles and Ireland. Used in political references...beyond the pale...fence or marker at end of town. Not a pail. Probably a pale. [he threw us off with the gardening :)]
  • Angelo Gladding at angelogladding.com working on a general purpose client, would like to list incoming webmentions with intelligence that can scale
  • Jacky Alciné at jacky.wtf - aims to see how content (mainly inbound) can be depicted as a river versus the oceans of it we have today
  • Tantek Çelik tantek.com - to go from displaying no webmentions to what are the first set to feel positive about displaying.
  • gRegor Morrill - gregorlove.com, has no goals, but wants to toe dip.
  • David Somers(omz13.com) - building indieweb platform. Adding commenty things and wants to wortk out the best way to do it. Looking more for slightly longer texts/responses as 'likes' and things are too eays to file off, they don't add anything to the conversation.


Marty McGuire


  • Voldemorting - talking about something/someone without mentioning it/them by name, is vulnerable to...
  • snitchtagging - @-mentioning / hashtagging a person/topic in a thread that is about that person/topic but hasn't mentioned it/them by name, thus "outing" the conversation
    • is snitch tagging always considered negative? not familir with term connotations but "snitch" is negative
  • reply canoe - really bad explicit design of Twitter reply threads
  • ratioing -
  • dunking
  • spamtagging
  • dogpiliing
  • sealioning

Quick overview of the IndieWebCamp Code of Conduct

Tantek Çelik:

  1. There is a lot of focus on the negative. Is it possible for us to reframe the problem as "How can we encourage a positive dynamic from the beginning and amplify that instead of trying to repair harms after they have been done?"
    • Design safe spaces from the beginning
  2. How can we help people with "overnight success"? Where they become popular/famous and have trouble dealing with the overwhelming (positive/negative) reactions
    • Example: Amanda Gorman gaining >1.5M followers after her poem at the Presidential Innaugural on Jan 20, 2021
    • An excess of positive replies, attention can also be overwhelming
  3. Any (especially negative) effects will often be felt first and most strongly by marginalized people. Targeted harrassment and abuse, deplatforming, and lots more.

Current Personal Site Issues

  • David Shanske would like to invite more people into his garden with an open door policy, but fearing spam and abuse has set up a "fence" of moderation up front.
    • doesn't want to feel like he is posting into the void. would like to know that even one person had an opinion.
    • we don't have an explicit spec for how to display various the response types.
  • Maxwell Joslyn - wants to implement friends list (audience) to allow skipping moderation
    • I run art contests, an interview series, etc. for friends-and-contacts to be featured on my site -- someone participating in those definitely deserves higher "commenting privilege" (on pages which are about them, at least)
  • Tantek Çelik - collects webmentions. displays RSVPs. not sure what to display next. wants to make sure it is completely a positive.
  • David Somers - posts private content and wonders what differences there can be for responses allowed on private posts (where you have expressed trust in the audience) vs public.
    • Example of posting photos of children for family, but not wanting them broadly available for the world
    • example of captchas / prove-you're-human tests as a barrier. get broken and allow spam through. also keep out real commenters who can't be bothered!
    • dopamine hits for likes / responses / engagement - doesn't like the addiction loop. do likes add anything?
    • small circles can also experience intense abuse and negative behavior (e.g. tech circles about, ostensibly, tech issues)
  • fluffy - webmention has a commons model at present, and in current implementations you give up some control of what is displayed on your own site. is also at odds with private / friends-only posts.
    • wm works well for her as a notification system.
    • Thinking of turning off webmention.js entirely, or changing the presentation of replies to be part of the "reactions" as opposed to "responses" section
    • Vast majority of "responses" are currently just random, often non-contextual replies that come via brid.gy (tweets/reddit posts/etc. that just happened to be in a thread about a post), and giving them first-class display is at odds with what is desired in direct commentary
  • Chris Aldrich - bringing it back to UI. his personal site is "traditional looking" even though it can interact w/ more "chatty" sites like twitter. people's impressions of that space affect how they expect to interact. IRC real-time chat. web site response might not be seen for ~8 hours. website forums have their own expectations. how can your website encourage the types (and speed) of responses you are interested in?
    • Maxwell Joslyn+1 chris - the affordances of the website will change what people do with it, e- how someone posts on twitter is often different from how they post on their blog/site - most ppl are not indieweb and might be like "what do you mean you're showing my tweets on your blog?"
  • Marty McGuire IndieWeb-documentation about webmention is focused on accepting / displaying. fluffy pointed out that they can work for notifications that you see and then do nothing else with!
  • Tantek Çelik the sense of expectation that "i made a response, why isn't it on your webite?" is not necessarily one that we want to have as default, or maybe even encourage at all.
    • some sites have a "sent me a webmention? enter it here!" form which may encourage this assumption. "you have a form here! surely i can expect to see the results instantly!"
      • maybe a wording change to these forms, or only showing these forms if you're "signed in" to my site
    • can we "solve the maze backwards" to figure out - why would a person be typing into our website, anyway? deciding for ourselves what interactions we want and designing the UI to encourage those only?

Back from break!

  • Chris Aldrich - posts responses to his own site and it happy to have them live there, if it is a thoughtful response that he wants to keep public.
    • some WP site comment forms thank you and say your comment is being held for moderation
      • WP comments also have a permalink and chrisaldrich uses them as syndication links on his original post.
      • gRegor Morrill does this as well if a comment is not auto-approved.
      • Tantek Çelik has found these frustrating in the past, especially on friends' blogs. "my comment should be allowed". turns out maybe akismet or some other (cryptic?) WP rule caught it. e.g. links in a comment (like citing your sources) lower the "quality" of a comment to these algorithms. an over-adaptation from link spam.
  • gwg has 800+ responses held for moderation or not otherwise displayed and WP reminds him every time he looks.
    • homepage responses
    • Tantek Çelik - that number and feeling overwhelmed, sense of burden / annoyance / stress / (obligation?) is something to avoid.
  • Tantek Çelik the tendency to design reactively (start open, then add features to "keep out the weeds") is a flawed methodology. the goal should be to figure out the positive interactions you want to have on your site and design to encourage those.
  • Calum Ryan - has had some negative experiences with upvote/downvote systems on comments. e.g. the BBC has a comment system that allowed up and down voting. but _who_ decides to comment and who decides to up-/down-vote.
  • Chris Aldrich - some comment systems like the NYT get a commenting audience from all over the world. if my friends comment on an NYT comment section, those are the ones i'd like to read. but maybe in an IndieWeb world I'd see it through another channel because I follow them?
    • an IndieWeb discovery idea - if i interact with something, show me which of the people i follow who also interacted with this.
    • David Shanske brought up filter bubble issue. Chris Aldrich doesn't mind reading comments on the sites of people he follows. can find new people through those sometimes.
    • Template:angelogladding also worried about echo chamber. but if we control who we follow, and depending on who that is we can find new people and ideas through them. it's certainly possible to follow people as a way to "broadcast" who you agree with and end up narrowing your bubble.
    • David Somers sees polarization offline as well as on. For example, local papers with very different political views.
  • Tantek Çelik - adding to the NYT-millions-of-comments problem. also happens to accounts w/ many followers on instagram. at some point the instagram UI changes to bubble-up comments from people you follow, and you can interact in that "thread".
    • those are shallower threads. hackernews can nest extremely deep. FB has a hybrid which is mostly shallow but can nest a bit.
    • the nested comments can possibly foster more civil discussion, as it kind of funnels you into smaller discussions w/ people you know.
    • IG also has a way to "highlight" or feature a comment, to elevate it. ( Marty McGuire - youtube has this as well).
      • I think you can do this for multiple comments on a post, multiple "featured" comments, in contrast to say, the singularity of only being allowed "pin" one post in your stream
  • Chris Aldrich - Chris Coyer has a blog post about featuring comments on css-tricks.com
    • Feature/Bury Comments and My WordPress Comments Wishlist
    • "coffee-shop" atmosphere where there are coherent ongoing conversations happening that you can join.
      • Maxwell Joslyn it would be *so cool* to "go to the indieweb coffeeshop" (the chat room?) and decide, along with someone else, to jump over to communicating straight thru our websites while preserving context from the chat history
    • NYT has a "me too" problem of thousands of people +1-ing rather than adding to a conversation.
      • "social glue" is useful to some but not everyone! (this could be a filtering problem, but the question becomes how to filter it)
  • Maxwell Joslyn - follows folks sites' in lists. those reader lists could be mapped to comment-audiences for posts. e.g. people in the IndieWeb list would by default be allowed to comment *without moderation* on posts on Maxwell Joslyn's site which are tagged IndieWeb.
    • this brings up "so how do *you* organize your tag ontology?" and "do you use the same tags across multiple devices / silos / apps / sites?"
  • gRegor Morrill - has some people lists that are synced periodically. could use them for vouch but isn't yet.
  • David Shanske would like to cite https://indieweb.org/2018/Berlin/responses , which Tantek Çelik, Marty McGuire, and Calum Ryan attended. display of webmentions could be "progressive" based on the amount of trust for a member of different "acceptance lists". e.g. just count stranger's responses, show just "who", show full comments, etc. [+1 Maxwell Joslyn]
  • Tantek Çelik - shared blocklists have problems! fluffy brings up examples of specifics like Block Together where accounts with large followings can lead to certain blocks spreading virally with no way to distinguish _why_. Led to many marginalized folks getting blocked by huge networks.
    • Chris Aldrich this recently happened to a misinformation AND COVID expert being blocked (semi-automatically) by Twitter, resulting in loss of work. fluffy - basic unsolvable machine learning problem: text critiquing or disagreeing with something will use the same keywords as text supporting the thing.
      • keyword filters also can't differentiate between "cartoon" threats of violence from actual intent.
    • David Somers mentions that all automated systems will have this issue. fluffy points out that this can happen on Mastodon when someone is attacked - instance moderators will tired of handling (insincere) moderation requests and will decided to kick/ban the _victim_ of the attack rather than continue to handle the requests.
  • Chris Aldrich - moderation systems have no distinction between "punching up" vs "punching down" and power differentials. so people with less power end up being moderated disproportionately.
    • David Somers: block politicians from social? Chris Aldrich - public figures have access to other channels, maybe they don't "need" social
    • Tantek Çelik - or commit to applying moderation to powerful users in a timely way, as well!
      • fluffy - if DJT had been held to the average standard of moderation years ago he probably would not have been elected. the different standard tacitly encouraged him and his supports to ramp up the rhetoric and behavior.
      • Tantek Çelik the "public interest" argument has been refuted. it is clearly more in the public interest to apply the rules consistently.
      • fluffy optimizing for engagement was the real goal. "public interest" the post-hoc justification

Commitments and Next Steps

  • Marty McGuire - changing the perception that sending a webmention means i'm entitled to see my content on your site will require revisiting a lot of assumptions. like automated headless webmention sending doesn't really work for this!
    • also Block Party might be interesting? or at least they are doing a lot of work. could be some good lessons there.
  • Maxwell Joslyn - featured/buried comments are quite interesting

Twitter functionality that allows one to limit who can reply: to everyone, only those mentioned, only followers, or no one.

Keep the conversations going!

  • Homebrew Website Clubs!
  • IndieWeb discussion channels!
  • Your own sites and experiments!
  • More popups and online camps!
  • Someday: the return of in-person events???
  • ...



Add your +1 for interest in this topic:


Marty McGuire: planning for last year's popups indicated that:

  • Saturdays around 10am US/Pacific worked well.

Let's start with that but feel free to indicate in your preferences below if later times (or a Sunday) would be better.



2024 BrightonBuild a Website in an Hour March (P)Front End Study Hall April (P)Front End Study Hall May (P)DüsseldorfFront End Study Hall June (P)Planning More Camps & Popups • … •
2023 Build a Website in an Hour July (P)Build a Website in an Hour September (P)Multi-Lingual Personal Websites (P)NurembergCreate Day November (O)San DiegoCreateFest (O)
2022 Analog Meets Online (P)Personal Libraries (P)Create Day March (O)DüsseldorfCreate Day July (O)BerlinCreate Day September (O)How to Make the IndieWeb More Approachable (P)Create Day December (O)
2021 Respectful Responses (P)Webmentions Beyond Webmention.io (P) • Very Sensitive Data (P)Create Day July (O)Microsub (P)IndieAuth (P)Gardens and Streams II (P)Create Day October (O)IndieAuth 2 (P)DüsseldorfCreate Day December (O)
2020 OnlineAustin London (O)Garden & Stream (P)West (O)Micropub (P)IndieAuth (P)Get Started with WP (P)microformats2 (P)Friendly WP Themes (P)East (O)Create Day (O)
2019 AustinOnlineNew HavenBerlinDüsseldorfUtrecht9th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)AmsterdamOxfordNYCBrightonBerlin2SF
2018 BaltimoreDüsseldorf8th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)SFOxfordNYCNürnbergBerlin
2017 BellinghamDüsseldorfNürnberg7th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)IstanbulNYCBerlinAustin
2016 NYCMITNürnbergDüsseldorf6th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)NYC2BrightonLA (Santa Monica)BerlinMIT2
2015 Cambridge MAGermany (Düsseldorf)Portland & Brighton (5th Summit) • EdinburghMITSF
2014 SFNYCPortland/NYC/Berlin (4th Summit)UK (Brighton)Cambridge MAOnline
2013 Portland (3rd Summit)UK (Brighton)Hollywood
2012 Portland (2nd Summit)UK (Brighton)
2011 Portland (Summit)

See Also