From IndieWeb

Frequently Asked Questions are questions about the IndieWeb and IndieWebCamp that have been asked at least a few times and are easier to answer by citing their answers on this page, instead of trying to reconstruct answers in the moment.

How to answer a question

If someone asks a question, e.g. on chat, about how to do something:

  1. Search the wiki for an answer. Search the wiki for keywords in the question, similar words, etc.
  2. Brainstorm in the chat channel. If you don't quickly find an answer on the wiki, then try to brainstorm something similar to other questions/answers, in the chat channel.
  3. Write up new answers on the wiki. If we come up with any remotely reasonable/useful answers, write it up as a stub on the wiki.
  4. Crosslink from related pages. Lastly, link to the new page or answer from similar/relevant pages to increase its discoverability for (1).

What is new

Q: What's new?

A: Check out the following to see what's new in the IndieWeb community:

Who is the audience for IndieWebCamps

Q: Who is the target audience for Indie Web Camp events?

A: IndieWebCamp events are for anyone who creates or works on their own personal website, or wants one, and shares at least some of that creativity or work openly (open source, open design, open UX).

What is the purpose of IndieWebCamps

Q: What is the purpose of Indie Web Camp events?

A: IndieWebCamp is a 2-day creator camp focused on growing the independent web.

The purpose of IndieWebCamp is to gather creators and creatives of all backgrounds to help each other own our own content, permalinks, and identity on the web, rather than just posting to third-party content silos.

We do this at IndieWebCamps with two days of brainstorming & creating, and advance & grow the indie web, using our own personal websites as exemplars.

What is a personal website

Q: What is a personal website?

A: A personal website is website that is at a personal-domain, with permalinks & posts that you control, rather than at a 3rd party silo.

If you have multiple personal domains, just pick one that you want to start using to express yourself.

E.g. if you have one with your name, start with that one.

Is everyone going to want to run their own website

Q: Is everyone going to want to run their own website?

A: There are historical precedents for this question:

  • Is everyone going to want to run their own personal computer?
  • Is everyone going to want to run their own (cell or mobile) phone (number)?

The answer used to be no, until it became obvious that the answer was yes.

More and more people are "running" their own site as they "run" their own phone.

There are plenty of reasons why, and modern turnkey IndieWeb services like micro.blog are approaching our collective goal of a one-click-install for the IndieWeb.

There will be stronger network effects (e.g. with peer-to-peer federated indieweb comments) as even more people do so in the future.

The great thing is that if you are publishing on your own site, you are getting an immediate benefit out of it now (extra control and flexibility), and may optionally syndicate to your accounts on existing social network silos, to set a good example for your friends still on those silos.

Do I need to self-host my website

Q: Is self-hosting my website required to be on the indieweb?

A: Definitely not! There is no requirement to self-host your website to be considered "indieweb". The important thing is to own your identity and your data. As long as you own your domain, you have the ability to switch hosting providers as you please.

What are the most important things about an indieweb site

Q: What would you say are the most important things about an indieweb site?

A: After getting started, build what interests you most — build what you need and will use. You can also follow the IndieMark levels.

How do I export my data

Q: How do I export my data from various services? AKA

  • Is there a list of data liberation options?
  • How to get your __[type of data]__ out of __[cloud service]__?

A: The information about how to export your data from each silo is available on the wiki page for that silo. E.g.

See the silos page for a list of popular silos. If you have an account somewhere not listed there, go ahead and add such silos to the silos page and ask in chat if anyone has any experience exporting from it/them. Once could also use FreeYourStuff as a means of exporting data from some services.

Is this just federated social networks

Q: Aren't you just talking about federation?

A: Federated social networks and distributed social networks have been touted as an answer to the same problem indie web people are trying to solve. It's not the same.

Federated social networks are an improvement over single silo services, but they still don't put the individual user in control. With an IndieWeb approach, the individual is the primary actor in the network rather than the network.

In a federated social network, it may be the case that there is some equality and transparency and compatibility between services, however the networks (and their admins) are still the primary actors rather than the individuals who create content.

With an IndieWeb approach, the individual users control their own identity, control their own publishing process & syndication (see POSSE), and networking is secondary.

It also doesn't mean that we have to sit around and wait for big sites to agree on protocols (often decided behind closed doors, and often far too hard for individuals to implement).

The IndieWeb approach empowers you to publish directly to the web, on domains and services you control.

Is there an IndieWeb mailing list

Q: Is there an IndieWeb mailing list?

A: No. We use chat. One of the reasons people in the IndieWeb community are particularly productive is that there's no mailing list dominated by talkers to distract creators. We started the IndieWeb community and IndieWebCamps without a mailing list, and have found chat sufficient for any general discussions. Specific issues on particular specifications, or software are better discussed in GitHub issues on their respective repos.

Also: short chat messages 24x7 worldwide scale much better than paragraphs of emails, both for writing and reading.

If you get this far and still feel the need to join an IndieWeb / Social Web related mailing list, look into joining the W3C’s Social Web Incubator Community Group (SWICG), which does have a mailing list, though be forewarned, most of the traffic and content is theoretical & aspirational, and not directly related to anything the authors are themselves building and using for their own social web presence.

How do you figure stuff out

Q: How do you hash stuff out? or
Q: How does the indieweb community discuss stuff?

A: Chat. Sometimes blog posts on our own blogs with proposals. Sometimes we meetup in person. Sometimes proposals on wiki pages, followed up with chat or in-person chats. Sometimes someone just ships something on their own site and asks, hey folks, what do you think of this?

What if my timezone is very different

Q: What if my timezone is very different from those I want to discuss with?

A: You'd be surprised. We're a round-the-clock multi-timezone crew. We read the chat logs, chat, sometimes leave short text messages to each other via "!tell".

Beyond the US, we have active community members come and go in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, India, Hong Kong, and other countries.

Is the indieweb giving in to silos with POSSE and backfeed

Q: Is the indieweb conforming to what silos want instead of the other way around by POSSEing and using backfeeds of comments/activities? If all the silo comments/activities will end up on my site what is the incentive for my friends there to go indie?

A: Through POSSE+backfeed your site will aggregate all the activity and responses to your posts.

Your site has more than any one silo; the most complete experience around a piece of content.

This is a good incentive for readers to visit your site instead of a silo-copy.

By seeing how much better your indieweb profile is than any of their silo profiles, it may motivate them to go 'indie' as well. Help them do so!

How do I set or change my name on the IndieWebCamp wiki

Q: How do I use something other than my domain name as my username on the wiki?

A: Once you have registered via indieauth on the wiki, you'll be able to create your profile page. You'll notice that the username you have is the domain you registered with, but that when other people are referenced around the wiki they often have a nickname, sometimes with a profile photo, such as Aaron Parecki. These are known as sparklines and can be setup easily using the Template:sparkline examples.

For more information on getting started with the wiki, check out the wikify page.

How do I confirm my email address on the wiki

Q: When I tried to confirm my email address I got an error. How do I confirm it?

IndieWeb could not send your confirmation mail. Please check your email address for invalid characters. Mailer returned: Unknown error in PHP's mail() function.

A: There is no email address confirmation or setup on the IndieWeb wiki. This default feature of MediaWiki has not been fully disabled so some remnants of the pages/UI remain which unfortunately report confusing errors.

E.g. we should disable this page entirely: Special:ConfirmEmail

... more questions ...


see also

See Also