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Frequently Asked Questions about the IndieWeb and IndieWebCamp.

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 works on (or wants to work on) their own personal website, and shares at least some of that work openly (open source, open design, open UX). Are you a creator? Do you work on projects? Join us.

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.

Why can no one make something consumer friendly

"Q: Why can't someone make something consumer friendly then?"[1]

A: Because they can't even make something self-friendly, that is, something that they themselves will use, daily, and thus continuously improve.

There are a small handful (maybe a few dozen) people who are making something self-friendly, here in the IndieWebCamp community, and few elsewhere as well.

See also the next question: "Who are we making software for"

Who are we making software for

"Q: Who are we making software for?"

A: Make software for yourself which you use daily and rely on, instead of targeting some other demographic.[2]

And use it publicly on your personal site - that will motivate you to continuously iterate and improve it.

Share what you learn in the process. Post on your site, share briefly on chat, contribute to wiki.

By doing so we are together building a diverse plurality of software and systems that interoperate, by starting with our own individual & varied UX needs, wants, and specific real-world personal use-cases to derive the minimal protocols & formats necessary.

See also:

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) phone (number)?

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

Currently not everyone wants to run their own website, partially because it's not clear why, and partially because there's no one-click-install for the IndieWeb. We're solving both of those problems.

For now, those who want to run their own sites can, and those who don't want to don't have to.

There will be network effects (e.g. with peer-to-peer federated indieweb comments) as more people do so in the future. But 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 are still syndicating to existing social network silos like Twitter and Facebook.

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 will use. You can also follow the IndieMark levels.

How should I markup my site

"Q: How should I markup my site?"

A: Use a classic microformat on the body of each page. For your index page, use an h-card. For your individual permalink pages, use h-entry.

For all of the data on your pages, use microformats2.

What are IndieWebCamp specifications

"Q: What specs does IndieWebCamp handle?"

A: The IndieWebCamp community develops several widely implemented specifications, including IndieAuth, Webmention, and Micropub. Additional specifications (like Microsub and Vouch) are in development. Lastly, IndieWebCamp also makes heavy (re-)use of microformats specifications.

See specifications for a longer list of essential IndieWebCamp specifications, both developed here in the community, and heavily (re-)used from other communities.

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. Having federated social networks would probably be an improvement on having single silo services, but it still doesn't put the individual user in control. With an indie web 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 like Twitter, Facebook, status.net, Google+ etc., the networks rather than the individuals are still the primary actors.

With an indieweb approach, the individual users control their own identity, control their own publishing process and 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) and can just publish stuff on the web.

Any books or posts on federated networks

Q: Do you have any good books / posts you would recommend on the subject of federated networks?

A: There are no good books on the subject of federated networks because there are no good federated networks. Yet. Email may have had a glimmer but is being crushed under overwhelming spam and will die as a result.

There are many aspirational posts about federated social networks (e.g. [3]) but few and far between are actual good posts about them. Here is a list of a few:

Is there an IndieWeb mailing list

Q: Is there an IndieWeb mailing list?

A: No. We use chat. We're beyond mailing lists. One of the reasons people in the IndieWeb community are particularly productive is that there's no mailing list of talkers to distract creators.

Also: short chat messages 24x7 worldwide scale much better than paragraphs of emails.

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 in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, India, Hong Kong.

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/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.

... more questions ...


see also