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Fediverse Unlocked

Embracing the Fediverse with ActivityPub.

I was excited when Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, announced that they had acquired the popular WordPress plugin ActivityPub.

Although I had enabled the ActivityPub plugin in 2019, I hadn’t committed to using it and soon disabled it. Matthias Pfefferle’s later announcement that Automattic had enabled ActovityPub across all of WordPress.com filled me with confidence to re-enable the plug-in and commit to the fediverse.

The ActivityPub plugin for WordPress is a tool that extends the functionality of a WordPress website to make it compatible with the ActivityPub protocol. ActivityPub is a decentralised social networking protocol that allows different social media platforms to communicate and share content in a standardised way.

My WordPress site can interact with other ActivityPub-compatible platforms such as Mastodon. This means I can follow and be followed by users on other ActivityPub-compatible social networks like Mastodon, Pleroma, or Pixelfed. I can share my posts, articles, and updates from my WordPress site directly to subscribers on other platforms that support ActivityPub.

ActivityPub enables interactions such as liking (favouriting), sharing (boosting), and commenting (replies) on my WordPress posts from other ActivityPub users. The plugin allows me to control the visibility of my posts, making it possible to share them publicly or restrict it to specific audiences.

Once a person follows the @khurtwilliams@islandinthenet.com profile, any blog post I publish publicly will land in their Home feed on Mastodon. I receive notifications for interactions with my blog, such as when someone likes, shares, or comments on my posts from those external platforms.

The ActivityPub plugin enhances my WordPress website's connectivity, enabling it to become a part of the larger decentralised social web. It fosters a more open and interconnected online social experience, where users on various platforms can engage with my website seamlessly.

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.

37 thoughts on “Fediverse Unlocked”

  1. It seems like we're both in need of some insights from @manton, as he's the expert on how micro.blog operates. Since you're not familiar with micro.blog, it might be best for us to wait for @manton's guidance. I appreciate your input so far, but it looks like this is something that only someone with direct knowledge can address.

    Just to clarify, I wasn't seeking troubleshooting help, but rather trying to highlight some issues I've encountered, despite micro.blog's stated support for these features.

  2. @khurtwilliams ok-- so I'll just have to read your mind I guess. I literally have no idea where your URL comes from and how your account is setup. But I'll repeat-- I am not a MB employee. I have no roll here. I don't want one. I have generally tried to be helpful, and I've generally found your tone in various places to be pretty aggressive and unpleasant. I hoped to help, but clearly I am not helping. I'd appreciate it if you didn't use me as your personal webmentions test case-- I don't really have a desire to be your troubleshooter, and none of what you've posted gives me enough information to really help anyway. It seems to me like you're not getting the support or functionality you want, so it seems to me like this isn't the place for you at this point. It's been years.

  3. @khurtwilliams and yes, I remember that thread and Manton saying “if you make the link point to the main post and not the comment you’re replying to, that seems semantically different than your expectation/description of desired action”— and that was set up on the sender side.

  4. @khurtwilliams I have no idea if that is meant to work. A reply to a reply is sending a webmention to a reply… a reply that has been pulled into WordPress, and a reply which, itself, is not a post. I’m honestly unsure. I don’t think I know what I would expect. I don’t generally think of webmentions in my personal mental model as a mechanism for threaded replies. I think of it as something close to ping back/trackback style. “I’m informing you I wrote a post about your post” not conversation back and forth. That could be wrong, but my understanding of webmentions is not “this is a full conversation system”.

    That said, I don’t build anything here and I’m not officially anything, just describing my own understanding.

  5. @khurtwilliams i recieve webmentions from your blog. They are webmentions, however, and not magical MB replies. MB supports receiving and sending webmentions, but it does not consider a webmention something to be converted into an MB reply. MB replies are not inclusive of webmentions. activitypub replies to posts are, however, considered replies in that way.

    1. @pratik, yes! That’s how it’s supposed to work. Webmention support across platforms can be spotty. Some known issues exist with the ActivityPub WordPress plugin.

      Update: Yet another u-in-reply-to webmention that micro.blog did not pick up.

    1. @pratik I don’t post on micro.blog anymore.

      Micro.blog pulls in my self-hosted WordPress posts via RSS/JSON feed. WordPress sends my posts to photog.social via ActivityPub. The blog itself can be followed directly from micro.blog or Maston by following @khurtwilliams on those platforms.

      I’ve had Wedmention support on my self-hosted WordPress since 2017. Micro.blog also supports Webmentions. Any comments on micro.blog should appear back on the WordPress post. Any replies from my WordPress should also be sent back to micro.blog via Webmentions.

      I use Brid.gy to back feed the comments from photog.social to my self-hosted WordPress.

      I do not want to pollute my RSS feed with short posts.

      Update: Yet another u-in-reply-to webmention that micro.blog did not pick up.

    1. @jemostrom@social.lol follow @khurtwilliams to follow the blog posts. I also syndicate them to @khurtwilliams@photog.social. Follow me on @khurtwilliams if you want to see my random micro-posts.

      I know all of this stuff is confusing. Nerds made it for other nerds.

    1. @khurtwilliams This WordPress comment should appear on micro.blog as a comment to your comment.

  6. @khurtwilliams the possibility to reply from Micro.blog to your blog is simply very cool!

    1. @numericcitizen all your reply comments for the syndicated link on from micro.blog will make it back to my blog. If micro. blog's Webmention reply support is working as expected, and then you'll see my (this) reply in micro.blog itself.

      1. NOTE: It doesn't work as expected. Replies to comments left via micro.blog never make it back to micro.blog and I have no way to troubleshoot it. This used to work but either @manton has removed this feature or there is a bug in the micro.blog implementation of Webmention.

        Here's the Webmention markup I am using.

        <a href="https://micro.blog/numericcitizen/26727320" class="u-in-reply-to">@numericcitizen</a> all your reply comments for the syndicated link on from micro.blog will make it back to my blog. If micro. blog's <a href="https://help.micro.blog/t/replies-and-mentions/28">Webmention reply support</a> is working as expected, and then you'll see my (this) reply in micro.blog itself.

  7. @khurtwilliams you are the first WordPress.com site that I now follow using the Fediverse. I'm following you from Micro.blog Mastodon compatible feature.

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