Archive of: community

  • JS Oxford Indieweb presentation

    Last night I attended the always excellent JS Oxford, and as well as having my mind expanded by both Jo and Ruth’s talks (Lemmings make an excellent analogy for multi-threading, who knew!), I gave a brief talk on the Indieweb movement.

    If you’ve not heard of Indieweb movement before, it’s a push to encourage people to claim their own bit of the web, for their identity and content, free from corporate platforms. It’s not about abandoning those platforms, but ensuring that you have control of your content if something goes wrong.

    From the Indieweb site:

    Your content is yours

    When you post something on the web, it should belong to you, not a corporation. Too many companies have gone out of business and lost all of their users’ data. By joining the IndieWeb, your content stays yours and in your control.

    You are better connected

    Your articles and status messages can go to all services, not just one, allowing you to engage with everyone. Even replies and likes on other services can come back to your site so they’re all in one place.

    I’ve been interested in the Indieweb for a while, after attending IndieWebCamp Brighton in 2016, and I’ve been slowly implementing Indieweb features on here ever since.

    So far I’ve added rel="me" attributes to allow distributed verification, and to enable Indieauth support, h-card to establish identity, and h-entry for information discovery. Behind the scenes I’m looking at webmentions (Thanks to Perch’s first class support), and there’s the ever-eternal photo management thing I keep picking up and then running away from.

    The great thing about the Indieweb is that you can implement as much or as little as you want, and it always gives you something to work on. It doesn’t matter where you start. The act of getting your own domain is the first step on a longer journey.

    To that end I’m interested in organising an IndieWebCamp Oxford this year. If this sounds like something that interests you, then come find me in the Digital Oxford Slack, or on Twitter.

  • Herding cats at Oxford Geek Night

    Last night I gave an updated version of my talk on successful community management, “How to Herd Cats“ (slideshare link), at the sixteenth Oxford Geek Night.

    (Update: Al has posted his video of the talk on Vimeo, thanks Al)

    It was a particular honour to be asked to give a keynote as it was almost three years to the day (give or take a week) that I did a microslot talk at the very first Geek Night (a little nugget that JP stole for his introduction. Damn your eyes sir!).

    As usual the night was great fun. Thanks to JP for all the organisation and set up (it’s true, gaffer tape really does hold the universe together), and thanks to everyone who came. I received lots of nice feedback after I’d finished the talk, which is always gratifying.

    For those of you who wanted to delve deeper into the subject, then as I mentioned during the talk, you really can’t do any better than Jono Bacon’s “The Art Of Community”. It’s available for free download under a Creative Commons license, but I would urge you to buy a copy too. It really is a fantastic piece of work.

    I’ve also collated links to related sites and articles on under the tag “ogn16“.

    And finally, for those of you who kept asking me about the Stormtrooper slide, I present you with the most awesome link in the history of awesome links: Stormtrooper 365.

  • Tips on running a successful online community

    Yesterday I gave a talk at the Leeds GeekUp event. It was a 20:20 style presentation on a subject of my choosing, so I went for tips on running a successful online community.

    Still flushed from the success of the Oxford Flickr Exhibition and having given a lot of recent thought to just how much we’ve achieved as a group in the last three years it seemed a good subject to tackle.

    The talk seemed to go down very well with more than a few laughs elicited from the crowd. I had a really great time and the Leeds lot are a really nice bunch of people. It’s good to see the grassroots level geekery flourishing all over the country.

    20:20 style talks are pretty tricky and if I learnt one thing it’s not have so many bullet points in my notes, there’s really only time for one nugget per slide. It was a lot of fun though and I’m going to see if JP is up for trying them out at a future Oxford Geek Night.

    I’ve posted my slides if you want to have a look but I’m not sure how much sense they’ll make in isolation. Of more use are the accompanying links on delicious.

    Thanks to everyone at Leeds for a great night.

  • Design in the Drupal community

    From a fantastic piece by Christopher Calicott looking at how front end design and development is treated within the Drupal community.

    Having such high standards for writing PHP code while playing so fast and loose with front end code and treating it as though it’s a non-issue, even while the rest of the world does it this way, is not only a gross double standard within the Drupal community, it is currently beginning to get the attention of the Web world outside of Drupal — and not in a good way. We’re positioned in the press to take off like a rocket and gain real longevity, and yet in the web design community – people who talk around the world at conferences, on podcasts, et cetera – are starting to hear that Drupal, despite the good things about the code they’ve heard, makes minced meat of their beautifully executed, semantic XHTML, and there are no plans within the leadership of the Drupal community (yet) to raise the standard for front-end code to the same degree that they have on the backend.

    Firstly, developers take writing code very seriously and have stringent – but ultimately plain and simple – coding style rules to follow with their module development. Designers have the same sorts of practices. It’s what they do and it’s equally as important. It is time that that is fully recognized in the Drupal community and an effort be made to bring this paradigm (elsewhere largely already in practice) into our community. Designers feel just as strongly about a developer playing fast and loose with improperly written, unsemantic XHTML as developers do about designers who make dumb mistakes with PHP or try to talk shop when they are out of their depth. In fact, dare I say it – if you’re writing poor, unsemantic XHTML markup, it’s due to your lack of understanding of what you are doing, at this point. Web standards are widely adopted in the Web world. Drupal ignores this fact at its peril.

    It’s an issue that’s been bubbling under for a while, and this is the best treatise I’ve seen on it yet. Required reading for anyone involved with Drupal on any level.

  • The Flickr Commons project

    Flickr have just announced a fantastic new project called The Commons. The idea behind which is to harness the collective power of the Flickr community by allowing us to tag reference collections of images from institutions around the world.

    The Commons kicks off with a pilot scheme involving the U.S. Library of Congress. From their photo catalogue of over a million photos the Library team has chosen around 1,500 photos each from two of their more popular collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s.

    As well as being a historical treasure trove for us to pour over, absorb and catalogue, these images are also under a “no known copyright restrictions” license. It doesn’t mean they’re Public Domain, but it should allow for all sorts of interesting re-use possibilities.

    It’s very addictive once you get involved and reminds me a lot of Galaxy Zoo in a way. There’s an aspect of “…just one more picture…” to it, which is bad for me as you really don’t want to know how many hours I’ve lost to Galaxy Zoo.

    For more commentary on the project, pop over to Adactio where Jeremy Keith has posted some thoughtful insight.

  • Quote of the day

    Sharepoint 2007 is proof positive that Microsoft doesn’t get the community thing

    Clay Newton commenting on Scobleizer.

  • Virgin America's new inflight entertainment system

    Artur Bergman over at the O’Reilly Radar has had a chance to look at the new Virgin America planes. The inflight entertainment system sounds amazing!

    Developed internally at Virgin America, the system is named Red and provides live satellite tv, movies, mp3s, games and plane-wide chatting. Yes, chatting. There is a general chatroom, a private invite channel for your friends, and direct user-to-user messaging. When watching television, you have the option to chat with everyone who is watching the same event.

    There are also some other smart touches like USB sockets for charging of peripherals, and being able to order food via the system which keeps track of what’s been ordered so ground crews know how much to restock…

    …oh, and it has Doom on it…

    …yes, that’s right, Doom.

    Update (9th August): Xeni Jardin from BoingBoing writes about the experience on the Virgin America Inaugural, and Artur Bergman blogs about the flight on the O’Reilly Radar, including a screenshot of Doom on the IFE. Cool stuff.

  • acquired by CBS

    From BBC technology news.

    Social music site has been bought by US media giant CBS Corporation for $280m (£140m), the largest-ever UK Web 2.0 acquisition.

    As part of the deal,’s managing team will remain in place and the site will maintain its own separate identity.

  • Community tips from Fortuitous

    Sorry things have been so quiet round here recently, but Heather and myself have been busting ourselves stupid trying to get the new version of Scarleteen finished (more on that when it launches). We’re not quite done yet but at least the end is in site.

    Anyhow, the reason for this post (apart from the apology) is to point out a fantastic article on Matt Haughey‘s new site, Fortuitous, Some Community Tips for 2007 – Seven tips on how to run a successful community.

    Every year or so I write a long post or do a presentation at a conference on the subject of community. Each time I approach the subject, I take what I’ve already written and add to it with recent things I’ve learned or learned long before and only recently realized. To prepare for an upcoming presentation, I decided to write down stuff I’ve learned/realized in the last 12 months. I suspect I’ll be revisiting this topic many times on this blog but I wanted to kick off this first foray into community with a list of stuff I’ve been thinking about recently, but haven’t written much about yet.

    Matt is the founder of Metafilter (amongst other things) so when he offers up tips about running an online community, you’d better make sure you’re taking notes.

  • Flickr to require Yahoo! login - world about to end apparently

    As you may have heard, Flickr have re-announced their intention to shut off the old sign-in system and move solely to Yahoo’s authentication system on the 15th March.

    (I say “re-announced” as this has been on the cards since the original buy out)

    From the furore erupting on the forums and on other sites you’d think Stuart and the guys had decided to put babies on spikes, not streamline their login system.

    I’ve personally introduced god knows how many people to flickr, many of whom went on to purchase Pro accounts, so I thought I’d address some of the misconceptions and complaints that are flying around in case they had any worries (which is much easier than wading through the offical support forum, which has turned into a bit of a pile-on in my opinion)

    1. I don’t want another loginThe Yahoo login will be replacing your flickr login, it won’t be in addition to. And if you already have a Yahoo ID then your total count of user IDs will actually go down.
    2. I don’t want to be, I don’t want to lose my flickr usernameYour Yahoo ID has no affect on your screenname within flickr. Nor does it affect your buddy icon, email settings etc.
    3. Yahoo’s authentication sucks, it keeps logging me out every X daysOnce you’ve merged and logged back into flickr, the flickr servers will keep you logged in. You won’t be at the mercy of Yahoo’s whimsy. I merged my account a few months ago (for access to the Filckr mobile site) and haven’t been back to Yahoo’s site since. So far everything has been fine.
    4. I hate YahooI’ve heard some people complain that they’ve had bad experiences with Yahoo in the past (note: I’m only talking from a technical angle here, their dealings with China are for another time). Fair enough, can’t say I’ve had any problems myself and I’ve had my Yahoo ID for over 8 years for IM purposes (oh christ I feel old), I don’t use the email side of it at all.It probably helps that the UK has some pretty hefty data protection legislation.

    Heather has also been compiling a list of these questions as a sticky topic at the top of the thread pages

    As to how I personally feel about this? To be honest I’m sitting on the fence. We’ve known this has been coming down the pipe since the buyout so the technical change doesn’t impact me at all. If unifying the architecture allows them to roll out swanky new features then I’m all for it.

    If I have any worries it’s about how much affect the corporate culture at Yahoo is having on Flickr’s independent attitude. The staff are in the threads doing their best to to reassure people that this isn’t happening, but who knows.

    My Pro account is paid up until the end of 2008 so I have plenty of time to see how things pans out. I’ve made too many friends and contacts through Flickr to just jump ship without good reason, and this isn’t a good reason. Fingers crossed the good will out.

    More comment and analysis: Metafilter, Thomas Vander Wal.