The curious ecosystem of interi publishing

I am going to use interi so often to mean so many things, you will also start using it. Maybe to curse interi, but you’ll still be talking…

Okay, let me tell you how I write, because it is participatory, and you are in it right now. :slight_smile:

For years I’ve published at I’ve run a lot of software at the domain: MovableType, WordPress, MediaWiki, DokuWiki, Drupal, handcoded HTML, and today it is more or less generated by Hugo. And that is just the primary domain! Of course I just run whatever I want, wherever.

I have about a decade of blog posts and various bits and bobs I’ve picked up. And most of the time it looks like some kind of blog thing. Chronology and all that. My URLs have more or less stayed the same, as well, though most of the content is offline at the moment.

I love writing. I love talking, actually, but I often not awake when you folks get together to talk, so I write instead.

Blogging seems like a natural activity for me, but “blogging” as an industry has not only ruined the process for me, it has basically destroyed my livelihood (but we’ll get into that later!). The race to fight over scraps while spying on people has destroyed the optimism of entire generations of web users. So even as I kept up with the curve, I grew disgusted by what I know to be “best practices” for blogging.

Do I like blogging? Maybe. Again, I love talking! So a big part of blogging was comments. I’ll dig up links and insert them here later, and it will be super meta (wait for it!), but I’ve gone over how comments should be seen as belonging to those in the conversation, and how the popularity contest that is WordPress money-making subverted the communication tools we had.

Discourse, this software running this site, is amazing. It is a mailing list. And a wiki. And a reference engine. And a social network. And a social graph. And an archive.

If I didn’t have a larger plan, I’d run Discourse on my main site! :slight_smile:

But I do have a plan, one better than the Cylons’!

Because I do love documenting things. And the web I wanted, the one I’ve trained to build was an open documentation storage and retrieval system. One where we all became social data scientist and shared freely.

And that takes time, because I want to do it slowly. Very slowly. I don’t want people to read what I write when I write it, I want them to read it years later because it helped them solve a problem or understand where we were in time.

But then I need those cheap, stupid, quick messages. Digital chaff. And Mastodon certainly provides. Or ActivityPub, if I move into other components of federated messaging (like audio, video or images).

These are my three points of feedback.

  • I have ideas, quips, questions, I want to jump into the public discourse, over Mastodon. I have a network that has networks, and we are cool, we answer each other and boost along questions we don’t know. I get feedback, answers, better ideas (and sometimes worse ones).
  • If I have a big idea, or am ready to hash it out, or just need a place to stash a bunch of notes or responses, I use talkgroup
  • When something is ready to be documented, I do that, at interi

And the best part is, all the docs on interi can be discussed, on Mastodon and talkgroup…

See I don’t need popularity, or stats. I need to talk. I am building places I can do that. On the free and open web. I have the best comments, because I use systems specifically designed for commentary. And I get the best commentors because we are all in this together, and the free and open web is a boring place for people seeking thrills at the expense of others (not immune, I know, but boring).

One day this post will merge into interi, edited for the medium, inclusive of the ideas and insights I and other have while it waits here, brewing. Maybe someone will disrupt my entire paradigm! Maybe the same crew of peeps will stop by and drop a :heart: on me, to show they are present.

I don’t know! But I am ready. What shall we talk about?

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Oh yeah, #interi is my blog now, and my personally branded newsletter! It is so prestigious that right now only like 30 people can post here!

When I have a new idea, where do I post it? Does it have to be a certain length to be a forum thread?

Nope! My sole criteria for a new post is: does it need a subject line?

If not: Mastodon
If yes: talkgroup

One would think I take titles quite serious (of one never actually read mine), but I do not. I mean, I like an elegant title as much as the next person, but what really matters to me is the service a title/subject has to a message.

In Mastodon we can kinda put a title (in the CW field), but I think of it as my magic conk shell. I and whisper, talk or shout into it, and it will wisp my voice away, and might even return others to me. I reach for it for quickness, brevity and curiosity.

When I need to really drill into the details, I spin up a thread here. I need code block and quotes, to drop links all over the place, and have inline images to get my point across.

We just had a long conversation that is branching all over the place, and it feels like a “choose-your-own-adventure” story about a bunch of indie game developers on the web:

I love us having that discussion there, because we roped in folks that wouldn’t respond here in the forums. On the other hand, I am so much better at compiling and answering in Discourse. The difference between a “rich” and basic editing experience, I suppose.

As I browse yet another list of web design best practices, I think about the way I write here and the way I create content for a static site. Because I want to be an excellent specimen as well, and for it is be easy to flow through for as many folks as possible.

That isn’t the case here, in forums. Here I use links instead of words, make points with emoji, and use ironic link text. I speak more plainly, as well. My don’t make always sentences sense. :woman_shrugging:

That’s not to say I won’t be me on the docs site. It’s just that I will be the most posh documentarian me I can be! :slight_smile:

@tim, there is a zero step: notebooks.

This becomes even more important as the systems start working! I get ideas faster than I can even write them down by hand. And then some ideas also keep rising, and no matter how many times I externalize it the idea will come back. I needed a system that could somehow make concrete and capture these ideas that want to be moved on.

For me, it is a streamlined bullet journal system, plus recurring process taskwarrior tasks to move those points into digital systems. That context switch helps, as I don’t have to linger on the ideas I’m moving over, I’m just doing a routine to make it easier to work on later. This in turn frees up my mind to enjoy more, and find what is essential.

I have a banker box full of mostly empty notebooks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and quality. I’m not buying any more journals until I use or give away all of them.

I know what you’re thinking: maiki, you should write about every one of those journals! I know, right?! :slight_smile:

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The journal itself is an integral part!