Stian Håklev posted an interesting question on the Digital Gardeners telegram group:
I’m curious how people feel about comments and interaction? And also interactivity between digital gardens in general (like paths connecting the parks of a city? :)).
Chris has talked enthusiastically about interlinking wikis before (e.g. during the Gardens and Streams IndieWeb session), so that’s a good indicator that there’s something to it. For me, perhaps because my wiki is still fairly new, or maybe because I already get the interactivity goodness on my stream and my articles, it’s something I haven’t generally been that interested in for my wiki notes thus far.
Stian has some use cases for which he would like the interactivity, and it feels like webmentions could go a long way to solving them:
I know comments have gotten a bad rep on the internet, attracting spam or trolls etc, but on the other hand I feel really frustrated when I can’t leave comments on Andy Matuschak’s notes…
I think Webmentions would work well here. You would write a comment as a post on your own site, and then this will notify Andy. He can choose to do whatever he wants with this comment (display the comment, display it as a backlink, ignore it completely, not display it at all, if he prefers). This way you can write a comment on whatever you want and the receiver chooses what to do with it.
Or another example – I just looked at Salman’s site about Deliberate rest (notes.salman.io/deliberate-rest), and thought that I just took some notes about attention restoration therapy from Deep Work – notes.reganmian.net/deep-work… Of course I could tell him here (I am :)) but that “doesn’t scale”…
Webmentions would work for this too – as just a simple ‘mention’, not necessarily a comment. Salman would be notified automatically that your note references his note. Salman could choose to display it as a backlink, if he liked.
The “doesn’t scale” comment is an interesting one, and puts me in mind of some of the discussion from Kicks around not forgetting the human work of keeping in touch with each other. It’s true that it doesn’t scale, but how much do we need it to?
Short-term, I am looking at adding at least page-level comments to my blog, using a Gatsby plugin and probably externally hosted comments.
Adding webmention support to receive comments could work here.
Also interested in experimenting with annotations, for example embedding Hypothes.is directly in the pages…
Kartik Prabhu has a nice article about receiving annotations on his posts via webmentions.
Long-term, I’m interesting in thinking about more structured ways of interlinking digital gardens – whether it looks more like interwiki links, blog backlinks, or something else, I’m not sure. I have some notes I’ll publish once I organize them a bit more.
I can definitely see the appeal of backlinks between wikis, but only in an abstract sense at the moment.
The utility is in how much it can facilitate networked thought. I guess for me it comes down to whether I see the utility in all of this connectivity on specifically my evergreen notes, as opposed to my stream posts.