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Micro.blog (micro.blog)
398 points by smacktoward 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 143 comments



Lots of negativity here, as is unfortunately typical at HN far too often these days. Especially given that this project is what HN is supposed to be about - done by a lone hacker with help from volunteers, trying to create a different and hopefully better social media. Sure, it may or may not work, it has all sorts of pros and cons, but I’d vote for being open-minded and constructive rather than cynical from the get go.

For what it’s worth, I played with it literally a couple of days ago. I found the set up very easy, the themes limited but decent, the functionality around creating posts and pages very fast and clean. It also has cross-posting to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Medium built-in. I also found that $5/mo is perfectly acceptable - many blogs charge more. I absolutely loved that you could enable a GitHub Pages integration, de facto backing up your website for free.

On the con side, there are things you can’t customize (eg their default footer that says to follow the user, or their archive page), search is only present in some themes and also can’t be customized, and there is very limited information about the project overall. The lack of ability to add an option for email subscription also is a significant issue in my opinion.

I was investigating the project from a blogging point of view and concluded it is trying to be Twitter first and foremost so not a good fit. Still, it was a pleasure to discover something new, interesting, and reasonably clean and functional.


When the very first lines on a homepage are:

> Today's social networks are broken. Ads are everywhere. Hate and harassment are too common. Fake news spreads unchecked.

-- the author has set themselves up for high and lofty expectations. Especially for a paid service.


By making it a paid service, the author effectively kills two of those issues straight away - No ads and reduced fake news issues.

The ads claim is obvious, they don't host ads because they don't need the revenue. However, that fake news is defeated is less obvious. Fake news largely spreads on free platforms by bot armies, which need to pay $5/mo per bot, making them highly expensive and reducing the likelihood they exist there at all. People will still post and shill shit that is fake, but it's less of a problem in a social network if only the minority who actually buy into the fake news or other garbage are spreading it.


In addition, there are no global timelines or auto-generated trends or retweets at this point. There is Discover feed [1] which is manually curated. So, in case you do see the fake or spam posts, that would be primarily because you follow the accounts. There are also mechanisms to block users which should address the replies spams.

Edit: Added the link to discover feed, accessible without an account too.

[1]: https://micro.blog/discover


I forgot the Discover feed is publicly accessible, it's a good way of getting a sense of what the community is like.

There's also the 2 min video tour that they just released today, and should probably have been added to the front page of the website:

http://help.micro.blog/2018/video-intro/


I don't see the problem with retweets. Sure it can be used for bad, but also for good.

I think micro.blog is worse for failing to have easily ways of sharing content.


> Lots of negativity here, as is unfortunately typical at HN far too often these days.

Lot's of objectivity here, I'd say. You admit yourself that "it has all sorts of pros and cons", so why shouldn't the cons be discussed here?

Constructive criticism is something positive.


You don't have to be a member to take advantage of this. I syndicate my RSS feed to my micro.blog account (no membership) and have had quite a few useful conversations through there. I didn't see any point at first, but I'm sold now - it's a small community where you get to know people, which is rather rare at the moment.


Can I read somewhere how that works?


I tried to find myself, but there is a bit more detail on the help site which isn't very well linked to: http://help.micro.blog


Thanks. After searching a bit more, I found the page about Feeds [1], and while it seems to touch the topic, it is rather shallow.

A specific example is given on the IFTTT [2] page, but I am unsure if that is the best way to achieve RSS cross postings on micro.blog.

[1]: https://help.micro.blog/2017/api-feeds/

[2]: https://help.micro.blog/2018/ifttt/


API feeds is to pull data from Micro.blog - for example replies. To enable cross posting from your existing blog, a setting can be enabled. From the help page on getting started [1]

> "If you already have a blog, such as one based on WordPress, connect it to Micro.blog by adding the feed URL to your account under Account → “Edit Feeds”."

[1]: https://help.micro.blog/2017/getting-started/


I would want to know if my product did not address any demands, especially since they’re charging money. This is not a run-it-yourself Show HN link to a github repo, and honest critique is the whole reason to post here.

Personally, I’m struggling to see the value over any of the many static blog generators out there, considering the recurring(!) cost.


As other comments have noted, you can integrate your (static) blog hosted somewhere else into its platform for free. Other people don't want to mess with setting that up, like having mobile apps, and pay for that extra comfort.


"Micro.blog encourages publishing at your own domain name, where you can control your own content, but it still integrates posts into a familiar timeline user interface, with centralized replies, favorites, and an open API based on JSON Feed and IndieWeb standards."

Static blog generators are different beasts.

If this were Disqus without ads and slowness, I'd give them some money.


> Lots of negativity here, as is unfortunately typical at HN far too often these days.

Well, people are not bullish about this website, so they're expressing their views (which happen to be negative). Check out the 'Show HN' posts, there's a ton of positive feedback on many projects.

Maybe HN crew can somtimes be aggressive and opinionated, especially when it touches the economy and politics, but Show HNs and product reviews in general are the most honest you'll get on the net. This part works pretty damn well.


Labeling ideas we don't like as "negativity" does not encourage a rational discussion. It's imprecise and often judgemental.


> Lots of negativity here, as is unfortunately typical at HN far too often these days

As a long time HN user I disagree. Tech nerds, hackers by their nature cut to the point, and communicate quite directly.

You are essentially saying in your last sentence that you don't like it, but adding a full preamble to make sure your message sounds positive enough. That's not the norm of communication in this place.

And perhaps it should be, and will be. But from where I'm sitting, that is new. HN wasn't a safe space, or a beacon of positive communication in the past. It was a place for sharing ideas, and shooting down bad ones without too much fluff around it.


> Especially given that this project is what HN is supposed to be about - done by a lone hacker with help from volunteers, trying to create a different and hopefully better social media.

I've emailed the author of micro.blog once over some small technical issue with their bot and they were very responsive solving the issue within days. That's one of the best support experiences I've ever had. Usually big companies ignore or consider user reported problems as a non-issue.


I think it’s a neat idea and seems to be what blogger was way back in the day.

$5/month is completely unreasonable as a github pages account is free and Dropbox/OneDrive is $8/month.

This would be a really neat oss project. And I’m sure some people will find this useful, but seems like not the solution to social media problems.

The only way I would think this is good is if it donates $4.95/month to some sort of simple 99% charity that builds water or gives cows.


You reckon you could build and run this as a service for $0.05 a user per month? Whilst perhaps scraping profit? Care to share some of your own products, I'm keen to see how sustainable your business models are.


Why are you forcing the look from the provider's perspective? OP mentioned an alternative that is cheaper (free), so it's expensive from user's perspective.


I don’t sell product like this. I do use WordPress for free on a shared host averaging about $1/site.

My problem is not making money by selling this type of service. My problem is finding a good tool.

It’s interesting that people think users care about provider profit models. What’s an acceptable profit? I certainly don’t know and don’t really care.


Sustainability and viability are not linked.


Of course they are. There's no viable project or service that is not sustainable.


On the other hand, $5 is relatively cheap compared to other paid hosting platforms, so clearly people are willing to pay for additional comfort over Github Pages. I seriously don't get how people don't seem to understand that (and I say that as someone who self-hosts a lot of stuff, and thus personally isn't interested paying for a blog, but know plenty people who do).


$5/mo seems high to me, but that's irrelevant. I'd happily pay it, if this could be a replacement for Facebook. But it can't, because $5/mo would be insanely high to most of my friends, many of whom decide what their plans are for the evening by how much gas is in their tank, i.e. can they afford to drive to town? And if my friends aren't there, it's not really a social network. I love this idea, but it needs a free tier to scale, and it needs a "pro" tier that's around $10-$20/year.

EDIT: Okay, apparently there is a free tier, but it isn't really viable. No way to post (without an existing, external blog) and no profile page.


It’s all relative. I pay $30/year for a shared hosting service. It runs a ton of different sites and software (anything supported by cpanel basically).

So doubling that price for just blogging is out for me. But it’s cool if you, and others like it and are willing to pay. I wish OP best of luck.


OSS project! Because software is libre free, hosting is ~beer free and a dev’s time is worth ... ah. Fuck all. Right.

As someone who is teaching himself to code so that he might one day make a thing on the internet that he – shock!, might want to sell, in order to make a living – this saddens me.


Think of it as volunteer work. Lots of people like coding and volunteer their time. Lots of people don’t do this.

This doesn’t mean time isn’t valuable, it just means that people donate their valuable time. And competing with that is a bad idea.

I have a friend who does pro bono legal work. Normal bill rate is hundreds per hour, but donated for free to people who can’t afford it. Been doing it for years.

Now imagine that I start a new legal aide company and only charge $5/month for it. It’s pretty silly to complain about these volunteers. It’s also silly to think that it’s not worth being a lawyer because of these volunteers.

Keep studying, become a good programmer. You’ll have work. Some of your ideas might not sustain you economically. But if you get a good enough job, you can help the world with a cool side project


I believe it is one of the cheaper paid blogging platforms out there - of course ignoring the free ad-backed options. It is run by a single developer who does this full time -- not sure if $0.05/month will be profitable enough to make a viable living.


Please stop criticising people for charging money for their work. You don't do that to a doctor you visit, you don't do that to a taxi driver, why do you do that to a fellow programmer?


I’m not criticizing OP per se, just pointing out that I don’t think it’s that valuable.

If my doctor said ve wanted to change my $10 visit to $100, I would certainly not use that. That’s not a criticism of the doctor.

Time costs money and that’s a reality. People want to make money off their business, that makes sense. But saying there’s a floor value to anything just because a human makes it is a bit odd. If OP hires a second person, does that mean we shouldn’t criticize the price doubling?

As a user, I don’t care much for expenses above a base level of ethical practices and sustainability. I’ve not used lots of products because I didn’t find them viable because of their price vs cost. But I’m sometimes wrong.


You would criticize a doctor who would order expensive unwarranted scans, or a taxi driver who would take longer routes than needed.

In other words you would criticize people who charge you for services that don't address your needs.


Likewise, don't criticise a taxi driver because you can drive yourself.


Github pages and Dropbox don't allow for comments and conversations, right?


> Today's social networks are broken. Hate and harassment are too common. Fake news spreads unchecked.

How will micro.blog be different? Apps start small and friendly, but if you invite everyone in you'll have the same issues unless you have a technology or policy strategy that differs from the current social networks.

Would love to see this succeed, but need more details before I buy in.


There's very little information on the site at all, about any aspects of the service, and yet they want you to pay to use it.

Nothing about how it works, who runs it, privacy policy, where the data is stored... nothing.


It doesn’t have “likes” or “retweets” and it’s a paid site.


How much does it cost?


It's free if you just want to reserve a username and add an RSS feed from your own website - which can be either full articles (which will appear in Micro.Blog as a title & link), or short 280 char posts. You can reply to posts with a free account too.

-------

EDIT: Probably easier if for the other plans I just post the site's own info:

New Microblog — $5/month

We'll create and host a microblog for you at username.micro.blog or your own domain name. Includes cross-posting, pages, themes, and publishing from the web, iOS, and Mac.

New Blog + Microcast — $10/month

All the features of a hosted microblog plus audio hosting. Upload MP3s via the web or use the companion iPhone app Wavelength to record and edit your own microcast. We'll create a podcast feed for your site.

Enable Cross-posting — $2/month

Already have your own microblog? Add Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn, and Facebook cross-posting via Micro.blog. Works with any RSS feed.

Give Micro.blog

Invite someone to Micro.blog or pay for their first year of blog hosting.


That seems very expensive for what is a very simple site with very low costs. Why not $5/year?


The developer is trying to make it a financially viable project with what is, presumably, a pretty small customer base.


Doesn't adding an rss feed from own website still cost 2$ pm?


Nope, the $2 is just if you also want it to cross post your RSS out to Twitter, Medium et al. If you only want it to go into Micro.Blog, that's free. The pricing page makes it a bit clearer:

http://help.micro.blog/2018/pricing/

Basics: free

* Your own Micro.blog username.

* Replies to other posts, stored on Micro.blog.

* Add an external blog such as WordPress for posting.

* Use the iOS and Mac apps to browse the timeline or post to supported external blogs.

* No Micro.blog-hosted blog.

* No page at username.micro.blog.


$5 per month.


Yet another "$5/month" actually adds up quite quickly.


One thing I know they do is that they have a full time community manager and after more than a year participating I can say that the community is very civilized, see also https://monday.micro.blog/


Every social network out there has community managers. The point is, after a certain point, scale outpaces manual moderation. It's easy to keep a small community moderated, scaling that up is the challenge every single website faces.


Yeah. But this is not yet another social network isn't? Very few people would be willing to pay $5 a month compared to the number of people using Facebook or Twitter. Moderating this website is definitely a doable task.


Just the one? Do they sleep? They will need automated systems for continuous spam and abuse monitoring and removal.


There's no global timeline, no likes, no hashtags & no global search (the global Discover feed is human curated about 4x a day), so the only way to see spam posts is if you deliberately follow a spam account.

Spam replies might become an issue, but it hasn't happened yet, and there are already ways to mute or report an account if it does happen.


It’s not really, is it? I think the concept is great, but what’s really needed is ownership and self hosted blogs made easier than they are now.

+ a popular index.

I mean, a centralized blogging service that lets you customise your style sheet a little is basically just MySpace.


Completely agree. The 'indie web' folks have this right.


Perhaps I'm missing some context in the thread, but it seems like many are missing the fact that Micro.blog is actually trying to solve just this--you own your own domain and the data! It is one of the first paid IndieWeb platforms out there that is trying to make it simple for the non-technical user to jump in with both feet. While it may not have _everything_ yet, for a relatively inexpensive hosting fee you've got your own website for long posts, short notes, photos, etc. that is part of an integrated community. If you want to pull up stakes, you can export your data and move your domain and site somewhere else.

It also seems like a major bonus that it also supports new specs like webmention, micropub, microsub, etc.


But you can't run your own server, right?

Owning the data is a very good start, but I don't see that it qualifies as proper indie web, if you're kinda-sorta tied to their service.

All of this is quite aside from the points others have made, that it offers no real solution to Hate and harassment are too common.


Also interested to see how this solves the 'hate and harassment' problem. Will the USD 5.00 fees cover things like background checks for extreme viewpoints, handle verifying real identities to check against blacklists, and pay for moderators to review posts for harassing content, monitor user complaints, and adjudicate between parties that feel they have been wronged or unfairly treated. Then there's fake news - they could use ML algorithms or pay for human fact checkers to verify posts, but the problem of dealing with mistakes and false positives is still there.

Like the previous comment states, this might be easy to handle when the users are a small group of like-minded friends, and maybe simple ad hoc processes will do for a while after that. The problem is, these sites are only useful when they have a much larger user base, but scale will also bring exactly the same expensive and difficult problems as FB, Twitter etc.

Something to bear in mind as well is that online hate and harassment is not new. Pretty much immediately after the first electronic forums or message systems were created and made available to end users, the problems started. The issue is with people, not the technology, so technological solutions are not the answer...


Would really love to hear how they plan to contain the hate and harassment, to stop the fake news. And then how they will scale that solution when the number of users start to increase.

Human community managers are great but their numbers will also have to increase as amount of users increases as well.

This is why I have so much respect for @dang and his colleagues for managing HN.


I never trust any site that says it wants to eliminate hate and harassment. I've seen this time and time again on forums, social media, BBSes back in the day, etc. It always devolves into French Revolution-style groupthink and the elimination of any person who expresses or supports a contrarian viewpoint.

No thanks, micro.blog. I'm looking for an IPFS-style, uncensorable free speech platform.


Unless it is a P2P distributed network of posts this will have same faith as any other social network.


Maybe you missed some of these details: http://help.micro.blog/2018/twitter-differences/


This is really interesting as a tech project, but I do think this is going to be hard to make money from. App.net tried almost exactly the same thing, to the same audience (the twitter/fb diaspora), and as you can see from the comments below most developers are not going to pay good money to broadcast their thoughts, which they rightly see as worth very little.

There is a two sided market for microblogs like twitter:

* Broadcasters - An org or a prominent person who wishes to broadcast to a group of followers * Consumers - people who want to read the latest about x (where x is a hobby, a professional interest, a person, or a group of people)

Making money from consumer blogs is incredibly hard, unless you're free and infested with ads, which has its own downsides. I don't think you'd be able to build a sustainable business from that.

However those who do find it a useful medium for broadcasting to followers and actually use it professionally would be willing to pay (far more than $5 a month), if the service was tailored to their needs and had better curation controls etc, giving users control over their own feed and followers. This kind of service can forgo ads but it needs to find a market that wants to buy a broadcasting service, not attempt to market to normal consumers, who simply won't pay any amount for a blogging service. There are plenty of people using twitter to broadcast and research (for example journalists, businesses, ) - those are the people to target.


That would all be true if the main goal was to maximize the income through growth, which as far as I understand it, it isn't.


We desperately need alternative social networks, but there’s a certain minimum income required to host them I just don’t think you’d reach with consumers. App.net tried almost exactly the same thing in 2012:

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/app-dot-net-its-not...

I agree with the author that ads and nazis are the problem, but you need a viable business to compete with free (ad driven). Selling microblog hosting to consumers is not that.


> There's a better way: a network of independent microblogs. Short posts like tweets but on your own web site that you control.

I have this. I have a website and domain that I control and that I can post anything to I like. Could be long posts too.

If independent, why need a fee not a protocol?

> Includes a free 10-day trial. Cross-posting to Twitter, a custom domain name, themes, pages, an iOS app, Mac app, and more. Just $5/month. (You can also use Micro.blog for free with an existing blog.)

There's Mastodon. There's also email. I like email for social networking too.

$5 is also the cost of my hosting my own site, VPN, Wiki, and anything I'd care to add. My app is Firefox.

As a, at this point not very but potentially still a potential user, I'm concerned in particular that there is no Terms of Service on registration, none at all. While XX.X% of people may click through a ToS, there simply isn't one there and you propose hosting, or linking, or providing a social identity, or receiving funds, not clear, with no contract of service?


I believe the base account where you can choose a username and add your rss feed is free. I've never paid, but it shows up that there are options to pay $2 for cross posting, $5 for a hosted micro blog, or $10 for a hosted microblog + microcast(podcast?) hosting.

I think the whole premise is that if you a have a blog with an RSS feed, you can add it and it'll show up in micro.blog as concatenated posts, or you can take extra steps to make sure your blog supports the small post formats or whatever. There's a little guide to setting up wordpress here - http://help.micro.blog/2018/setting-up-wordpress/

The hard part for me is motivating myself to actually get my blog up and running because I have VPS's for so many other things that it seems silly for me to also pay for micro.blog hosting when I could just get my blog together.


On fee front, using Micro.blog is free if you host your own site. As the help document mentions (http://help.micro.blog/2018/pricing/), you can add your feeds from your external blogs and only use social aspect of Micro.blog.

I guess, though not right on front there, the ToS (http://help.micro.blog/2018/tos/) and Privacy policies (http://help.micro.blog/2018/privacy-policy/) are clearly drafted.


The ToS and Privacy Policies links you posted are nowhere to be seen on the front page, registration page, or indeed any page that is clickable on visiting the link.

Where's the about page? Whois just has tucows REDACTED FOR PRIVACY. Could you also link to an About page via HN instead of clearly posting on your own website?


> Whois just has tucows REDACTED FOR PRIVACY.

That's the same for every domain right now. You can thank the GDPR for that, it wiped out Whois globally and doesn't provide an option for you to say "actually I do want my details published in Whois". ICANN is currently suing Tucows about it:

https://www.tucows.com/blog/2018/05/28/tucows-statement-on-i...


I can blame that the of an about page for there being a lack of an about page.


> There's a better way: a network of independent microblogs. Short posts like tweets but on your own web site that you control.

Either I don't get it, or their service is not what they advertise. After reading that line, I would expect a somewhat federated blogging platform where you can set up your own server, and it joins the 'network of independent microblogs'. But I can't find any instructions on how to do that?!?

So I am wondering if 'on your own web site' rather means something like you can buy a custom domain for your profile page on that service?


> where you can set up your own server, and it joins the 'network of independent microblogs'

It's a bit like that. You can configure the official Mac or iOS Micro.Blog app to post microposts to your own Wordpress-API compatible website if you want. You can submit the RSS feed from your website to your Micro.Blog account and have that feed into the Micro.Blog timeline - and if you do that, it's actually free to be a member.

It's difficult to explain all that and intimidating to non-programmers (there's a lot of non-technical users on Micro.Blog), so I think they focus on the Micro.Blog hosting & official apps as the easiest way to get started. There's a lot of Micro.Blog users for whom self-hosted-Wordpress/Jekyll is more hassle than they want, and they'd rather pay $5/mth to have that hassle go away.

You might be interested in reading about IndieWeb [1]. Behind the scenes Micro.Blog uses the W3 Micropub [2] specification and other IndieWeb standards for posting microposts and federating Webmentions across websites, if that's something you're interested in.

[1] https://indieweb.org/ [2] https://www.w3.org/TR/micropub/


Okay, that sounds like we need a micropub enabled blog software now :-)

In general, I am a huge fan of this business model (federated + strong commercial players). It just seems that the federated part looks a bit weak at the moment. I think changing that should be a priority for micro.blog as I believe much of the negativity here at HN comes from the not so clear difference from the traditional services.

So far I have found this [1] which doesn't look very mature ('Early alpha'), but hey, it's a start.

Thanks for clarifying the situation.

https://github.com/andjosh/webpage-micropub-to-github


>After reading that line, I would expect a somewhat federated blogging platform where you can set up your own server, and it joins the 'network of independent microblogs'.

This is exactly what I was hoping for and now I'm super disappointed.


Yea, I mean if this were a paid service with full ActivityPub and OStatus support (and could interact with Mastodon, Plemore, GNU Social, et. al.) then that would be something different.

But a $5 a month, non-open source, closed, siloed system?

I'd recommend going back to the drawing board and use more off-the-shelf stuff. Create a payment gateway to setup and maintain a Mastodon or Plemore instance, with a backend that automatically sets up the domain and handles software updates.

Yes, there are other services which do this, but there is plenty of room to do it better. Creating a new micro-twitter is pretty much a non-starter at this point.


FYI: After you set up a profile it lets you customize your footer with arbitrary HTML/CSS/JS. It's definitely not secure.

See: http://xss.micro.blog


They should be more fussy with the subdomains they let go. E.g https://support.micro.blog


Is that really a problem? XSS attacks usually involve letting site's visitors add arbitrary html/js. The account owner being able to is more of a feature.


XSS attacks aren't the only thing to be worried about. As noted above, you could buy subdomain like "support.micro.blog" and trivially phish people's micro.blog credentials, for example.


:(


You can do that on any blog! E.g. blogger.com


I was about to say the same thing.

Think of the username.micro.blog pages as your personal home page, like a Wordpress or Squarespace blog site. They're a hosting option for people who aren't tech-savvy enough to setup an RSS feed / 280-char micro-post RSS feed on their own site, or just don't want the hassle of maintaining that setup.

I believe others have tried posting similar XSS into a Micro.Blog post, and it gets filtered out in the timeline feed that followers read, whether on the site or via 3rd party clients. (Now if someone proves that wrong, that would be a big deal.)


I think it's only true as long as every *.micro.blog subdomain is properly isolated, and you can't access cookies/sessions from micro.blog (e.g post/comment as someone else, if there's no CSRF token). I haven't checked, but hopefully it's the case here. See: https://security.stackexchange.com/questions/95369/persisten...


Different subdomains are different origins. So it's safe.



It's not quite that simple once cookies (and Internet Explorer/Edge) get involved. But it definitely could be secure.


Why not Federation (diaspora, friendica, hubzilla) or Fediverse (mastodon, pleroma)? This seems like an rss feed subscription rather than social network attempt.

Personally I love diaspora as it's designed around discoverability - following tags, people define themselves with tags etc.

While Fediverse, activity pub etc. are great they are full of holes when it comes to discovery an actual social content. Comments are difficult and non native and navigating tags is nigh on impossible.


Mastodon is perfectly usable for microblogging, and, moreover, it's currently the best usecase for the tool. You can't find partners for conversation as easily as with established platforms with network effects, but you can use it to publish.

With Mastodon, you can quickly create account you can send notes, links or images into. This account lives on the open web without registration required. You get Atom feed you can use to re-display the content in any way you want at other sites, or to share the content with people who don't use ActivityPub yet. You get "comments" for free for users willing to get ActivityPub account.


Playing devil's advocate: why not centralisation? Or - better IMHO - why federation?


Twitter and Facebook have shown that giving some huge corporation arbitrary power over a social network is not a good idea. Centralization creates network effects, which make it so that the owners can basically do whatever they want without losing users.

Federation largely avoids this problem. If the owner of my Mastodon instance starts doing stuff I don't like, I can switch to a different one or start my own and still interact with all the same people. (Hell, if the developers start doing stuff I don't like, I can even fork it or switch to an alternative program like Pleroma that uses the same protocol.)


> Registration error. Email address must not include a "+" character.

Why not? "+" is valid in email addresses.


My guess is that they are trying to prevent a spammer from registering lots of accounts from a single email address. (And yeah I know there is the fee to dissuade that, but who knows what the future may hold...)


They want to spam you later (or sell your address to spammers) and have you not know where they got the address.


> They want to spam you later (or sell your address to spammers) and have you not know where they got the address.

Email +suffixes are easy enough to strip off post-collection if you're aware of them. If they wanted to spam, they wouldn't have to disallow +'s in the validation regex. They must have some other reason for disallowing them, which may be as innocent as poor awareness of them.

Personally, I used Fastmail with my own domain and have abandoned using +suffixes because they're too unreliable. Fastmail has several options for single-use email addresses that should be difficult or impossible for recipients to decode to the main address.


More likely, they just googled "e-mail vaildation regex" and copied the first/smallest result from StackOverflow. Happens all the time.


not sure that's this. if you just grabbed the first one, you wouldn't necessarily know that it explicitly doesn't work with the "+". Explicitly calling out the "+" issues indicates the person likely knows what they're doing.


Uh, you're right. My eyes missed the fact that this calls out the "+" character explicitly.


I dont understand this.

>Short posts like tweets but on your own web site that you control.

Is it not like having your own website, does micro blog link all websites and display the contents on their website?

>Today's social networks are broken. Ads are everywhere. Hate and harassment are too common. Fake news spreads unchecked.

Micro blog doesn't seem to be solving this problem


IMHO, one of the biggest issue with social media is with the "micro" story. Tweets'140 characters limit encouraged people to post more because they didn't have to think much about what they had to say. Re-tweets was just a convenient way of copy pasting.

I don't see any of it disappear with micro.blog.

Why not making macro.blog which forces you to write at least 300 words?


The short format also encouraged better structuring of arguments and discouraged long, hard to process paragraphs. Together with threading it's often using to fairly significant success.

I don't think a person who can't be bothered to structure their writing for twitter would do much better on a blog. There is a significant difference in legibility, but it's not a clear win; I know both people who process well-written Twitter threads better than the usual article, and people who have struggle with its visual layout.

In the end, I don't think a sweeping dismissal of the format is justified. The website's problems stem far more from excessively bad moderation, not the character limit.


> The short format also encouraged better structuring of arguments

Did it? I feel like it rather encouraged going for the shortest available arguments. Which tend to be the ones low on data, and high on emotion - it's much easier to pack an emotional appeal in a few words.


> Did it?

Yes. People such as Alexandra Erin or Flavia Dzodan regularly provide well-informed, structured and readable threads, to say nothing of all the scientists active on Twitter. Shitposting accounts are only a part, large but rather boring, of the wider Twitter ecosystem.

> I feel like it rather encouraged going for the shortest available arguments. Which tend to be the ones low on data,

This is presumptuous. There is nothing stopping you from providing data and sources on Twitter. Threading exists and works (well, worked, they kinda broke it recently) fine.

> and high on emotion

This is not a bad thing. For non-trivial arguments, the emotional side is very important. But, also, "high on emotion" is not a universal thing about Twitter threads, nor is it absent in other mediums. The best one could say about, say, certain tech reddit-alikes, is that the emotion represented in them is largely repressed and masked.


> Yes. People such as Alexandra Erin or Flavia Dzodan regularly provide well-informed, structured and readable threads, to say nothing of all the scientists active on Twitter.

Your claim that I disputed was that Twitter encourages such content. I'm not saying that it doesn't have any good stuff - but you need to compare it to other, more verbose mediums to make a claim that the brevity that Twitter rules impose actually result in more such content being published, and that its quality is better. The first thing that comes to my mind in this context is Usenet, and I don't think Twitter compares favorably to that.

> This is presumptuous. There is nothing stopping you from providing data and sources on Twitter.

This is observational. And of course there's nothing stopping you from it. But the medium is not optimized for it, and that discourages it in practice. Again, I'm not claiming that Twitter doesn't have data and sources - only that it has less than more verbose mediums.


The, in my opinion false, assumption you seem to be making the entire time, is that the encouragement is consistent for both forms — that it works the same for all people, both content creators and consumers. But there's plenty of people who excel at expression on either long or short form forms.

So I am _not_ claiming that articles or Usenet posts were universally bad — but a claim that they are somehow "better" than Twitter would be just as false. Especially in the case of Usenet. I mean, I don't know how rosy glasses you're wearing, but I do remember what it was like, and while not exactly 4Chan, it was often getting there.


Great! Doctoral papers now in 300 characters. That may be possible in APL.


It's like you're intentionally misreading what I wrote. Even in traditional media a paragraph is generally shorter than a page, and yet doctoral theses often span more than said page.


I actually find it a problem (for myself at least but there probably are many people who feel the same) that we only seem to have Medium-like big-article blogging and Twitter-like SMS-y single-sentence microblogging platforms. I really want a hybrid, something in between, something for short posts but without twitterish post length limits, with markdown and media embedding support, letting you to edit your posts whenever you want and leveraging a HN-like first-class comments feature (instead of a Twitter-like response model). Google+ was the most close to this of what I've seen so far.


Micro.blog is exactly just this sort of hybrid solution. If you start typing a short status update you can publish it as such. Once you go past the 280ish character limit, micro.blog gives you a new field to give the post a title (if you want).

I use my personal website running WordPress a lot like this hybrid model as well. I can do all the things you mentioned and have separate feeds for all of the related post types (articles, status updates, photos, embedded media, etc.) Micro.blog also allow me to pipe my RSS feed into it so that I can interact with people there and any comments people make within micro.blog come back to my original post where I can see and reply to them.


Cool! I'll take a look! Given the screenshot I thought it's just yet another Twitter.


> Today's social networks are broken. Ads are everywhere. Hate and harassment are too common. Fake news spreads unchecked.

This is a downside of "social" part of "social media". To avoid this you have to impose regulations and it will break the "social" part, making it a regular media. The perfect solution is yet to be found.


Is there some sort of mechanism or architecture that would facilitate more organic, non-hateful communication? It seems most platforms are geared toward dropping you into an echo chamber, which is probably closely tied to user retention. Is there a way to change those alignments, so that retention is high but without an echo chamber? Or is that just baked into human nature?


The only way to maybe prevent some of the echo chamber is to have no smart suggestions. Just show things as they occur. Don't say, "Oh, you're a leftist. You'll love this SJW diatribe". Same thing for the right. Same thing for pretty much every combination. As soon as the technology brings automated curation, or even curation in general, you've laid the ground works for an echo chamber.


More info here, mentions RSS, JSON, decentralisation and an open API: http://help.micro.blog/2015/why-i-created-this/


I was very pleased to see how easy and quickly I could set up an account and attach the feed from my actual site. (I note that this is all free, which is nice).

I find the $5 fee for someone to set up their own site to be perhaps reasonable on the face of it, but I fear that this won't work. I think those who care about decentralization and the decline of walled gardens are also technologically literate enough to know that they could host their own microblog for $5/month and have complete control. On the other hand, people who don't care probably wouldn't want to pay $5/month.

I would be very happy if it turns out that there are a large number of people willing to pay, and if RSS-based models flourished. Overall, I like the idea, it was easy to jump in, and good luck.


If microblog people are reading this, I have a few other comments. I'd like to emphasize that it's a very clean UI and experience.

1. I wish it were more obvious that I could check out a variety of microblogs at micro.blog/discover --- giving essentially a twitter feed. I somehow missed this entirely on my first go-through, initial setup, and checking of the site.

2. I associated the RSS feed to my own site to microblog. And I expected these posts to show up on davidlowryduda.micro.blog. They don't, it turns out --- those posts are just the ones I made on microblog. They do appear on micro.blog/davidlowryduda. This behavior surprised me.

3. While looking at micro.blog/discover, I replied to a comment. After clicking, poof, the UI didn't give me any sort of feedback that I'd affected the world. I think it should both be more gratifying to reply (if this is a functionality that microblog is encouraging) and that it should be more visually obvious that there are replies to a micropost. Right now, I only see that there does or doesn't exist a "conversation" link --- I wish it were more obviously distinguished.


Regarding point 3 - I've wondered if there is a bit of a delay because micro.blog content can be hosted in a variety of places - a Wordpress blog, a static site, a GitHub page, or micro.blog itself. I think it is relying on webmentions to circulate through the internet to create these conversations. I agree with you concern, but I suspect it is more of a technical challenge because of the way hosting can be de-centralized. @hooper


A common thread I see in the discussion is how the details should be a bit more prominent on the home page/registration page than it is currently. I think the information, though not linked clearly, is available under the detailed help section - http://help.micro.blog/.

I look at micro.blog as a blogging platform with a social layer -- if you already have a blog or a site, you can get involved only in the social aspect of the platform.


I read that this is federated, but how do I download the software to run my own server? I looked at the FAQ and help and found nothing about it.


It's "federated" in that it runs on simple web standards and protocols. You can use almost any CMS or platform out there and pipe your RSS,ATOM,JSON, or other feeds into it. If your site supports the Webmention protocol, then any comments made by other micro.blog users will come back to your original post where you can choose to display them (or not). https://indieweb.org/Micro.blog may give you some additional ideas/help.


Well, I know I want something like this, so I applaud the efforts! I've been thinking about keeping my Facebook account in order to maintain contacts and event notifications, but stop all posting of original content and instead just link to blog entries. It will be important to have a good place to blog, but I'm leaning toward self-hosting a static blog.


I hope more people do this. By having everyone post content on their own domains, it drastically increases SEO for them instead of piling it on to FB and other platforms. These social platforms are nothing more than SEO aggregators, they are essentially stealing profit from people.


Why not just run GNU Social and set your maximum character count nice and high?


Neat thing. Question: Why not have it publically open and free, but pay to post? Or at least have some of it open, like a limit number of post visible or something like that - for free. Because right now, as a visitor, I'm far from sure I want to use this at all, I know too little about what it's like to actually use it.


You can view their discover timeline (as well as some others) at https://micro.blog/discover to get an idea of the posts and community.


Maybe you should have a look at the Microblog extension over XMPP https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0277.html.

It allows you to publish Blog articles on your XMPP accounts and let your contacts receive and comment them :) It has been successfully implemented in clients such as https://movim.eu/ or https://salut-a-toi.org/.

On Movim we also generate static pages and Atom feeds out of it (for example https://nl.movim.eu/?blog/edhelas@movim.eu).


Maybe its just me but it seems like a love child of Diaspora and StatusNet (formally Laconica) that you have to pay for.

Oddly enough, the pay element is the only really attractive element right now. At least that way I know I know I will not have advertisements all over the place. Still $5 dollars seems steep. For that I could just host my own microblog theme on WordPress and make my own community.


You don't even need to make your own community. The $5/month is for hosting; if you host your blog yourself (they recommend WordPress), then it's free.

And given the broad sentiment expressed in these comments, they could do a MUCH better job communicating this.


Protocol and reference implementation is open source, check getknown.org and other indieweb apps http://help.micro.blog/2017/indiewebcamp/


I might pay the $5/month to a host a blog there, but I'm unwilling to require people who just want to comment on my blog to pay $5/month as well (or set up their own blog). There should be a way to add a response to a blog entry for free, without setting anything up. Maybe blog owner should have to approve them or something?


Hm, re: "ads are everywhere" - is it just me, or are two of the three sample posts in the screenshot content-based ads?

First for the novel Cibola Burn, and third for the app Halide.. the middle post seemingly is a reply to an ad of some book series as well :) Or "influencer" paid content != ads?


While this looks interesting the website doesn't really say much about about what it is or what it provides...


If you’re interested in Manton Reece’s thinking and work on Micro.blog over time, he frequently talks about it on the the Core Intuition podcast he co-hosts with Daniel Jalkut: https://coreint.org


Funny that people see success as “replacing twitter” but even with a few users it’s more profitable than Twitter! :D


So where's the code? Or is "on your own web site that you control" fake news too?


This is something that bothers a lot of us for many years. But the solution is not another young idea, which will grow into another walled garden.

We need an easy to deploy open protocol based service. Like XMPP, with easy service discovery. And an open source, fantastic app to go along with it.


As far as I know, there are a few of these already in existence.

IMO, the two main challenges are subscribing to content and discovering new content, the icing on the cake is interaction.

Atom/RSS already "fixed" the issue of subscribing to a blog.

Board like HN and reddit have now "fixed" the issue of discovery (to an extent).

Disqus, reddit, HN all provide interaction methods - the key would be reducing them to one feed so you could comment to all formats and reply seamlessly.


it would be interesting to learn how it works and does what it does before i register. It says nothing about it on the homepage apart from a general idea which is good, but how is it implemented???


No download link? If it's as-a-service, how can I control it?


So it like twitter mixed with Google circles (from G+)?


No, it's more like rss based twitter. Any blog can become micro.blog compatible, and technically anyone could build a competitor to micro.blog that allows users to register their feeds.


Did anyone said distributed ?


So what we're going to do is give you a space on the internet. some sort of space that's all your own. ispace? ownspace? mespace? how about myspace.....


or geocities? xD




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