Clinton Pavlovic

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Changing my mind on webmentions

2018-09-18

A few weeks ago I took steps to implement Webmentions on this site. I've changed my mind and decided to remove Webmentions, along with readers' ability to directly comment on posts. There are a few reasons why.

Spam. To enable Webmentions I also had to enable the default WordPress comment forms. This lead to an attack by comment spam-bots that left a couple hundred spam comments a day. There's only so may (hundred) times you can read this comment before giving in:

Don't wear seat belts lest you drown in your own urine?

- posted by a random comment spam-bot

Thanks!? It never occurred to me that this may be a legitimate concern. To combat the spam comments I had to install anti-spam WordPress plugins. This, however, leads me to my next concern with implementing Webmentions in WordPress.

Plugin bloat. To implement the Webmention standard in WordPress eight different plugins had to be installed on the one available standard compatible WordPress theme. These plugins are in addition to those needed to combat spam comments, and those needed to cross post your content to different content silos (for example Facebook and Twitter).

I have no need to syndicate content. The Webmention standard lives according to the principles of POSSE (post on your own site, syndicate elsewhere). This allows you to automatically cross post content, and then aggregate all of the likes on the different sites and display the total on your home website. However, all my content lives on this site, and I don't have other social networking accounts to syndicate content to and aggregate likes from.

No desire to collect likes. I write content for myself, and share content that I think should have more visibility. I don't want to feel pressure to change the way I do things in order to get more clicks, mentions and likes for the sole purpose of aggregating metrics.

Overall, the administration that was needed to implement the Webmention standard didn't come with any benefits.

They asked him what was the object of all this study applied to an art that would reach but a few. He replied: I am content with a few, content with one, content with none at all'.

- Seneca, Letters on Ethics, 7.11.

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