After some sleep, some initial thoughts on this place:
- I’m here this weekend as UK football clubs are going silent on social to demand action against racist abuse. Jim Killock suggested they use Mastadon. So why not me?
- I opened my a/c back in 2017 on one of the waves of growth & exodus. I’d tried Tooter before & was happy to see it work better & had a platformcoop. I added a header image for Berkana Institute’s model but my desire for an audience pulled me back to the other place.

- Every time I tried to engage here my mixed confusion of how to find the people I want to listen to, and how to be heard (or know if you’d been heard) left me feeling like it was a party for those who knew the rules & invested time in them. I came because I believed in federation & community ownership; I left because the experience didn’t come close to the other place.
- But last night it struck me how that could be a feature not a bug. That this is a different place, & that’s the first thing.

- I found myself wondering how the new interface, form, functions and rules of this space demanded behaviour, like I wanted to be policed, so I could feel safe to speak freely. This paradox was a revelation.
- are more rules needed beyond the universal ‘don’t be an arse’ TOS & to listen if anyone complains? Is threading 500 char toots the uncoolest thing? Is it bad form to sit on an instance and not communicate as the others on your instance do? To be a coop member who doesn’t show for meetings?

- So that was the second thing, the naivety of not knowing is it’s own joy. To paraphrase Chris Locke in , first learn to speak as a real person. (“Real person” pauses, then goes back and adds a hashtag to Cluetrain to help categorise and Index said person)
- and with this comes another joy in having a fraction of the followers or Greek Chorus sized timeline. It *doesn’t* matter (beyond the way everything matters). Not needing an audience empowers freer personal expression.

And so I do something I’ve never done, but which stands perhaps as bridge between blogging which I’ve long forgotten how to do, and the open conversation of Twitter.

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a thread there without having drafted all the replies in advance so I can number them and guarantee a decent ending. It seems a place to craft headlines, not stories — altho of course the best there can write a thread that beats almost any blog because it allows discussion of every statement.

But inherent in that great democratisation and innovation in communication comes - for me at least - a barrier to speaking freely. I’ve tried to blog three times this year (the first time in four years) and been struck that I’ve forgotten how, which I think comes down to micro-editing every expression, policing every verb.

We need to take care but we cannot censor ourselves for risk of a typo or mis-speak at this vital make or break moment for the planet. Speak freely until challenged, surely.

@nicol I've found having a digital garden / personal wiki has been good for me on this point - worrying a bit less about saying the right thing, and focusing more on just saying *something*, at least.

@neil how do you mean? As in a private wiki / garden you host privately? Or you use Mastadon as this?

@nicol It's a wiki / garden that I host publicly - . A place for learning / writing in public, where I can do so without worrying too much about correctness or coherence.

I use mastodon as a companion for it - a stream from which I take water for my garden.

@neil looks nice! Am always curious about better ways to track and archive good things found online. I used to feed faves from Google Reader into a wiki - sounds a little similar. Have been trying out Pocket - but curious about better ways to republish what I’m saving after it’s been tagged.

@nicol Absolutely, that's pretty much the idea, for me - a place to accumulate and grow ideas, and not have them disappear in the stream.

This is a good overview of the 'digital garden' idea -

@neil that’s a fascinating read, thank you. I love the ‘Chronological Sort Era" phrase!

So much gets lost in the stream.

And so much human (and fossil fuel) energy is lost on people doing projects or answering questions someone else has done but for lack of knowing about it. I can’t read this, via the fediverse, without wondering how these personal archivist projects can link up their taxonomies & metadata. Like a distributed DMOZ/ODP, of the pre-2.0 days (


@nicol Indeed so! Communal gardening is a very interesting prospect. One such project is - cc @flancian @bmann @vera .

I have also thought a little about this from an IndieWeb perspective.

Of course the traditional wiki is a fine example of a shared garden, but I personally tend to come at it from the P2P/distributed approach.

@neil. 'delete-and-redrafting' as I'm still getting to grips with this interface, and didn't mean to cc your ccs. Anagora's interface is further leap still!

Have enjoyed now gettting a bit lost in your garden… stumbling across Andy's Working Notes – marvelling at their UI, reading of "Dynamic Knowledge Repositories' which wounds a good name for what I was grasping for.

@neil Also your comment "I see self-sovereign conversation preceding even group-sovereign conversation" which reminds me of one of my dad's idioms "everyone wants a dialogue, but most people can't even have a monologue".

I'm curious if/how doubleloop syncs with your contributions here: – does everything feed from the same gitlab repo? Also, as your WordPress is your 'stream' presumably you've not seen merit in having a garden in a CMS, but rather as static files?

@nicol Everything's a bit Rube Goldberg if I'm honest!

My WordPress site predates my garden, and came about via an interest in IndieWeb. I have never particular enjoyed WordPress as a writing interface, but do very much appreciate the IndieWeb (essentially P2P stream) functionality you can get for free from some plugins.

My garden comes via org-roam, which is a extension of the Emacs text editor. I much prefer Emacs as a writing tool (that's mainly down to my familiarity with it, though).

@nicol I sync my garden to Anagora via a separate process - Agora expects markdown+wikilinks, so I have a little thing that converts my org-roam files into the markdown that it expects. This is at

I think Foam is a popular choice that 'just works TM' with Agora.

I think there's plenty merit in using a CMS for a garden, if familiar with that CMS already. Some features you may not get though are things such as backlinks and graph views - this is what the new kids offer.

@neil Thanks. I've never used emacs sadly. But have seen quite a lot of mention of Roam in my travels today – and backlinks (def) + graph views (maybe) are appealing. And Foam sounds like it fits in that space, so maybe I'll try that first rather than having to also learn emacs. DokuRoam & TiddlyRoam also.

Was also drawn to Gatsby, after seeing there was a [theme]( based on Andy's Notes. So maybe there's a Roam-ish tool making markdown that's Gatsby & Agora compatible.

@nicol @neil nice to meet you, @nicol!

As far as I can tell the following tools are roam-like and agora+gatsby compatible (in the sense of generating markdown + wikilinks):

1. [[foam]], which is my main editor as of today
2. [[obsidian]], which is used by several users in the agora
3. [[bangle]], which is early stage but very promising.

That'd be, etc. as resolved by [[wikilinks everywhere]] convention or our (in development) extension :)

@flancian @neil nice to meet you too!

I was curious about Foam, but I've only used VS once, so ended up giving Obsidian a try & liked it. I got the sense its MD wasn't great for [[wikilinks]]?

The bridge from Obsidian to something that's public and css-able is my current puzzle (slow as I'm new to SSG & Gitlab/hub Pages). It sounds like what you are saying is so long as whatever is generated from that is markdown it should be ok to go into agora? But not something single-file like TiddlyWiki?

@neil @nicol q
Agora seems interesting!
I would love for simply having a modernized version of wikis, especially for activism. Version Control backed and decentralized, and with the possibility of having one of your own as a static site without any cgi. Sort of like ikiwiki but modernized. So larger and smaller outlets can form a wiki platform together, taking different roles and anyone can fork an article in order to present his or her version.

@neil @nicol (I want to say: Just thinking from the individuals perspective kind of false short here imo, there‘d be a huge need to have a curated, moderated but open platform to display theoretic aspects of system change ( and moderations... )

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