My Micro.blog Wishlist

I have been taking notes for this wishlist for some time. Two things have stopped me from writing it up and posting:

  1. Time and energy. I have spent more of it on making other things, being a believer in the idea that the best position from which to criticise is that of creation, or put another way: I feel much more comfortable writing a critique-based wishlist for Micro.blog now that I’ve significantly increased my exposure to working on different projects.
  2. Frankly, Manton, Jean, and John have all worked their arses off to improve Micro.blog in a variety of ways. Not only have I been able to remove items from the list but I have also been exposed to ideas for Micro.blog I had not previously come near to thinking about.

Now here I am, not only more convinced of just how right the entire idea of Micro.blog truly is – after all, it’s not just about Micro.blog but the potential in ideas similar to the platform insofar as sharing the same ideals – but also newly motivated to attempt to make a constructive contribution. As such, here is the list:

(Note: I have published three posts around this subject, all of which play a part in the list. Links: Quick list; Needs; Thoughts)

  • Comprehensive support of features centred around accessibility;
    • Easier alt tags, VoiceOver support, and a robust editor are some of the necessary pieces to making Micro.blog as accessible as possible.
    • Some improvements were recently made on iOS.
  • Thorough user moderation;
    • The ability to control as much of your timeline as possible is essential to making Micro.blog a viable space in which people can comfortably invest their time and energy.
    • Earlier this year the web and Mac apps gained muting and reporting tools.
  • Multi-account support on the web.
  • Keyboard shortcuts;
    • ctrl+enter to post, etc. The lack of these options on the web is jarring, especially in a post editor.
  • Mentions;
    • When replying in a thread, you ought to be given the option to reply-all or not.
    • Autofill when typing a username.
    • Autofill has come to iOS, when creating new posts.
  • Editing replies;
    • Even if there was a limit applied via time and/or length.
  • Conversations;
    • Some form of threaded replies is needed.
    • Links to replies go to the actual reply.
  • Better responsive design;
    • On the web it should be possible to make the browser window smaller without cutting off parts of the site.
  • Dark mode.
  • humans.txt;
    • An option to set this as a special page aligns perfectly with the web-centred philosophy around which Micro.blog was built.
  • IndieWeb support;
    • Like
    • Repost
    • Selected entry (for quoting)
    • Emoji link share – this is available in Omnibear, as a custom alternative to Like.
    • IndieWeb support has improved greatly throughout the year.
  • Feedback;
    • When taking an action there should be better, more obvious feedback from the site.
    • For example; taking you to your reply once it has been posted.
    • This has improved throughout the year.
  • Cross-posting per post;
    • A version of this exists on iOS.
  • Hosted;
    • Theme editing – some way to connect owner of blog to theme controls when they are browsing the site.
    • Improve performance of saving changes to pages, posts, and the theme.
    • Drafts – the ‘Preview’ feature is good but the ability to temporarily save posts would be fantastic.
    • Greater variety of payment plans.
    • Either an expanded trial or limited posting ability for free accounts.
    • A free test blog on which you can preview changes to pages and themes, and send out posts but they never make it to the timeline.
    • Discounted bulk blog subscriptions. (I am unashamedly biased towards this, heh.)
  • Help;
    • Add search. This has been mitigated by the recently improved homepage but over time a search box will become necessary for most people.
    • Further additions from other sources – ex: this ‘pins’ post from Manton – which has already happened a little.
    • Make sure the breadth of blog-centred web is covered.
    • For example: self-hosted WordPress, hosted WP, multisite WP, shared hosting WP.
    • WP has the potential to lack compatibility due to different hosts implementing their own version for whatever reason.
    • Micro.blog should, even if gradually, cover more and more of this ground until everything is up-to-date and quickly updated whenever different versions of WP are updated.
  • Broadly;
    • Where possible, all of these updates should be available to third-party apps.
    • The web MUST be the canonical version. App-centric approaches are in direct opposition to any substantial support of the open web, especially when they are Apple-only efforts, mostly due to the cost barrier.
    • This year has seen a lot of improvements to the web app, which is great! Long may it continue.
    • Example of Apple-centric approach: the Micro.blog home page for logged-out visitors has a screenshot of the Mac App.

There might be things I’m missing but there is one glaring omission; Android. I have mentioned the Apple-heavy support of Micro.blog but not listed Android, or any other platform. The reality is an official Android app is all but impossible in the current circumstances, whilst third-party efforts are ongoing but appear to be particularly difficult to implement; this is of course not at all exclusive to Micro.blog but remains a fact even so.

Windows and even Linux support have also been spoken about by developers but for now the web is the answer for those of us outside of Apple’s ecosystem, and I believe some of the items on my list would further soften the blow that is a lack of cross-native app support.

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Micro.blog recently hit the first year of public release and it is fair to say it has come a long way in those 12 months, let alone the progress Manton has made from the earliest days of the Kickstarter project. I for one have found just the right place for my life online, to such an extent that I now begrudgingly use the mainstream silos of the web for work and do everything I can to avoid them in a personal context. For that reason and that reason alone I have spent plenty of my time on the timeline, my hosted site, my new photoblog, and Today I Learned.

And, like Micro.blog itself, I’m just getting started.

What do you think? Do you have your own wishlist? Here are some links for getting involved if you want to do more:

Mumblings @simonwoods

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Don't forget to love each other ❤