The thing about heterarchy is: more heterarchy

So over the weekend I published a post intended to introduce the notion of the "fediverse" to friends and colleagues who are interested in exploring options other than the big, commercial, centralized social media outfits. The W3C spec for ActivityPub took a starring role in my presentation, because it's fundamental to the operation of Mastodon, the social communication server software on which I focused. But this morning (thanks to a Mastodon post from @Wu-Lee, a fellow user) I learned that not everyone is so boosterish about the protocol.

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Heterarchy: Decentralization and Federation in Social Networking

Despite its hifalutin title, this is not a theoretical or (primarily) political essay. It's rather meant as an idiosyncratic primer on the "fediverse" for friends and colleagues (particularly in academia) who have heard about or are looking for "something different/better than Twitter/Facebook/etc." Caveat: IANAE, but after a few weeks dipping my toes into the fediverse I find that I can answer some basic questions at least provisionally. Everything I offer here was gleaned from web searches (I use DuckDuckGo, at present), from trying things out, from watching other people do things, from talking to friends, and from reading especially these posts:

You may find reading them first to be more rewarding that continuing below the fold here immediately.

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Call for Papers: Climate Science and Ancient History in Basel, 27-29 November 2018

Proposal deadline: 31 May, 2018

Today I noticed Sabine Huebner's post to several lists with a call for papers for the following conference. Since only a PDF version of same is available via the website of The Basel Climate Science and Ancient History Lab, I thought I'd reproduce it in a more web-friendly format here.

Please direct any comments or questions to Professor Huebner at

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Hosting Quest

I'm currently hosting via GitHub pages, but I'm looking for an alternative because there are features I need that GitHub doesn't provide. Here, I think, is a description of my ideal solution:

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Preserving Accented and Non-Roman Characters in CSV Workflows

Digital work in and around the Humanities often involves moving data from one system or format to another. That data often involves complex textual materials in multiple languages and writing systems. One commonly used format is the "Comma-Separated Values" text file. It's not uncommon to find that characters not used in English get garbled when exported from a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel to CSV (or imported from CSV into such a program). What's going on and how do you make it stop?

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Using OpenRefine with Pleiades

This past summer, DC3's Ryan Baumann developed a reconciliation service for Pleiades. He's named it Geocollider. It has two manifestations:

  • Upload a CSV file containing placenames and/or longitude/latitude coordinates, set matching parameters, and get back a CSV file of possible matches.
  • An online Application Programming Interface (API) compatible with the OpenRefine data-cleaning tool.
The first version is relatively self-documenting. This blog post is about using the second version with OpenRefine.

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