[wp-hackers] Syndication Input Sought

Bart Schouten list at xenhideout.nl
Mon Sep 8 18:13:17 UTC 2014

On Mon, 8 Sep 2014, Xen wrote:

> That seems pretty good, like, exactly the same thing as the Facebook 
> "Graph" API.

My apologies about this 'top-post', it was a bit unclear, but I was 
responding to James...

> It may be worth looking into the WP-API, which is the JSON api slated to 
> go into core in 4.1 (I think). I haven't used it, but I think it will 
> provide JSON endpoints withou [sic] requiring the Jetpack plugin, if 
> you're looking to avoid that.

By James DiGioia, Mon, 8 Sept 2014.

In any case, it has me thinking.. There is one bot in the crawlers to my 
site I've been observing that gives me a really bad feeling. It is the 
"meanpathbot". What the "meanpathbot" does is basically just steal all 
your content, all your css, all your javascript, and then sell it to 
researchers and journalists and the like who like to analyse that data to 
their benefit.

Which could, for example, be sensitive content you removed at the perfect 
time from your site so as to gain enough exposure for it, but not too 

It could be anything. And they try to archive it and then provide access 
to all of it, to anyone who is willing to fork out the cash. Which starts 
at $500 USD per month.

I am definitely going to block that one. But on the topic of public "REST" 
APIs, if you allow your content (that is basically something you protect 
and control its access paths to) to be retrieved by THIRD parties (like 
Facebook does) but WITHOUT the representation you have so carefully chosen 
(by designing your web interface) or that (in the case of Facebook) your 
users may have carefully chosen so as to provide a certain feeling and a 
certain integrity of what others see of you, within a certain access 
domain ---

And now suddenly everyone and his green seamonkey can just press a button 
and download it all, irrespective of who they are or where they are at...

I just say that that is something you need to carefully watch against.

Something becomes more valuable if a user/visitor/person has to put in a 
bit of effort, such as taking the time to actually visit your site. Or to 
get to know you. Or to first hear about you. Or to know where to look for 
information. Or to be intrigued by what you offer and to seek more.

If you were to write a book, get it printed, and then give it away for 
free, you will find 95% of it in the dustbins of the area where you have 
been handing it out. People will take it off your hands, look at it for 2 
seconds, get bored, and throw it away. That's just the way it goes..

So make sure you maintain the proper balance between what people are 
getting from you, and what they are putting in themselves. That's just 
what I'm trying to say.

Don't be a whore who trades something worthless for something equally 
worthless. Your content is valuable. It has a price, a worth, a value. It 
has seen effort. It has seen sweat. It has perhaps even seen a lot of 
blood. Or even some tears as well.

So don't start giving it all away just because it could mean more exposure 
of it. Don't be the one who gets rejected. Be the one who rejects.

Even if directly monetizing access is not your business model. Even if you 
are not a business for money at all. There is still something you want, be 
it a form of popularity, of being a popular place where people like to 
hang out, a type of community centre, you are trying to be something 
valuable as a result of the value you put onto your site so as you give 
value to others, they give value to you because you become a source to 
them of value. And the more people recognize you as a source of value to 
them, the better it becomes for you, in all respects.

But that depends increasingly in this world on your ability to maintain 
control over who sees what and how. And syndication to a controlled 
netwerk of sites that agree with your vision is not a problem at all. But 
take care to recognise what is "inner circle" and what belongs to the 
"outer circle". The outer circle of you, the main public.

Personally I intend to put into my (very personal) site a form of 
intrigue. Everything is in fact publically accessible (or most of it) but 
I can give off the illusion that it is sacred or hidden material by 
providing a sense of exclusivity to those who opt to become members. That 
requires nothing more than that certain material will take more effort to 
reach for those who are not members. For example, non-members will only 
see the 5 most recent posts and will have to traverse categories to get to 
the rest.

That's intriguing. It will give people the impression that I consider my 
content valuable enough to restrict access to it, while not turning anyone 
away if they want to put the value into it to get my value out.

So it is really an illusion of exclusivity when the site is all-inclusive. 
But many commercial entities do the reverse: they provide an illusion of 
inclusivity when in fact they are very exclusive, in the sense that you 
can never become part of their inner circle. (Try to send an email to 
Google technical support, if you could, if you dared, if you envisioned 
the possibility of dreaming about that being within the realm of the 

So don't be Google and don't be Facebook. Facebook at least has to 
restrict access to almost everything since it is a persons site. WordPress 
falls along the same lines as Facebook mostly... but since most content is 
public to begin with, people running those public JSON webservices may end 
up being among the likes of Google if they think people offloading their 
data is a plus....



> But the only downside that you're making it extremely easy for anyone to 
> gain this type of access, if you're not careful. Which is why I would be 
> hesitant...
> It's funny. The Facebook Graph API provides for less information than the 
> regular web interface. And all those developers that want to use it, are 
> complaining about that. For instance, you cannot even retrieve your own 
> friendslist unless every one of your friends give you (or your app) 
> permission to do so. Meanwhile, if you're willing to put in the effort, 
> all of that information is easily 'grabbable'.
> In any case, I understand your feeling, Jeff. You can get exhausted from 
> trying things that don't ever seem to work. Jetpack is also not the most 
> ...elegant or useful addition to the fleet. Suddenly you are mandated to 
> install a 21 meg plugin that comes with a million features and requires a 
> WP.com account to basically do anything, and that is actually not a plugin 
> itself but a plugin framework within the plugin framework of WP.org. 
> Personally, I intend to use it at some point, but I'm going to strip away 
> the all-too-obvious "container" aspect to it at least in terms of the user 
> interface (the word "Jetpack" is meaningless to me because it doesn't do 
> anything useful; "stats" and "akismet" are not). And get rid of all the 
> modules I don't use anyway, and will never use. After that it will just be 
> a common library to the few 'modules' I do use :) :p.
> Just giving it its proper position ;-).
> When I read the page at http://wordpress.org/plugins/push-syndication/, I 
> feel a lot of sadness. As if those developers that had once written those 
> words with inspiration, are now feeling drained, as you do. The plugin was 
> probably conceived as something relatively standalone. But today 
> everything has come under a heavier wind and this wind is pushing forward 
> in some sort of frenzy of WordPress.com integration of everything.
> For example, one of the Jetpack advantages is listed as "if you let us do 
> your statistics, it will not burden your own servers, but rather ours, 
> that are extremely speedy." How one cloud-hosted server park can ever be 
> faster than a local server is beyond me, unless you'd be talking about the 
> caching advantages of webclients retrieving things like jQuery from 
> centrally hosted locations (such as some Google server) instead of your 
> site. But it is nonsensical to think that the computing power of millions 
> of decentralized hosts would be dwarfed by a few centrally hosted server 
> parks. And these guys think they are some kind of awesome. When you check 
> the stats page of a newly configured stats counter or API key or whatever, 
> you are greeted with the message "Whoa! Not so fast! We just started 
> counting, there's nothing here yet, DUDE." Liberally cited, but still, 
> that was the gist of the message. Completely inappropriate for something 
> that is meant to be a serious, boring (but still exciting) "accounting" 
> system. Suddenly we're all being turned into surfer dudes when really, we 
> just wanted to check out how that page looked.
> Jetpack is really not that cool. Not nearly as cool as they try to make it 
> out to be..
> So perhaps you're also feeling drained because that plugin you got excited 
> about, it is really at a true 'dead end' or at least a 'not feeling it 
> anymore' end.
> So there's probably something that they're doing (or that someone is 
> doing) that is more in line with 'the times' and it is just a matter of 
> getting through the grief of having lost this old thing, so you can make 
> room for the new thing and I'm sure it will soon fall into your hands, or 
> cross paths with you...
> It is just a bit of a feeling of depression I guess.. that I'm feeling 
> right now..
> Kudos,
> Bart.

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