Some thoughts on WriteFreely

I toyed around with WriteFreely the other day, prior to setting up this site in its current form. WriteFreely fell short of my expectations. At first glance, there is a lot to like:

The Good

The Bad The So-So

The Ugly

At the time of this writing, WriteFreely advertises the following on their website:

WriteFreely lets anyone on Mastodon, Pleroma, or any ActivityPub-enabled service follow your blog, bookmark your posts, and share them with their followers.

All that is certianly possible and indeed works as claimed. What is not mentioned is that the above is almost the full extent of the supported "Fediverse" interoperations. So while one can indeed follow this blog on Mastodon and receive messages about new posts appearing here, there does not appear to be support for receiving any feedback or comment on a post coming back from Mastodon. What is more, Mastodon users do not even get any indication that the comments and favs they bestow on a post will never be delivered. (In fact, to add insult to injury, there is evidence in the log files of such ActivityPub interaction attempts successfully reaching the WriteFreely server process, only to enter nirvana immediately afterwards, unreported and unremarked upon.)


My curiosity about the possibility to (ostensibly) "blog within the Fediverse" was the initial reason why I decided to play around with WriteFreely. But the ActivityPub integration falls short of my expectations. Write-only "interaction" with the Fediverse might be worse than no interaction at all. One might even call it arrogant to make use of such a convenient channel to broadcast one's views without any possibility of discourse and feedback, and without making this lack of a return channel known.