Reply to “WordPress ActivityPub Updates

There is a very interesting plugin called ActivityPub for WordPress. This plugin, created by Mr. Matthias Pfefferle, adds ActivityPub integration to a WordPress site (we are happy users of his Webmention plugin). I have accounts from which I share New Leaf Journal articles on Mastodon and Pixelfed servers. This plugin is a great idea very much in line with my ideal of using a blog or personal website as the center of one’s social presence. I am interested in making it possible for people to follow The New Leaf Journal directly from their ActivityPub social media accounts. However, after briefly testing the plugin a few months ago, I decided against it due to how it handles usernames. Mr. Ton Zijstra listed the reason that I demurred as one of the three reasons why he too is not implementing the functionality on his WordPress site, Interdependent Thoughts:

Now the username is the login name of the user doing the posting. I recognise using WP user names is a straightforward way of turning WP into an ActivityPub client, and prevents having to add additional stuff to the database. As I use non-obvious user names for additional website security, having those exposed as ActivityPub users is undesirable however.

Precisely this. My author slug is naferrell and my colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, is victorvgurbo. However, I used Diceware to generate random pass-phrases for usernames, so one could not log in with our usernames. While this is likely not a necessary security feature, it is how I choose to run the site. ActivityPub for WordPress uses usernames rather than display names (“nicenames”) for profiles. That is why I am not implementing it at this time despite liking the core functionality.  Another smaller issue I had is that it makes ActivityPub accounts for all authors by default (at least as I understand it). I would prefer to at least be able to configure that. However, being able to configure the name of the generated accounts (or simply having them use display names) would be enough for me to try implementing it.