Unable to search or find public replies to annotations in public stream

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Replies (with or without tags) to primary/original annotations are unable to subsequently be found in the main public stream or via search at https://hypothes.is/search.

Steps to reproduce

  1. Make a reply to any public annotation (with or without tags)
  2. Use https://hypothes.is/search to search the username of the reply or one of the original tags
  3. The reply can’t be found

The original (more complicated) example that uncovered the issue

From https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/8350 which redirects to https://sociologica.unibo.it/article/view/8350, I can click on the pdf icon to get to https://sociologica.unibo.it/article/view/8350/8272 which I can download locally and then reopen in Chrome to annotate with the Hypothes.is client.

I was able to make an original public annotation: https://hypothes.is/a/Nysv1HyTEeyaC2cnv3ZCPQ

Having subscribed to my public individual user feed, this annotation (via the annotation permalink and not via the original document) was found in Ton Zijlstra‘s RSS reader, and he was able to reply to it: https://hypothes.is/a/p3uUBJc8EeyuRmfRyGEGfQ.

Oddly the URL https://sociologica.unibo.it/article/view/8350/8272 when activated for Hypothes.is doesn’t show any of the annotations though I would suspect that the .pdf fingerprint should match that of the downloaded and annotated version. Alternately visiting https://uni-bielefeld.de/soz/luhmann-archiv/pdf/jschmidt_niklas-luhmanns-card-index_-sociologica_2018_12-1.pdf shows 51 annotations in the Chrome extension, though none of them are visible and the .pdf file doesn’t load on the page which returns a 404. Ton Zijlstra, having none of these URLs would otherwise not have been able to find or reply to annotations I’ve made other than having the original pointer via his RSS feed.

This last part non-withstanding, after making his reply to my annotation (directly at https://hypothes.is/a/Nysv1HyTEeyaC2cnv3ZCPQ), Ton Zijlstra is now no longer able to find his original annotation in the https://hypothes.is/search online interface. It’s as if it’s completely disappeared as the main web search interface is unable to find it via username and/or tags and (likely by design) the main public thread only shows top level annotations and not replies.

I’ve tried some similar experiments on my own replies to annotations. I’m unable to search my own annotations (via https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich) or use either a user-based or tag-based search to find those same annotations after they were made, thus they’re essentially lost to me and others unless I can find the original document and trace my way back to them. These replies are obviously available via feeds (RSS/ATOM) and the API (using the urn:x-pdf:471902ab75f5683c53518d14f95f0dfe key), but they are essentially lost to the vast number of users who won’t have recourse to these methods.

Similarly searching Ton Zijlstra’s user name: https://hypothes.is/users/tonz, one will see no public annotations despite his public reply to a public annotation. The reply can be found at https://hypothes.is/stream.atom?user=tonz and via API calls.

Expected behaviour

After having made a reply to an annotation (with or without tags), one should expect to be able to search their own annotations or specific tags and find those public replies to annotations again.

Whether or not the main web stream (https://hypothes.is/search) filters out replies, they should still be able to be found via subsequent direct search.

Actual behaviour

Searching for one’s previous replies, via user, tag, or otherwise doesn’t find them, though they certainly exist and are findable in feeds and API.

Additional details

Related, possibly helpful for the above

Browser/system information

I’ve tried on other platforms and browsers and platforms with similar results, but I’m using Windows 10 and see the same behavior in both Chrome (Version 98.0.4758.102 (Official Build) (64-bit)) and Firefox (97.0.1 (64-bit)).

Published by

Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

3 thoughts on “Unable to search or find public replies to annotations in public stream”

  1. I have this same issue. Publicly written comments I made on someone else’s annotations:

    are not listed in my user overview
    cannot be found through search using the tags used

    The only way I can find my own comments back is if someone responded and I received an e-mail alert for it. Then I can find the link to my comment in my mail. Otherwise they’re lost to me.

    Documented w screenshots here: https://www.zylstra.org/blog/2022/08/hypothes-is-oddity-in-retrieving-own-comments/

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