Annotation is now a web standard – Hypothesis

Replied to Annotation on "Annotation is now a web standard" by Jeremy Dean (hypothes.is)
Though clearly the Amazon system is limited, you can actually do this with Kindle. See this tutorial.

What about sharing my personal annotations on my own website? Is there a way for an individual annotator to relink something like the annotations/highlights at http://boffosocko.com/2012/06/17/big-history/#Highlights%2C+Quotes%2C+%26+Marginalia back to the original document (in this case an ebook)?

I’ve started into the documentation, but I’m curious if there’s a simple way of doing this without some 3rd party like Hypothes.is, Genius, etc. or some other massive framework?

A Case for Why Disqus Should Implement Webmentions

Disqus could further corner the market on commentary in the social web by implementing the new W3C spec for Webmentions.

Internet-wide @Mentions

There is a relatively new candidate recommendation from the W3C for a game changing social web specification called Webmention which essentially makes it possible to do Twitter-like @mentions (or Medium-style) across the internet from site to site (as opposed to simply within a siloed site/walled garden like Twitter).

Webmentions would allow me to write a comment to someone else’s post on my own Tumblr site, for example, and then with a URL of the site I’m replying to in my post which serves as the @mention, the other site (which could be on WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr, or anything really) which also supports Webmentions could receive my comment and display it in their comment section.

Given the tremendous number of sites (and multi-platform sites) on which Disqus operates, it would be an excellent candidate to support the Webmention spec to allow a huge amount of inter-site activity on the internet. First it could include the snippet of code for allowing the site on which a comment is originally written to send Webmentions and secondly, it could allow for the snippet of code which allows for receiving Webmentions. The current Disqus infrastructure could also serve to reduce spam and display those comments in a pretty way. Naturally Disqus could continue to serve the same social functionality it has in the past.

Aggregating the conversation across the Internet into one place

Making things even more useful, there’s currently a third party free service called Brid.gy which uses open APIs of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Flickr to bootstrap them to send these Webmentions or inter-site @mentions. What does this mean? After signing up at Bridgy, it means I could potentially create a post on my Disqus-enabled Tumblr (WordPress, or other powered site), share that post with its URL to Facebook, and any comments or likes made on the Facebook post will be sent as Webmentions to the comments section on my Tumblr site as if they’d been made there natively. (Disqus could add the metadata to indicate the permalink and location of where the comment originated.) This means I can receive comments on my blog/site from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, G+, etc. without a huge amount of overhead, and even better, instead of being spread out in multiple different places, the conversation around my original piece of content could be conglomerated with the original!

Comments could be displayed inline naturally, and likes could be implemented as UI facepile either above or below the typical comment section. By enabling the sending/receiving of Webmentions, Disqus could further corner the market on comments. Even easier for Disqus, a lot of the code has already been written and is open source .

Web 3.0?

I believe that Webmention, when implemented, is going to cause a major sea-change in the way people use the web. Dare I say Web3.0?!

Webmentions for Improving Annotation and Preventing Bullying on the Web

Replied to Preventing abuse – Hypothesis by Dan Whaley (Hypothes.is)

There are potential solutions to the recent News Genius-gate incident, and simple notifications can go a long way toward helping prevent online bullying behavior.

There has been a recent brouhaha on the Internet (see related stories below) because of bad actors using News Genius (and potentially other web-based annotation tools like Hypothes.is) to comment on websites without their owner’s knowledge, consent, or permission. It’s essentially the internet version of talking behind someone’s back, but doing it while standing on their head and shouting with your fingers in their ears. Because of platform and network effects, such rude and potentially inappropriate commentary can have much greater reach than even the initial website could give it. Naturally in polite society, such bullying behavior should be curtailed.

This type of behavior is also not too different from more subtle concepts like subtweets or the broader issues platforms like Twitter are facing in which they don’t have proper tools to prevent abuse and bullying online.

A creator receives no notification if someone has annotated their content.–Ella Dawson

On March 25th, Ella Dawson wrote a blog post in which she requested that Genius disable its Web Annotator for her site.

Towards a Solution: Basic Awareness

I think that a major part of improving the issue of abuse and providing consent is building in notifications so that website owners will at least be aware that their site is being marked up, highlighted, annotated, and commented on in other locations or by other platforms. Then the site owner at least has the knowledge of what’s happening and can then be potentially provided with information and tools to allow/disallow such interactions, particularly if they can block individual bad actors, but still support positive additions, thought, and communication. Ideally this blocking wouldn’t occur site-wide, which many may be tempted to do now as a knee-jerk reaction to recent events, but would be fine grained enough to filter out the worst offenders.

Toward the end of notifications to site owners, it would be great if any annotating activity would trigger trackbacks, pingbacks, or the relatively newer and better webmention protocol of the W3C which comes out of the IndieWeb movement. Then site owners would at least have notifications about what is happening on their site that might otherwise be invisible to them. (And for the record, how awesome would it be if social media silos like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Medium, Tumblr, et al would support webmentions too!?!)

Perhaps there’s a way to further implement filters or tools (a la Akismet on platforms like WordPress) that allow site users to mark materials as spam, abusive, or “other” so that they are then potentially moved from “public” facing to “private” so that the original highlighter can still see their notes, but that the platform isn’t allowing the person’s own website to act as a platform to give safe harbor (or reach) to bad actors.

Further some site owners might appreciate gradable filters (G, PG, PG-13, R, X) so that either they or their users (or even parents of younger children) can filter what they’re willing to show on their site (or that their users can choose to see).

Consider also annotations on narrative forms that might be posted as spoilers–how can these be guarded against? For what happens when a even a well-meaning actor posts an annotation on page two which foreshadows that the butler did it thereby ruining the surprise on the last page? Certainly there’s some value in having such a comment from an academic/literary perspective, but it doesn’t mean that future readers will necessarily appreciate the spoiler. (Some CSS and a spoiler tag might easily and unobtrusively remedy the situation here?)

Certainly options can be built into the annotating platform itself as well as allowing server-side options for personal websites attempting to deal with flagrant violators and truly hard-to-eradicate cases.

Note: You’re welcome to highlight and annotate this post using Hypothes.is (see upper right corner of page) or on News Genius.

Do you have a solution for helping to harden the Internet against bullies? Share it in the comments below.
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