Annotation + future of engagement: An audience that writes more than you

  • August 22, 2013 · 7:00 PM

Comment sections are about trolls and flame wars, right? Not anymore. User comments, once nasty backwaters of internet malice, are re-emerging as a powerful way to engage your audience and learn from the crowd. From Disqus and Hypothes.is to Quora and RapGenius, new platforms are making it possible to annotate and comment the best of what the user-generated Web can do.

Disqus and new arrival Hypothes.is, two pioneers in the space, will show us how commenting and annotation is rewriting the Web. Disqus is a wildly popular commenting system hosting 20 million comments per month, and non-profit startup Hypothes.is is building the open-source dream first tried by Netscape's creators combining sentence-level Web annotation with peer-review communities on everything from news to ballot initiatives. This future Web, they say, will serve up the best of what "people formerly known as the audience" can deliver.

Come meet Sam Parker (@renr), Head of product at Disqus, and Dan Whaley (@dwhly), Founder at Hypothes.is, at HacksHackers. We'll discuss what's next, and the real-life experiences of dealing with an audience that writes more than you.

The Hacks/Hackers event will be at the Storify offices (149 9th St #404, San Francisco, CA 94103), on Thursday, August 22 at 7 PM).

Speakers:
Dan Whaley (@dwhly), Founder at Hypothes.is
Sam Parker (@renr), Head of product at Disqus

Agenda:
7-7:30 Drinks and bonhomie
7:30-8:30 Presentation and discussion
8:30-9:00 Whatever the night brings

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Here's a video we put together of the meetup. http://youtu.be/ZX9KKZjDeBg

    1 · August 27, 2013

    • Alan T.

      Note you can hear both speakers easily here. That an snagging a youTube disq.us demo should solve the issues mentioned. (I was close to the front and knew disq.us so had no problems with the actual meetup.)

      August 27, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks to Michael Coren for his well-placed 2nd iphone on the table in front of us. :)

      August 27, 2013

  • C. ByteSprite (C.B.S.) L.

    Great topic: could engage this conversation for a whole day! Could do a merged meeting with the Online Community Lovers Meetup which also meets in SF at Tech Soup?

    August 25, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      We'd love to.

      August 25, 2013

    • Amanda N.

      Disqus would be happy to join as well!

      August 25, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Thanks all for a great conversation:

    A question that I keep coming back to is the question of archiving all this commentary. We discussed how to curate and surface productive comments, but taking hypothes.is' 1,010 year timeline I can't help but wonder: "will we be able to read today's comments 5 years from now? 10 years?"

    August 23, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      For me, a key question is this: Will the web exist as it does today in 1000 years? Will I be able to surf to some URL for some reasonably stable organization and still see the page in 1000 years? Or will there be a reliable copy of it somewhere, like at the Internet Archive? If so, I think the annotation layer will survive. If not, maybe there is a better, more reliable way of hosting and archiving content that persists?

      August 23, 2013

    • dan t.

      That is a hot question in academic circles and Dan is on the consensus track: published standards that allow future tech to access obsolete hardware/software. (Actually, the hardware is the harder problem; look at how the Library of Congress has run into media obsolescence in archiving: microfiche of "A" started decaying before they got to "Z"; CD-ROM readers aren't made by the time they finish putting all their content on CD-ROMs.)

      August 23, 2013

  • Lorraine

    Had a hard time hearing the gentleman from Disc.us. It was hard to follow for folks like me who only have a rudimentary knowledge of this area. Also encourage speakers to bring more visuals! But thanks for your time guys.

    1 · August 23, 2013

    • Amanda N.

      That's helpful feedback — looks like others felt the same way. Thanks for sharing.

      August 23, 2013

  • Evelyn M.

    Disappointing presentation by Disc.us. 1) no visuals. 2) He spoke too softly for the room size, trailed off at the end of his sentences. 3) I wanted more on how they use ratings. But maybe it's me, and the hypothos.is presenter was good on all three counts - so I gave it a NEUTRAL

    August 22, 2013

    • Amanda N.

      Thanks for the feedback, Evelyn. We'll be sure to keep that in mind for next time!

      August 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have an experience I'd like to share that may be of interest to the discussion topic. I have spent the last few months as the assistant editor/biz reporter of a small town newspaper and last June our advertising department decided to censor the word "Vagina" from a Vagina Monologues ad that had been placed by a local theater. In short, the censored ad was published and the rest was history. People went crazy and social media outlets such as Facebook exploded with relentless commentary on the censorship decision. Thanks to social media and the power of the "audience", the story ended up making national (and international) news: msnbc, Times of India, Jezebel; it was even discussed on The View. If anyone has any thoughts to share or questions, feel free to find me at the event! http://now.msn.com/vagina-monologues-ad-censored-in-wisconsin-newspaper

    August 21, 2013

  • dan t.

    If anyone has updates on the research on motivations of trolls and flame warriors, and how parameters (e.g. homophily, ToS, moderation, reputation) encourage or discourage that kind of interaction, I'd love to hear it. (My last look at the research is two years old.)

    1 · August 19, 2013

  • Michael C.

    Please leave suggestions if there are specific topics you'd like to cover, or ideas to raise. Comment away!

    August 17, 2013

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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