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    Web development not quite inside my comfort zone; how are privacy, security and (possible) censorship / freedom of information handled?

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      Individual implementers would make those decisions. The standard attempts to provide a data model and protocol for annotations in general, but you can build various things on that. One of the uses conceived is private annotations, like what you might do today with an app that lets you annotate PDFs. But also annotations shared among a closed friends'/colleagues' group, public comments, etc. Policy issues like whether there would be a content policy for public comments would be up to implementers as well, and there could be more than one such “layer” to choose from with different policies. The hope is that some could be specialized, e.g. a research community could have their annotation layer on paper databases like the ACM Digital Library and arxiv.org, and the comment policy for that layer (e.g. what counts as off-topic) might be different than for a general comments layer.

      How it will work in practice (if at all) I think remains to be seen. Browsers have a fairly strong influence here in that if they implement some version of web annotations themselves, for many users that’ll be the main way they interact with the concept.

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      Interesting. Certainly this will improve accessibility compared to the current mess of comment systems.

      I understand that it’s meant to leave room for implementors to figure these parts out, but why doesn’t it even have hooks for moderation features? Inadequate moderation is the number-one reason people don’t read comments or sites turn them off…

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        From my browsing of the standard (which is admittedly not that deep), it looks like it doesn’t consider any access-control type features within its scope, whether on the posting side or on the reading side. Not in the sense that these shouldn’t exist, just that the standard is more bare-bones than that and doesn’t even specify whether public or private would be the default (if annotations aren’t public comments, for example, moderation makes less sense). It’s just a standard for how to store, post, and retrieve web annotations, leaving it up to the operators of annotation servers to choose how to implement read/write access control on their own servers. Which maybe, for the sake of interoperability, could be standardized in the future, but isn’t standardized here.

        The linked post has a little on that:

        But this standard is just the beginning in terms of the work required to get to a vibrant ecosystem of truly interoperable clients and services. What’s not covered are how users might annotate in groups or what kind of permissions can be set. Should replies be threaded? Can other users be followed? To help encourage these kinds of discussions, and also to support the implementation of this technology by publishers and others, in December of 2015 we formed the Annotating All Knowledge coalition, which now includes over 70 major publishers, platforms, institutions and companies.

        The Coalition has assembled a further set of user stories, contemplated the levels of interoperability that might exist between implementations, and is committed to sharing the experience that members have in implementing annotation within their own environments. We welcome additional members, and interested parties should contact us. Also, many of these stakeholders will be at our annual annotation conference, I Annotate, May 4-5 in San Francisco.

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        Am I the only one that does not see big benefits in this?

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          It’s actually a huge deal. If you were around the web in the late 90’s, you may remember plugins like “ThirdVoice”. It was basically Disqus, for every website, managed externally from the website.

          Social sticky notes + social comments + notes for any site.

          I haven’t read the spec yet, but I imagine this is significant for taking discussions out of the “walled gardens” and giving that control back to users. I would quite like the ability to discuss a websites content without needing to register for an account on every page I visit.

          Although many won’t remember ThirdVoice today, it was quite disruptive in that regard. It gave end users to have a discussion on a medium that was entirely separate from the main site. I even recall websites such as SayNoToThirdVoice.com (or this one I found via google that is still online) organized by webmasters who felt they were losing control over discussions about their site. It will be exciting to see where this one goes.

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            If the only thing it achieves is getting rid of disqus and facebook comments then that will count as a win to me :)

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            I’m not even really sure I understand what it is.