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Re: The Dangers of Web Annotation

From: Sarven Capadisli <info@csarven.ca>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2016 08:58:33 -0400
To: public-annotation@w3.org
Message-ID: <5707AAF9.9090702@csarven.ca>
On 2016-03-30 04:50, Doug Schepers wrote:
> Hi, folks–
> We've focused mostly on 3 things in this group:
> 1) the annotation model
> 2) the annotation REST protocol
> 3) the anchoring mechanism (e.g. FindText API)
> The charter describes other deliverables [1]; my annotation architecture
> diagram goes into details on a few more [2].
> But we haven't really discussed the social implications of Web
> Annotations, outside of some informal chats. Specifically, we haven't
> determined notification and curation models, which are critical if Web
> Annotations are to be used as a social good, rather than an avenue for
> harrassment; nor have we discussed the idea of opting-in or opting-out
> of allowing annotations a particular site.
> There's been an interesting (if disturbing) thread the past few days
> about how Genius is being used for what could be considered harassment
> (and for rude comments, at the very mildest). I suggest that we read and
> discuss the blog post [3], Medium articles [4], tweets [5 – 10], and
> Github issues [11] that describe this abuse, and try to think about what
> our role, as technologists and standards folks, can do to help the
> situation.
> Ultimately, if Web Annotation does take off as a feature of the Web,
> these cases will become all too common. And I don't think that scholarly
> and academic uses will be immune (though the accountability and
> reputation risk will reduce abuse). And if such abuse continues, it
> reduces the value and incentive for Web Annotation to succeed at all.
> I don't want to derail the current push towards Recommendation, but I do
> think it behooves us to treat this seriously, maybe on this list, or
> maybe in other forums, such as I Annotate, and to discuss it with the
> broader community on social media, where they have started the
> conversation.
> Thoughts?
> [1] https://www.w3.org/annotation/charter/
> [2] http://www.w3.org/annotation/diagrams/annotation-architecture.svg
> [3]
> https://ellacydawson.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/how-news-genius-silences-writers/
> [4]
> https://medium.com/@glennf/citation-appropriation-and-fair-use-news-genius-picks-up-again-where-failures-left-off-d640719a82ab#.exsmdb2l1
> [5] https://twitter.com/brosandprose/status/713380185001836544
> [6] https://twitter.com/brosandprose/status/714668474904264706
> [7] https://twitter.com/TheFriskyFairy/status/714843748199493633
> [8] https://twitter.com/FeralHomemaking/status/714970696867319810
> [9] https://twitter.com/krues8dr/status/714999625090994176
> [10] https://twitter.com/krues8dr/status/714999849205305345
> [11] https://github.com/opengovfoundation/madison/issues/920
> Regards–
> Doug

Doug et al, I completely agree with your points.

To what extent do you think decentralisation and individual control of 
annotations goes towards mitigating some of these problems?

I don't intend to claim that technology solves all these problems nor do 
I completely understand all of the ramifications of possible dangers of 
annotations on the Web. It seems like some of the reason News Genius has 
these issues is partly due to the centralisation of the service, which 
doesn't allow article owners to control what is displayed on their content.

Received on Friday, 8 April 2016 12:59:05 UTC

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