Re: The Dangers of Web Annotation

I think this is an important topic, particularly as this case
highlights for issues around gender and sexuality where sensitivity is
prime and "anything goes" is definitely not appropriate.

In this working group we're making the mechanism to essentially
standardize what you can do with Genius so that such annotations can
be generated and accessed in a decentralized manner. Decentralization
basically also means it is much harder to block harassment - as web
authors would have more than just a handful of sites to check.

I think we already have partially a mechanism there - reporting abuse
or harassment is also a kind of annotation.

We have  "motivation": "moderating" - we might want to add a
motivation that specializes moderating for reporting abuse?
oa:blocking ?

Of course oa:blocking could also then be abused to 'block' opinions
you don't like rather than actual abuse. We can't build a moral and
police system into the annotation model - ultimately the existing
structures will have to help - and different web annotation systems
might want to treat such blocks in a soft ("This comment has been
flagged as potentially abuse - click to see") or hard ("This comment
has been removed") - for instance depending on who made the block and
if the blocking annotation itself has been ratified by an editor.

On 30 March 2016 at 09:50, 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]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]
> [6]
> [7]
> [8]
> [9]
> [10]
> [11]
> Regards–
> Doug

Stian Soiland-Reyes, eScience Lab
School of Computer Science
The University of Manchester

Received on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 09:21:14 UTC