Re: We need to start talking about group and public annotations

John Labovitz (
Tue, 19 Jul 94 18:23:50 -0700

> The problem: we need to bring back group and public annotation BACK to
> the WWW.

yes, i agree. we've recently started developing a feedback mechanism
for Global Network Navigator (GNN). initially, we implemented it as
a one-time evaluation form for a particular article. we've since
generalized it to be used in other places within GNN, and we'd like
to make it even more general.

it works in an extremely simple manner -- the user fills out a form,
whose contents are then stored in a simple database on our server.
GNN staff can look at the entire set of comments, or extract a set
and publish them.

for an example, see:

Multi-level Marketing Schemes

now, having said that i support annotation, we've found that simply
putting up a generic `comment' form doesn't work as well as tailoring
the form to the particular context. for the above example, we received
a lot of replies that, frankly, i don't think we would have received
if people had simply annoted the document. perhaps this has to do with
user knowledge of annotation (i.e., since it doesn't work now, no one
would bother doing it), but i think it might have more to do with the
fact that at the end of our article, we specifically invite our readers
to comment on the article; the form is also tailored to the context.

if anyone else has implemented similar reader-evaluation or
mock-annotation (to coin a term), perhaps they could share their

brian, if you decide to move this to a smaller discussion list, please
keep me in the loop.

John Labovitz <> +1 707 829 0515
Global Network Navigator (
O'Reilly & Associates, 103A Morris St., Sebastopol, California 95472 USA