How Should Annotations Work?

Want to help shape how Annotations will work on Hacker Noon? Comment on my google document

We’ve been working with @mark on an annotation system. And even ran an experiment that had 8k concurrent users annotating, but quickly realized that the functionality needed more refinement.

Here are the three pillars for my mindset on Annotations:

1. Writers and editors can accept or reject any annotation on the story
2. Anyone can suggest an annotation on any story
3. Design needs to differentiate itself from links and not distract from the reading experience

“I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.” ― Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

1. Writers can accept or reject any annotation on their story

Where will the writer accept and reject annotations?

Option 1: Add a Tab to The Black Dashboard Navigation. Possibly “Reactions :hushed:” where we would include annotations, comments and later, emojis.

2. Anyone can suggest an annotation on any story

Do they need to be logged in? It could make it simpler to tie the annotation to an account, but on the other hand, we could also have anonymous annotations (more spam).

Highlight text, write annotation, and “submit to writer.” In the first time or the first x times, the annotator gets a loading bar atop with “[writer name] will consider adding this to the story.” Bar stops showing after x times, animation indicates this happened.

May need preview mode (unlisted live link of what reader would see) for a writer to add annotations to their own stories and for editors to add annotations to drafts. And preview mode and normal editor would have to save in conjunction… Or we could change design/function of the editor so that annotations can be made from the text editor draft mode.

Add “Annotations” to the footer of every page.

3. Design needs to differentiate itself from links and not distract from the reading experience.

I don’t know what the solution is here. If I had to choose today, I would simply switch the color… if links are green, maybe highlighting is grey?

Design needs to consider how to prevent spam from people using annotations to sell something. I suppose logged in and in good standing? Maybe it’s just easy to turn off for people who abuse (maybe a user type?)?

Needs a couple blog posts and a few more help section pages about why, how, and where annotations work.

How should Annotations work? Comment on my google document or add a thought below.

Stretch Ideas for…

Writers

  1. When writing, can search annotation library

Readers

  1. When text is highlighted, in addition to “Submit to Writer” option, we have a tweet quote option
  2. Highlighting flips those words into dark mode

Sponsor

  1. Prevent spam of people using annotations to sell something.
  2. If we get to tweet quote point, image could be co branded.

I thought your comments in the Google Doc were great, @David .

I’m just waiting for things to cool down with the rest of the demands, so the team and I can integrate auth systems. Then we should be able to bring annotations back to life! :smiley: :smiley: I’m excited.