Now Testing Factlink Plug-In

Factlink is a plug-in, also available as a browser add-on, that was mentioned in a discussion of “Medium-Style Commenting” that I happen to follow. I’ve installed and activated the plug-in for WordPress here, though I’m unsure about keeping it, for reasons I’ll explain.

In short, it offers a set of a smoothly operating annotation + sharing capacities. It’s fully explained at the links, but readers will find it easier just to hover over any paragraph or highlight any phrase or other item of interest, and click-select. They can leave a comment in that format – which will itself be sharable, commentable, and ratable – and in the process will also create a Fact-link account or “feed” where all of their comments of this type will be centrally collected.

I’ll comment on my comments here to provide a couple of examples, but they may disappear from this or other posts if  I discover problems, annoyances, conflicts, etc. So, if you wish to leave a testament for the sempiternal archives, you might want to leave it in a regular ol’ comment rather than in a Factlink annotation.

Factlink can also be disabled on a per-post basis, but I think I would have preferred, at least for initial testing purposes, to have it default to disabled (or not enabled), something I would have added to [so is not available on past posts] the suggestions I sent to Factlink this morning, which were as follows:

1) Download or more fully integrate commenting: My one hesitation about adding Factlink to my main site is that I have not noticed any capacity to download or independently “keep” (host)  annotations, something that many writers (especially scholars) would find useful or even demand, since otherwise we’re depending on you all to be in business indefinitely. It’s for that same reason that some of us have avoided Disqus, Facebook comments, and other hosted commenting/sharing systems to our sites.

Ideal would be automatic integration or choice of modes of integration with existing commenting applications: So that, for instance, running a WordPress blog, I could choose to a) keep the FactLink annotations separate from regular comments, but archive them; b) have the Factlink annotations appear and be archived as WP comments either chronologically or in a separate section of the comment thread; or c) replace WP comments with them.

2) Consider ways of alerting regular users to the availability of the plug-in. If I do go ahead and add the plug-in to my site, I’ll likely highlight it on my own, but a readymade pop-up drop down help/how-to/info box might be useful.

3) Consider allowing site operators to turn on a highlight-and-share capacity separately from the resident paragraph-level annotation capacity, especially in the absence of a solution to the above-noted missing piece. An alternative along the same lines would be to give site operators the ability to limit the size of annotations – especially if downloading/keeping/integration as per #1 is too difficult. That way, if someone had something substantial to say, they’d be nudged or forced to say it in a “regular” comment.

Please feel free to annotate and comment on annotations and reply to them… One use, it occurs to me, might be for proofreading suggestions. So, next time you see me flubbing subject verb agreement or repeating a word clumsily or being a laughably precious blathering pedant, lemme know.


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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution.

11 comments on “Now Testing Factlink Plug-In

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  1. Tried to leave the following comment in (1) of your comment within the post:

    “I’ve noticed only Disqus in any of the sites I visit and think of commenting. It’s been kinda mysterious to me why anyone uses them. Disqus doesn’t function any better that I can see. Just curious, what advantages are there to adding them?”

    But it seemed I had to sign in to FB or Tw. Not on either and just kinda resist “opening an account” situations unless its something I want in general. So for instance I don’t leave comments with Disqus sites.

    I realize my this may be somewhat idiosyncratic, but hey, why stop now.

    Also your editing functions seemed to have disappeared. I found them useful. Any chance of bringing them back?

    • The advantages of Disqus are multiple and synergetic: If you’ve already signed the Disqus contract in blood – that is, registered once – you can auto-sign-in wherever it’s in use. You can also rate and be rated where comment-rating via Disqus is enabled. You will receive auto-notifications via the Disqus system when your own comment is commented on. You will find all of your Disqus discussion collected in the same place. You will be able to take advantage of other Disqus features – like smooth social-sharing of Disqus comments. Disqus also offers ease of use advantages for the site operator – spam control, for example. As Disqus expands its already huge user base the advantages tend to multiply, and Disqus is busy trying to come up with new ones.

      Since, as you confess and have confessed before, you are anti-social or anti-“social,” I can see why none of that would be of interest to you. As for the Factlink stuff, that’s something different. Probably if you wanted to help ol blathery CK out with some easy proofreading tips that won’t have to sully our beautiful regular comment threads, you’d bite the bullet and register with FL. Or maybe you’ll get the feeling that completely wondrous discussions are going on in Factlinkspace, and feel left out.

      OTOH, I still haven’t figured out why you haven’t gotten even a teensy bit into Twitter, but to each his own, and Happy New Year!

      • Not sure of anything – but I wrote the comment hit “Post” or whatever and it asked me to sign in and didn’t post the comment.

        As for FB, Tw and social media in general, its mainly a matter of managing my cognitive load.  It really is a matter of zero sum cognition for me so out of necessity my threshold for FOMO is pretty high.

        And yes Happy New Year!

  2. Now the editing functions are back.  Musta been a while since my last comment – had to fill in name etc.  Now functions are there and the font of the comment is back to a readable size.

  3. Am also wondering whether too many plug-ins or some plug-in or setting in particular is causing erratic basic thread functioning (returning commenter to last spot where commenting). You noticing problems with that? Could also be browser-intensified, or could have something to do with comment-threading plus the various comment add-ons. Something to look into later, time permitting.

  4. Factlink is nowadays an open sourced community project. I like your suggestions. Checkout: https://github.com/Factlink

    • Definitely have some issues, mainly with the browser add-on, it seems, though there may be some fratricide between plug-in and browser, relating to range of unexpected behaviors, most typically a bounce to the top of the page that occurs when commenting either on regular WP comment threads or when opening a new Factlink comment thread – first time or via the Factlink “reply” link. There may also be some variation in responses between threads with FL comments already left, and those without. Also seems to be some variation as to availability of FL when reading WP comments. Sometimes can highlight and Factlink the WordPress comments, sometimes cannot. Would be complicated to investigate, and since I lack knowledge of main languages FL is written in, very difficult for me to achieve anything on my own. I also didn’t see an open issues thread at Github, and am not completely sure where this one even should be raised. If I do raise it there, I think it’ll be after I’ve tested the add-on for Chrome and Safari.

        • yep, still getting erratic comment thread activity even after disbling browser add-on – bounce up to top of window after leaving comment. Move to wrong location after hitting comment reply. Am guessing/assuming it’s related to enabling of WP FL plug-in OR to presence of FL comments already on page OR both.

  5. apologies to anyone who subscribed to this thread – but it is a “testing” thread! I thought the problem I was encountering was factlink-related, and it may have something to do with the Browser add-on… If I’d know it would be this complicated, I’d have set up the tests on my development blog, and I’ll move further investigation there.

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