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.