Interesting Ideas: Can You Peer Review The Entire Internet, Sentence By Sentence

from the more-truth,-less-FUD dept

One of the concerns many people have with the web is whether or not the content you come across is trustworthy. To be honest, to some extent I've always found this to be a feature, rather than a bug, in that it (hopefully) teaches people to be more skeptical of everything they read and to seek additional sources, opinions and viewpoints in determining what they really believe. However, it's definitely true that many people can get sucked in by less than credible information. There's an interesting project under way by some big names in the tech world, to try to create a product called Hypothes.is, which is described as:
An open-source, community-moderated, distributed platform for sentence-level annotation of the Web.
The goal being to allow people to "peer review" the web. The project is currently raising funds via Kickstarter to get a prototype together. There are definitely some interesting names involved with the project, including John Perry Barlow and Brewster Kahle. And, on top of that, I'm always in favor of anything that brings more truthfulness to discussions.

That said, I do wonder how useful or effective this will be. There have been a number of projects over the years that have tried to add annotation to the web. Over a decade ago, the one that had all the buzz was ThirdVoice. But no one used it. More recently, Google put forth a big effort with an annotation offering called SideWiki... and no one used it (leading Google to shut it down recently). There are still a bunch of other annotation systems, but it's not clear how much usage any of them really get.

So while I like the principles and the goal here, I'm curious as to how it's going to actually be made useful to the point that people find it worth using.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ilfar, Oct 24th, 2011 @ 11:34pm

    The problem is people

    The big problem with a system like this is the same problem that creates a 'need' for it in the first place - people. Why bother using something to verify credibility of stuff on the web when you'd have to verify the verifier too? (Verily!)

     

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    TechnoMage (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 12:53am

    Come on now

    It is "truthiness" not "truthfulness" that matters -_-

     

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    Pinoy Video, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:46am

    One of the concerns many people have with the web is whether or not the content you come across is trustworthy. To be honest, to some extent ...

     

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    Old Man in The sea, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:47am

    Problem in the World of Peer Review

    As we have seen many times in the past, if something is created that is not in accordance with the "current view" or "current model", all peer review does is bury it. The actual worthiness of the idea is set to very low by those who do the peer review. This is a function of the fact that people believe what they are taught to believe, believe what they believe will profit them, believe what excites them, believe what they get pleasure from, believe what they believe makes them superior to others, believe what they believe will keep them in control.

    Too often, the messenger is attacked instead looking at an analysing the message.

    Few indeed are those who actually take the time to look at the various options and make a decision based on the outcomes achieved.

    This applies to religious belief, science theory belief, philosophical belief, moral belief, sociological belief, political belief, etc.

    As we see with many areas in publishing, those who have control want to maintain control irrespective of whether the ideas they promulgate are correct, accurate, reasonable or not.

    So I guess such an effort will, if it does gain traction, stifle logical, pleasant and informative discussion in the areas covered.

    regards to all

     

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    abc gum, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 4:24am

    The internet is a peer review of societies in general.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 5:57am

    JPB should know better.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    web annotations

    Good article, and thanks for bringing this up.

    I am afraid for too many people, it is "my mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts".

     

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    TJM, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 3:01am

    Hypothes.is

    It is possible that the Internet's full potential will not be understood or achieved in our lifetime. If we view the Net with the Kardashev scale, it is understandable most people will miss the signal for the noise. The applications of social collaborative annotation have interesting possibilities. For example, local to global consensus on any issue made available in simplified formats; alternative news sources and many important functions beyond monetized schemes.
    Imagine what the healthcare insurance industry would do if all the dirty details were made accessible in such a manner. Since Wendell Potter's defection, it is reasonable to think the industry is sweating bullets. I think it is everyone's job to know what is occurring. Educating and providing incentives for people to start thinking on doing the right thing will be a separate movement. Hypothes.is will be the brainchild of intellectuals not common folks struggling to survive. If the intellectuals can build consensus and educate the "non-intellectuals" (however you may or may not define that), I think our type 0 civilization may grow up. That is my wish.

     

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