Problems With ThirdVoice

from the some-people-are-so-picky dept

Apparently, not everyone thinks ThirdVoice is a very cool technology. It seems that people are upset that others can more or less “write” on their web page. I think they may have a reasonable argument, though not necessarily a legal one.

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Comments on “Problems With ThirdVoice”

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Jon Acheson (user link) says:

I see 2 big problems for T.V.

Firstly, what happens when you annotate EVERYTHING on a site? If the annotations on your site bother you, could you simply drown them out by cluttering the whole site up with annotations? It would be a “tragedy of the commons” type situation, because if TV tried to remove only some of the comments, they would be exercising editorial control over the content, and then they WOULD be liable (well, might be liable).

Secondly, couldn’t you argue that this is a violation of copyright, akin to people building sites that are nothing but frames displaying other sites’ content? There was a lawsuit over that, and IIRC, the people doing the bogus linking lost. Basically, the argument would be that this service is piggybacking on the content of the annotated sites to the point where it is unreasonable. “Unreasonable” is a term you’d have to prove in court, but it’s a starting point.

Jon Acheson

Mike (profile) says:

Re: I see 2 big problems for T.V.

I pretty much agree with you on this one. I definitely see how things would get over annotated and we simply have a new usenet type problem, with pure spam and annoying kiddies as signal to noise becomes more of a joke than an issue. As for the lawsuit, if I remember correctly (and now it’s an issue of who remembers correctly – or who makes the effort to look this stuff up) the case was settled out of court with the offending party agreeing to stop putting the info in frames for the bigger, nastier, and angrier of the sites involved.

I definitely do see where Third Voice might be interesting for me to annotate things to a web page for my own use.. of course then I take it a step further and ask what if I want to share those annotations with some friends? Not quite sure how one deals with something like that.

Edward Welbourne (user link) says:

Re: I see 2 big problems for T.V.

Well, if I view a TV-annotated site without TV,
I don’t see the annotations. So the pages haven’t
been changed, defaced, modified or anything: TV
could sensibly argue that they are providing folk
with a facility to discuss, with one another, the
things we find on the web. The presence of notes
on a site isn’t fundamentally more intrusive than
if someone set up an IRC channel for discussing
web pages and said the same things there – it’s
just that T.V gives its users better mechanisms

  • identifying which part of which page they’re talking about.
  • finding all the things other folk have said about any given page.

Note that T.V don’t claim to be bringing you the
content of the site: only the things other visitors have said.

As to clutter, yes I’m sure the public notes
will soon be dominated by total drivel, spam, etc.
Just like /. ;^>

However, their mechanism (I visited their web
site and FAQ) does provide for a third kind of
note, between private (held by your T.V
installation and accessible to no-one
else) and public notes: group notes. These appear
to allow for immense flexibility in selecting who
can see which notes: doubtless, with a little
care, they can be used to provide flexible
filtering of which notes I see on a site. Public
notes could be totally ignorable without the
system being useless.


Demi Monde (user link) says:

Re: Re: I see 2 big problems for T.V.

I enjoy ThirdVoice. It hasn’t really taken off yet, as evidenced by the fact I don’t see a whole lot of annotations yet. And also, since it only works on Windows (so far) people on other platforms, for the most part, don’t even have any idea that it is there.

It is very easy to turn the thing off and not look at it if you don’t want. It’s just another layer of communications media.

I say, go forth and evolve, Web. This could be part of the evolution.

Edward Welbourne (user link) says:

whatever happened to annotations ...

I remember noticing, five years ago, that the
initial spec for the web said you could put
annotations on pages you visited. I remember
wondering how in hell that was meant to work.
I’ve never seen anything which appeared to support
it, though.

  • Does anyone know the details on the original spec for annotations ?
  • Does T.V do the job compatibly with that, or is this YAFPE ?
Mike (profile) says:

Re: whatever happened to annotations ...

I believe this is true. If I remember correctly the original plans were to use it as a sharing mechanism, and being able to write to and annotate the web were just as important as being able to access documents on the web. It just so happened that this side of the development didn’t happen.

For another take on annotating web pages take a look at

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