Thursday, April 04, 2019

Commenting: Everything Old is New Again


Quite some time ago -- maybe as long ago as the late 1990s, but I don't remember for sure -- I came across several sites/browser plug-ins/apps that amounted to "universal commenting." That is, you could go to any web page, click a bookmarklet or browser button, and comment "on" (actually, about) that page, without the owners of the page itself having any say in the matter.

I thought the idea was really cool, but it never caught on. Site commenting got done in-house or via third-party commenting providers that gave site owners moderation control, if it got done at all.

Gab's new site/app/browser extension set, Dissenter, brings back that old idea and seems to be doing better than the old similar models because it's leveraging the same user base that powers Gab itself: People who want to say what they want to say at any site without the site owner being able to set guidelines or just stop them entirely.

Pretty cool.

The next step, which I'm not seeing yet but which seems pretty simple, is a tool set (e.g. Wordpress plug-in) that lets site owners themselves easily opt in by making Dissenter their sites' "official" commenting system. That should already be doable with template edits or whatever. It's just a matter of making it easier.

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