I Annotate Berlin 2016 Logo

On Consent and Abuse in Annotation Systems

István Jantó-Petneházy
Researcher, CAMRI University of Westminster
Stephen Pringle
News Community Manager, Genius
Randi Lee Harper
Founder, Online Abuse Prevention Initiative
Lena Gunn
Engineering Manager, Hypothesis

Date: May 19, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Duration: 90 mins
Location: Microsoft Atrium, Berlin


Recently, there has been much discussion about how the technology being built can be used not only to discuss and enlighten, but also to harass and abuse. Part of the problem is that web annotation systems don’t currently provide adequate tools to prevent abuse. Another problem is that annotation (by design) can circumvent decisions that page owners have made about whether they want commenting in the first place.

This panel brings together different perspectives on the topic of online abuse and harassment. Given that web annotation has the potential to reach a large portion of the content on the web, it’s important to discuss the potential for abuse in the systems and products we’re building.

During this panel we will discuss the role of website owners and authors in annotation, including whether and how they should have a say on what gets annotated. At the same time, we will highlight use cases where annotating content may be in the public interest.

We will share experiences designing services (annotation, comments, discussion) and best practices for encouraging high quality content and interactions on the web. We will also talk about policies and internal tools that are needed to address abuse when it happens, and how to communicate transparently with users and communities.

The second part of this panel will count on the participation and questions of the audience, adding more perspectives and ideas on how to prevent harassment, violence and exclusion.