Web annotation is the idea of allowing people unaffiliated with the owners of a given web site effectively add to, comment on, or change the content on that website. Of course, they cannot actually change the website itself. The annotator submits hir additions to an independent annotation server. When a client wants to view a page with annotations, they then query the annotation server instead of or in addition to the source webserver.
This allows users to write comment on web pages that will actually be seen by the others who view the page (if the viewer has chosen to use an annotation server, that is). Like writing in the margins of a library book.
If you're looking to criticize a foreign page, another (and possibly better) way is to place a link at the top of your critique or even a full TransClusion of the foreign page and then comment below. This is very similar to the centuries old practice of literary criticism. It works very well. -- SunirShah
That seems wise -- If the foreign page doesn't want to be criticized, they could move and edit it to make the criticism invalid. A modified UseModWiki could add some markup for subpages, and capture the subpage headlines to summarize the criticism. If one could form a WikiCommunity interested in criticizing a certain class of writing, those intersted in that criticism could surely find it. Rough code at: [PikiPiki] -- DavidForrest
This assumes that people will search the web for feedback on a certain page. Browsing a page via critorg will augment the page with the comments made by previous users, thus giving you immediate feedback on every page you are looking at. It's like putting post-it notes into every copy of a certain book. Whether that is the AppropriateMedia for criticism I don't know. -- AlexSchroeder
I would say the w3c AnnoteaProject would be a better bet for integrating WebAnnotation with wiki's (WikiAnnotation) because it is already up and running and has interfaces which can be used ClientSide?. How about setting up an AnnoteaServer? specifically for wiki use? -- PaulMillar
This is what I would currently recommend (not because it is up and running but because it may be an emerging standard). Right now, none of us have time to do it.
From what I gather about the current iteration of AnnoteaProject, CritLink has two major advantages. First, there is already a CritLink proxy server (called CritLinkMediator) that lets any normal user view and make annotations without any special software (certainly this could be done with Annotea, I just don't think anyone has written the proxy server yet).
Second, more relevant for our purposes, annotations were encoded in HTML in a certain fashion, and you could "infect" a CritLink annotation server with a given entry for its database by looking at a page with an annotation coded in it. The upside of this was that you could use a very slightly (2 lines?) modified UseMod Wiki to control the annotations that the server knew about (because wiki users could edit annotations on a web page by hand, allowing everyone on the wiki control over the annotation server). Hence it allowed us to realize a primitive AnnotationWiki without writing special software. I believe that Annotea used GET and POST to deal with annotations; while in general I think that is a cleaner way to do it, it does require that someone write new software to allow a wiki to POST to the annotation server (or to write a proxy that periodically scans the wiki for "annotation commands", and then POSTs the requested changes to the annotation server).
So, with CritLink, anyone can see the annotations without installing extra software. And wikis can control annotations without any of us writing new software. So CritLink already provides an AnnotationWiki platform, whereas one of us has to write stuff before we can use Annotea.
I've been thinking of writing an ASP service for the AnnoteaProject similar to CritLink - just haven't got round to it yet. But I like the AnnoteaProject because it uses RDF thus making the annotations more portable.
See also WriteTheWeb, Wiki:CritDotOrg, Wiki:WebAnnotation, [Hypertext Publishing and the Evolution of Knowledge], [Backlinks and Annotations], [B2 weblog with annotea annotation server] [StumbleUpon, website rating]