Adding Comments to the Web: FAQ

This is a grab-bag of questions about the web-comments paper. Some of these questions really are frequently asked, some have been asked once, and some have never been asked at all. Some of them are questions that I'm asking of readers- unresolved issues, questions for further research, etc.

They're divided, somewhat arbitrarily, between General questions (about the goals and politics of the system) and technical questions (about its internal workings and how it might get implemented).

This paper is an ever-changing draft, and I'd love to hear peoples' responses to the ideas here. Email comments, criticism and ideas to


Very briefly, what would a web-commenting system do, how would it work, and why is it important?
What is this paper supposed to accomplish?
I don't want to see comments on every page I look at.
Are web pages really a good starting point for discussions?
I've heard that someone is already working on this.
What's wrong with annotation sets?
Will ratings work?
Shouldn't people be able to keep their pages from being commented on?
The net's already a great medium for giving voice to individuals. Do we really need this?

Is the "trusted friends" idea technically possible?
Wouldn't people be able to keep their pages from being commented on?
What if the comments database just stored the addresses of comments instead of their full text?

Should comments expire?
How would this system gain momentum?