I have been using Diigo as a research tool for some time. Once in a while, I would run across a public comment or sticky note on a news story. These comments were often thought provoking and useful to me–I considered them to be little jewels that brightened my day. Considering that I grew up in the dark ages of libraries and research before computers, I found the possibilities of group annotation and dynamic, collaborative research to be intellectually intoxicating. (Yes, I know, that sounds pretty stupid, but it is light years from the prevailing paradigm in my graduate student years. I knew I had arrived then because I was finally eligible for a private study carrel where I could stash the books and LOCK THEM UP!!)
Once of the first posts I read on this new tool was from Will Richardson, New Reading, New Writing. (April, 2009) He wrote about Steven Johnson’s essay in the Wall Street Journal “How the E-Book Will Change the Way we Read and Write” (April 2009). If you follow the link to the essay, and you are a member of Diigo, you will see a considerable amount of highlighting and commenting on different portions of the story. Just as it was supposed to be!
Fast forward to today, some four months later. I have been seeing more and more “public commenting” on major pages–facebook, news sites, now my iGoogle page. These comments are, at least, an annoyance and, at most, spam. So far as I can tell, you can’t turn off individual comments. You can filter for private comments (hopefully the ones you left yourself!) or comments left by group members. Evidently, the Diigo team is trying to deal with this onslaught. I logged into my iGoogle account this afternoon and saw the following (see image here).
Private vs. Public
- Sticky notes are either PRIVATE (default), PUBLIC, or GROUP. Private sticky notes are viewable by the author and any forwarded recipients.
- Public sticky notes can be seen on the page by all Diigo members with the Diigo toolbar or Diigolet installed, and its viewing mode set to “All“.
- The highlights associated with public sticky notes also become PUBLIC, i.e., viewable to all Diigo members.
- Public highlights and sticky notes should be done with care. To minimize graffiti and spam, we have raised the bar for making public highlights and sticky notes:you need at least two friends in the Diigo community to do so.
There has been at least one blogger posting out of frustration (Krishnan Subraminian, July 2009).
Diigo has added a feature to hide annotations on individual URLs. To solve my iGoogle page problem (I did not think it very likely that I was going to get any riveting content via stickynotes on this page!), I clicked on the Diigo options menu and proceeded to the “bookmark and highlight” tab. Here, you have the option of creating your own blacklist with “hide public annotations on selected pages”. I believe this will be an adequate fix for me. I expect spammers are going to limit their attention to major first level pages.