Comments on articles don’t have to be simple discussion threads. Gawker’s approach of putting readers on an equal footing with paid writers is an interesting development, and now the Atlantic’s Quartz publication has unveiled a new feature that allows readers to annotate any part of an article.
These crowdsourced margin notes recall the approach taken by Rap Genius, the hip-hop annotations startup that has expanded into news. However, it’s most similar to Medium, which allows users to comment on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis – the difference being that authors on Medium must premoderate all annotations before they’re public, Quartz’s approach is more like a highly targeted comment thread.
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Whether users take to the idea or not remains to be seen, but it’s launched in beta today for readers to play around with and offer feedback on.