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I have added a script to my websites today that will block annotations – namely those from Genius and those from Hypothes.is. I have been meaning to do this for a while now, so it’s mostly a project that comes as I procrastinate doing something else rather than one that comes in response to any recent event.

I took comments of my websites in 2013 because I was sick of having to wade through threats of sexualized violence in order to host conversations on my ideas.

My blog. My rules. No comments.

I’ve made this position fairly well known – if you have something to say in response, go ahead and write your own blog post on your own damn site. So I find the idea that someone would use a service like Hypothes.is to annotate my work on my websites particularly frustrating. I don’t want comments – not in the margins and not at the foot of an article. Mostly, I don’t want to have to moderate them. I have neither the time nor the emotional bandwidth. And if I don’t want to moderate comments, that means I definitely do not want comments to appear here (or that appear to be here) that are outside my control or even my sight.

This isn’t simply about trolls and bigots threatening me (although yes, that is a huge part of it); it’s about extracting value from my work and shifting it to another (for-profit) company which then gets to control (and monetize) the conversation.

Blocking annotation tools does not stop you from annotating my work. I’m a fan of marginalia; I am. Blocking annotations stops you from writing in the margins here on this website.

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Audrey Watters


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