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Introducing Read+Comment


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An introduction to how the UK government is using commentable documents, and an introduction to Read+Comment, a hosted, WordPress-based platform for engaging audiences around strategies and dcouments

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Introducing Read+Comment

  1. 1. Read+Comment: commentable documents reloaded September 2010 Steph Gray, Helpful Technology
  2. 2. Implementing commentable documents <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Back in 2008, there were some interesting options already: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CommentOnThis (by MySociety volunteer Sam Smith) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Co-ment (collaborative text editing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scribd (embeddable documents) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Docs or wikis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CommentPress (WordPress theme for paragraph-level comments) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>just using regular ol’ Typepad/WordPress </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But it’s two years on, and things are now even more interesting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2009, DIUS released Commentariat , a WordPress theme built for document commenting, used by lots of government organisations, and as a basis for something better by lots more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CommentPress is now being actively developed as Digress.It as used in RegulationRoom. org and WriteToReply offers a hosted service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Docs now allows live document highlighting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crowdsourcing: Delib’s OpinionSuite for Spending Challenge & Your Freedom </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Reloading commentable documents <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>There seem to be three main directions for commentable documents in the context of UK government digital engagement at the moment: </li></ul>1. Collaborative drafting and detailed commenting on a document 2. Crowdsourcing, reviewing and prioritising ideas 3. Ongoing engagement around a strategy
  4. 4. 2009: Commentariat 1.0 <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>A different site for each document </li></ul><ul><li>All about the document structure </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible and accessible, but took some fiddling with for each new project </li></ul>
  5. 5. 2010: Commentariat 2.0 <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to be able to deploy quickly, for lots of documents </li></ul><ul><li>Layers: comment quickly or slowly, publicly or privately </li></ul><ul><li>Position the document alongside other channels for engagement (blog, email Twitter etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it accessible and flexible, but make it possible to change the look and feel without coding skills </li></ul>
  6. 6. One bunch of code, lots of different-looking documents <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul>
  7. 7. So what’s Read+Comment? <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Ready-made software, hosting and support for online engagement around commentable documents </li></ul>WordPress 3.0 + Commentariat 2.0 Hosting + Configuration As much support as you need + + Your own subdomain address, and the basic site setup done for you UK cloud-based, scalable Ubuntu Linux hosting. Software tested, maintained and ready. Fixed price or flexible
  8. 8. Out of the box, a new Read+Comment site <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Soon after you’ve signed up, you’ll get emailed with the login details for your new site: </li></ul><ul><li>Comes set up with some demo content showing how you can organise the pages </li></ul><ul><li>Is password-protected, for you to share internally, until you’re ready to launch </li></ul>
  9. 9. A new Read+Comment site <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Drag-and-drop to layout the homepage </li></ul><ul><li>Edit content using regular WordPress WYSIWYG editor </li></ul><ul><li>Moderate (spam-filtered) comments before they appear -- or not, you choose </li></ul>
  10. 10. A new Read+Comment site <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Customise the look and feel to upload new backgrounds, choose colours etc </li></ul><ul><li>Change layout to suit the project - two columns or three, fixed or ‘floating’ comment box </li></ul><ul><li>Add your own CSS rules and analytics code if you want </li></ul>
  11. 11. Government-friendly <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost (like, under a grand) </li></ul><ul><li>Quick: can have a nice-looking site up and running in hours </li></ul><ul><li>Transformational Government & COI standards compliant: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Designed for time-limited sites, with functionality most CMS don’t offer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subdomain can be mapped to your chosen subdomain or as a simple redirect ( or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indexable by search engines and The National Archives - add to your sitemap </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to track cost and usage data if you want to report on it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-browser compliant - yes, even IE6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ready-made Privacy, Accessibility and Moderation policies and T&Cs for you to tailor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Core templates and functionality accessible to WCAG Priority Level 2 (AA) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. A sales pitch in three flavours (kind of) <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul>Off you go Keys to the site Happy to help Jim’ll Fix It Something Else A bit of help tweaking it and getting it right Whatever you need: help with inputting content, tweaks to design or functionality A private version of Read+Comment on your own servers, or customised to you £450+VAT £950+VAT From £1,950+VAT Let’s talk! Traffic limits apply. Costs for 1 site for up to 12 months.
  13. 13. What’s next? <ul><li>Read+Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Find out more about the service: </li></ul><ul><li>Check out the public demo: </li></ul><ul><li>Email or call for a chat about the options: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>020 3012 1024 </li></ul>