Moderating Annotations

By arti_walker | 10 August, 2017

One of the most requested features we’re consistently asked for here at Hypothesis is the ability for group creators to moderate annotations that are made by group members. The rationale for this request is easy to understand. When someone creates an annotation group, and invites other Hypothesis members to that group, there are unspoken codes of conduct that apply to any annotation that’s created within that group.

Prior to the release of the moderation feature, there was no way to moderate individual annotations deemed out-of-bounds by others. Users would email the Hypothesis support team and then we would decide whether the abuse was systemic enough to warrant shadow-banning the user altogether.

Our new moderation feature allows finer grained control over individual annotations, and places that control in the hands of group owners.


Group members have the ability to moderate annotations by clicking on the flag icon present in the lower right hand corner of the annotation card. This flag will appear on all annotations created by others, but will not appear on annotations that you, the user, create (users cannot flag their own annotations).


Readers have the ability to flag the annotation by clicking the flag, which will report the annotation to the creator of the group. The flag will then change color from gray to red, indicating to the reader and other group members that the annotation has been flagged.


Once annotations are flagged, group creators are notified by email, where they can click the direct link present in the email, which will direct them to the annotation in context of the document where it was made.


The group creator will then see a header on the annotation card, indicating that the annotation has been flagged for review, followed by the number of times the annotation was flagged – in this example, the annotation was flagged by two users.


Group creators will then have the option to hide the annotation by clicking the “Hide” button, which will change the color of the header from red to gray and will hide the annotation from all group members. The annotation’s creator will still be able to read the annotation, but will not know that it was hidden from other group members.

Group creators can also undo their actions, by clicking the “Unhide” button, which will make the annotation visible again to group members.

The flagging feature is also visible on all annotations made in the Hypothesis Public channel. If you feel the need to flag an annotation for its inappropriate content, please click the gray flag. A Hypothesis support team member will review the annotation and if needed, will hide the annotation from public view.

As our Hypothesis annotation community grows, we want to ensure a safe and open community environment for all our members. Our Hypothesis Community Guidelines, that outline proper conduct for all annotators using Hypothesis, will guide us in moderating discussions on the Hypothesis public channel. Please refer to the community guidelines for questions on what constitutes proper conduct.

Thanks to our many Hypothesis partners that provided feedback on this feature. We hope to hear more of your ideas as we continue to build out our annotation ecosystem.

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