Launch in Earnest
August 30, 2019
Been a while. Sorry about that. Wanted a break after a year of anno.wiki. Decided learning French would be the route. Still learning. I’m reading Harry Potter et le Prisonnier d’Azkaban. But I wanted to get back to this.
I opened up registration. I decided I don’t have enough friends for a beta, and it seems that random strangers are not actually interested in beta testing some random dude’s app. Even if it is totally awesome.
Right now I’m trying to find people interested in annotating. This app won’t be useful until there are annotators. Whenever I’ve explained the concept to people, they’ve always wondered if there would be people interested in reading the annotations. I have always said I’m not worried at all about lurkers or readers, I’m worried about writers. Are there enough people as crazy as me to want to annotate classic literature? Judging by the number of annotated editions of literature in existence, I would bet yes. But they were paid, and I don’t have money. So this is still a worry.
I listened to a talk by Jimmy Wales once where he described expecting nothing from Wikipedia, that it would be DOA when it was born, and then being shocked by hundreds of articles when he looked at it a couple weeks later. The Internet was quite different in 2001. There were Usenet boards and BBS’s where someone making something interesting could go and show it to people who would be interested in joining. Now everyone’s siloed in Facebook, Reddit, or Twitter, and the idea that you can just post in a Reddit like r/literature is a joke. I messaged the mods, they thanked me for messaging before posting and then told me, kindly, to get lost.
I posted to r/shakespeare, but that didn’t go very far. Thank you for the praise, all you kindly r/shakespeare readers, but nobody seemed interested enough to contribute. I’ve though that, perhaps, in my fear of being perceived as a promoter (which I am), I would have the thread deleted, so I focused on my story and made it only incidentally about anno.wiki. The result is a little wordy. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a wall of text. I’ll post there again in a month and make it more blatantly promotional.
I emailed Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia. They pointed me to the Village Pump, where I posted yesterday asking for advice. No luck so far. That might take a couple of days. In all likelihood, though, no one will respond.
I emailed an old college buddy of mine. We’ll see how far that gets.
The two next possibilities, that I’m holding off on because they seem drastic, are to, (1), email every professor from here to the West Coast (and in the UK as well) who might be interested in classical literature, and (2), post to Hacker News.
But I don’t like those options. The first because I don’t like being a spamming whore. The second because I don’t want an HN Hug of Death from a community that might only be somewhat interested in literature, and from which maybe only one in every millionth hit will be someone interested in contributing. The result would be expensive with little payoff, in my mind. Plus I don’t have an account with rep.
Basically, I’m starting to get a little discouraged. This blog is essentially a personal diary now, because I know no one is reading it. I am 100% convinced in the value of my project. I just wish I had a network of people to connect to it. If I were still in college I bet this would be easy.