Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: A user powered copy editing tool (running on Ars Technica)
56 points by mrkurt on Feb 16, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments
I blew off a bunch of "serious" side work last month and built a tiny little embeddable editing tool that I've wanted to have for Ars Technica since, well, the beginning of internet time. It lets any random user make edit suggestions for writers/editors to consider and act on. I think it's pretty cool and it's gotten some good use over the last few weeks.

Of note, it's uses a single-field signup form. Edit administration is currently email based, so all it needs is an email address to get people going.

I'm sure I'm not the only person to ever do this, but I basically just turned it on one night even though I sort of hated the state it was in. That turned out to be a good call because people started using it almost immediately, which is both flattering and educational. It's making it a little bit harder to drastically change things (since I suddenly have legacy problems), but it was totally worth it.

Check it out: https://copypasta.credibl.es

Awesome. I thought about this months ago and really wanted someone to make it.

Now what I want is different backends, so it could integrate with whatever software is managing the site. For example a WordPress plugin so when someone makes a change to your WordPress blog, it knows to edit the post in the database instead of you manually doing it. (After the site owner approves, of course.)

I would also want a Sphinx backend so I could edit the lacking documentation websites of many Python projects...

And also I'd want a way to auto-approve specific editors.

Good luck! I hope you take this project seriously and keep working on it.

For easy setup and universal integration, you could serve some per page JavaScript that applies the corrections to the page (kind of like Optimizely). That would come at the expense of accessibility, but I think it would be worthwhile.

That's a good idea.

I'm working on a webhook specifically so you can do what you want when edits change. I probably can't write plugins for most stuff, but I can write a webhook!

That's good. A community writing different backends would be great. Do you want to take this to the open-source community direction or a for-profit webapp?

I have a for-profit plan that this complements. I've been extracting things here and there and thinking about open sourcing them though, like this: https://github.com/mrkurt/cloudseed

Good, if this becomes profitable it's a good assurance that it will be maintained, which is very important for me at least.

I just heard about this today when I happened to speak with mrkurt and I immediately loved the idea.

After checking it out, I'm impressed with how well it's put together. Really simple, clean design and easy to understand.

Looking forward to watching this grow. I think there is a big opportunity here.

Hey, glad you like it! My verbal descriptions of things sometimes set unrealistically high expectations.

Cool idea. :)

1. The header is beautiful, but very hard to read. Changing the font might help new users remember Copypasta's name.

2. It is strange that I need to approve/reject corrections by email. I understood the email's explanation perfectly, but I also expected to find the approve/reject feature on the site itself.

I am testing Copypasta on my blog, http://natanyellin.com. (See the sidebar.) I'll let you know how it goes.

I love the header, a friend of mine made it to save me from my graphical misery. It's really just a temporary name so I'm happy with "pretty but not extremely readable" for the moment.

The email based admin was primarily an experiment. I was trying to stick as close to the workflow of "user emails change, we respond" as possible. I'm sticking a real management page up here at some point, though, because the email based admin is pretty fragile.

Very cool - I wish many, MANY websites had this. My eye twitches every time something is spelled incorrectly or misused.


You're in luck, I plan to make a bookmarklet/browser extension that will let you edit any site.

How will you notify the site's owner?

I'm not entirely sure yet. At first, I'll probably just go hand email various sites and say "hey, people are looking at your site and making these corrections". It seems like good marketing.

You can create a notification email every time someone makes an edit, or every time x number of people make an edit.

I'm the Product Manager of PostageApp. We can help with that sort of thing. ;)

I guess you can make a public repository of sites -> owner emails. If one is missing, you try the whois. Not close to bulletproof, but a start.

A better "problem" to solve is how to notify the author of the article?

I'm a developer at Forbes and have been tinkering with a JS bookmarklet that does much of the same. Great minds think alike I guess!

At one point there was a company called Goosegrade that had a service along these lines. Not sure what happened to it.

Nice! There's something called "editz" as well, I've seen a few other tries too. Most of them seemed like kind of a pain for users.

Yeah, a big challenge here seems to be lowering the barrier to entry for copyedits without opening the spam floodgates as well.

Great idea and pretty well done. The homepage + instruction are also pretty straightforward. (I particularly like the logo). Small suggestion: you might want to compress copypasta.credibl.es/javascripts/copypasta.js.

Whoops, yeah, there's a .min.js as well, I just didn't point to it.

We're sorry, but something went wrong.

We've been notified about this issue and we'll take a look at it shortly.

I hit my sendgrid limit, it's now been upgraded so you can try again.

Nice idea but runs slow. Seems to be reloading the editing widget each time.

Which bit's slow? Most of the static bits should be cached pretty well, at least on your second load. My poor little heroku dyno is struggling on some of the dynamic parts though.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact