I suggest adopting the following not-quite-boycott of Hollywood: never pay to see a Hollywood movie unless you have specific indication from a trustworth source that it isn’t crap.
Since nearly all Hollywood movies are crap, due to the system that produces them, this will have practical results almost equivalent to a total boycott of Hollywood.blog.reddit — what’s new on reddit: RMS AMA
[Disclaimer: I am the author of QuoteURL.]
Twitter have just released Blackbird Pie, a tool to quote tweets that generates html code that can be embedded on your website. Much like another tool to quote tweets that generates html code that can be embedded on your website, QuoteURL.
I think this is great news, and somehow a recognition that the concept of having a simple way to quote tweets and reference twitter conversation (other than screenshots) is a valid concern and an useful feature to have :)
I feel flattered, and I want QuoteURL to become obsolete. I am not one of those developers that oppose Twitter filling up their own holes. The only reason that this open-source project exists, is because I needed (back in the days) to scratch an itch of mine, and if a company with full-time employees want to take the challenge of keeping such a tool available… good for us!
However, Blackbird Pie is still in it’s infancy and lacks some important features, not quite ready to replace, or even compete with quoteurl… So here are my small list of suggestions on how to improve Blackbird Pie:
1. Providing just the HTML code is not enough to ensure reliable quotes
On @twittermedia’s announcement they mention fidelity as one of the advantages of such tool:
Have you ever been quoted in a news article or blog post? If so, you know it can be a strange experience: you recognize your words, but they never sound quite right. It’s the peril of transcription.
Finally: quotes that everybody can agree on.
Yes, copying the html code of a tweet will give you the exact words used by a person at a given time. The problem is: one can still intentionally put words on other people’s mouth by simply editing the text.
How QuoteURL addresses this issue:
Every quote generated by QuoteURL has a permanent link, an individual page on quoteurl.com with an unique URL, and all generated embed code contains a link back to this page a “this quote[linked] was generated by quoteurl” small text at the end.
This link goes to a static page that cannot be edited or deleted by anyone other than the owner of that particular appengine account (which in the case of quoteurl.com is myself, but could be any other trusted domain since QuoteURL is open source and can be installed on any other server).
It is still possible for anyone to edit the code that will go on the page, but you can’t generate a quoteURL page that links to the correct person account on twitter with your fake text. So your only choice in this case is to remove the “this quote” link part at the end of your fake quote. And people can get used to be suspicious about QuoteURL quotes that doesn’t link back to the proper originals.
2. Ability to quote multiple tweets from different people
Referencing a single tweet is a task that can be achieved by simply by copying the contents of the tweet and linking back to the permalink of the original. The real value of a quoting tool is embedding conversations and sets of related tweets, something that can be manually done too, but becomes incredibly easier with a tool for that.
3. “Auto-Bake” or Drag and Drop Tweet links from your page and Twitter Search
This is something that makes batch including tweets from one window to another really quick on QuoteURL, the text field where you paste the tweet links detects when it’s content size grows suddenly, assumes that it was a paste or drag of a link and clicks the “Add” button for you (Bake button on Blackbird Pie).
Also, since Blackbird Pie is a tool provided by Twitter itself, it could use the twitter home and twitter search websites inside the same page instead of on a popup window, a true Split Screen mode that is not possible on QuoteURL’s case due to the iframe buster code that got in place back when a “clickjacking” virus was spreading on their service.
4. Option for unstyled embed codes
Inline-styled quote html embed codes can be very large, can break the layout of the pages where it is pasted and sometimes depending on the blogging platform can turn into a very ugly result because the publishing systems strip out some styling tags and change attributes automatically.
How QuoteURL adresses this issue
I’ve tested the styled embed codes in a bunch of different blogging tools and I have tweaked the code to workaround some of the auto tag-stripping that goes on on the most popular blogging platforms, however even with a well crafted html code, it is simply unpredictable how your code will behave on someone else’s page template and css. So, on every quote page, right below the embed code copy textarea you have a checkbox and can opt for the unstyled version of that quote, which means only the HTML tags with the classnames, it is up to the site author to style the quotes.
As a result of that option, people can have smaller embed codes and avoid redundancy of styling code on their pages.
Blackbird Pie is promising, and I hope to see it evolving fast, it would be nice to see if it will get some API love as well, as a developer I am looking forward to that. I am also willing to help improve BP‘s script with anything within my reach, including borrowing code from QuoteURL, since it is already open-source (BSD Licensed). Overall I am excited with the nice reception this tool/hack is getting and I hope to be able to participate on that conversation :)
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