Commentpress lets readers comment on each paragraph of a document, and respond in-line to other comments. Developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book, it is a terrific way for writers to solicit and track critiques of their work, from either a controlled or open group of readers:
Annotate, gloss, workshop, debate: with Commentpress you can do all of these things on a finer-grained level, turning a document into a conversation. It can be applied to a fixed document (paper/essay/book etc.) or to a running blog.
Commentpress’ documentation (written using Commentpress) shows how documents can be structured (title page, table of contents, pages, posts, numbering, etc.) and is a great resource once you’ve got the tool up and running.
Getting Started with CommentPress
To get started on the Commons, first activate both the Commentpress theme and its plugin. Then on your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings>>Commentpress to configure the plugin. Be sure to check the box to “Create All Special Pages.” All the other default settings are fine to begin with. You can always come back to the setting page to fine tune your site. By default, CommentPress uses pages as chapters and for its Table of Contents.
Readers may comment on an entire page or post, or on a specific paragraph within the page or post. There is no approval process for comments, but members must supply their name and email address (and optionally, their website’s url) to comment. To avoid spam, make sure to install and configure Akismet or some other spam filter. To control the pool of responders, you might want to set up your site as private, and invite the readers you want to join.
Here is a screenshot from Shakespeare Quarterly, to give you an idea what Commentpress looks like in action: