As part of an internal hack day I’ve been diving back into greasemonkey, and remembering how much the monkey mentality changes the way you think about the web. Greasemonkey seems to have lost some mindshare momentum, probably due to a natural hype/fatigue cycle, the still minority share of Firefox browsers, and the very real “laziness barrier” that keeps the vast majority of people from installing new stuff.
In any case, rediscovering how easy it is to muck with any and every website, usually for fun, and sometimes to truly improve usability or productivity, brings back the giddy avalanche of ideas of ways to “reclaim the web”.
For example, it wouldn’t be terribly hard to add a bit of xmlhttpRequest to WebVocab to create a shortcut that, with one click, inserts a custom signature into any comment you leave on any web page, at the same time notifying your favorite social feed service (e.g., friendfeed, Facebook, Yahoo! updates) and/or your own server of the comment location and content. Your friends see where and what you’re commenting, and you get a searchable archive of all the breadcrumbs you leave around the web. It’s like a comment aggregator service that users control rather than publishers, and thus that works on any website, putting the user back into user-generated content.