Algorithms, data, services seem to create a net of semantic stability for users to consume information but come with concrete disadvantages regarding the way we understand, discuss and teach them. Social bookmarking applications are no exception to this, as they follow a similarly opaque way to organize and publish data. This article will examine the possibility to shift from predetermined results to open and descriptive protocols and applications that revisits fundamental web user activities such as search, classification, group formation and valorization of participation. This approach combines both a data handling protocol (CoWaBoo) and an application (collective observatories) that serve as wider concept and practice of application use and development. Our initial results from 2015 and 2016 university group course works, contributes to shifting our attention from how things end up, to how things become, an important competence in the field of ICT training and education.