Medium's annotation commenting system: a good inspiration?

(Alexandre Plennevaux) #1

I just discovered Discourse and really am excited by the project. Last time i saw something smart being made to online discussions, where (of course) stackoverflow and then, much more recently, 's commenting system.

I was wondering if you guys were aware of and if you had any thought on allowing this type of in-context commenting? I find it super powerful and a real foster for conversations that stay on focus and remain organized throughout the live of the original post.

Thank you,


Highlight parts of a post that have been quoted in a reply
Idea: text highlighter
Retort - a reaction-style plugin for Discourse
Opinions: Comments and Discourse Integration
(Jeff Atwood) #2

I am not a fan of annotation systems, I find they do not work well and are terrible for actual conversations.

I have yet to discover a single place on the whole of the Internet where annotations are effective.

If you have an example of a conversation on Medium that you think is working, can you provide an excerpt in text form here?


I wouldn’t recommend it for actual communication, like what you would see in a forum, but the annotations on are very effective for their use case. For an example, see the blog post the Rap Genius tech staff made about the Heroku routing situation they were involved in: LEMON – Money Trees (Rap Genius Response to Heroku).

(Jeff Atwood) #4

I don’t see that as materially different than linking related topics together, which is as simple as pasting a link in Discourse – this automatically creates a bidirectional link between both topics in the right gutter.

I don’t feel “require the user to keep clicking on things as they read” is a good design. It’s OK for things that are incidental or supplementary to what you are reading, but in that case you might as well go with the tried and true hyperlink.

(Also a problem with threaded systems that require users to constantly collapse things they are not interested in as they read, but that’s even worse since it is a “teach the user to click on things they dislike” learning system.)

(Jacob Floyd) #5

We at the Neos project would like to use discourse for as many of our commenting/discussion needs as possible. (We’re building it at – wow, Discourse is pretty dang fantastic!)

One guy is even starting a plugin for our Neos CMS to use Discourse as the commenting system on our website. After all, it’s easier team members to follow the conversations of they’re all going on in the same place.

But, documentation is my cup of tea. Comments in discourse and on the website are one thing, but I need something slightly different for the docs. I don’t like how the PHP manual has the comment thread at the end of the page, but some of those comments contain vital corrections to the docs (and other comments are downright dated!). I wish I had a way to let people comment on our docs with medium-style contextualized comments/notes. Those, like Google docs comments, are perfect for quick notes about typos, inaccuracies, and broken examples. They are perfect for rewording a sentence while reading the docs without having to stop, open up the right documentation file in our git repo and finally rewrite that sentence.

I don’t want yet another place for comments and feedback to get sucked into a black hole because no one is actively checking for those comments. So, I wonder if there’s a way to integrate discourse as the backend for the medium-style notes (using the js lib on github) in our docs? Perhaps a special sub category would somehow hold all of those comments until resolved/closed…

Please make my documentation system dreams come true… Help me see a way to make this work :slight_smile: