Recently while reading a long topic on Discourse with many posts, I came across the “Summarize this Topic” button. I initially thought that this button would allow me to write a summary of the topic which others could read. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the button instead allowed me to view a condensed version of the discussion with some posts hidden.
That got me thinking though: what if Discourse allowed users to create community-editable summaries of long, popular threads? This would be useful in all sorts of situations, such as:
- Product support questions: add answer / progress in finding answer
- Long discussions on feature proposals: document community consensus, and the current point the discussion is at
- Any sort of long-running discussion where it’s difficult for a new participant to understand the discussion without reading everything
The existing “summarize this topic” button is helpful in those situations to some degree, but it still requires a lot of reading and can’t sum things up nearly as well as a human might be able to.
To be clear, I’m not advocating for replacing the “Summarize this Topic” button; this suggestion is for an additional feature, not a replacement.
What do you think? Good idea? Or not worth the effort?