(Replying here because this topic was auto-bumped today. Revisiting the idea of Discourse powered comment systems has been on my mind for a while.)
It’s interesting that this topic was prompted by changes to Disqus. A recent announcement by Meta that they will start blocking links to Canadian news articles has me wondering about using Discourse as a comment system for Canadian news sites.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the issue between the Canadian government and big tech (Meta and Google at the moment) is resolved, but I’m sure it’s got Canadian news organizations thinking about how reliant they want to be on Facebook. For example, my local paper’s comment system is powered by Facebook Comments. As things stand, their comments system is going to be broken within the next 6 months.
I’m seeing two possible issues with using Discourse as a replacement for Facebook-like comment systems:
The first is that Discourse does an inconsistent job of pulling in external posts when the “Show Full Post” button is clicked on an embedded topic. I’m confident this can be improved though. I’ll fiddle around with it this week and see what I can come up with.
The second issue is that the consensus in this topic seems to be that for a comment system to gain traction, users need to be able to comment directly on the post, without having to visit the Discourse topic. In the Discourse based comment system I’m imagining, the “best” replies would be displayed on the news article, but users would be forced to login (as seamlessly as possible) to the associated Discourse forum to leave a comment. This is both for technical reasons, and because Discourse provides moderation and community building tools that can be used to prevent comment systems from becoming dumpster fires.
Does anyone have thoughts about whether or not this could be made to work, or have any examples of comment systems that function in a similar way? I’m guessing about user behaviour here. Some friction for commenting on an article seems like a good thing, but maybe having to create a Discourse account before leaving a comment would be too much friction.
The stated cause of the issue between the Canadian government and big tech is that tech platforms are making lots of money while news organizations are struggling to get paid for their work. Ideally, a Discourse powered comment system would provide some way for news orgs to generate revenue - either via subscriptions, advertising, or both.