LW For External Comments?

December 6th, 2019
ideas, tech
There are several blogs which (a) cross-post to LessWrong and (b) have a relatively quiet comment section on their "canonical" sites: Meteuphoric (canonical, LW), Don't Worry About The Vase (canonical, LW), Sideways View (canonical, LW), etc.

In general, I'm much happier to comment on LW, FB, or somewhere else where I already have an account and trust to have a decent notification system. I'll occasionally comment on someone's independent blog, if there's no other option. When I do, however, I usually don't end up seeing replies or other comments, and managing my subscriptions is a pain. This is why I've never built independent comments for my own blog, and have always asked people to comment on other sites.

I'm wondering whether it might make sense for LW to run shared commenting infrastructure for independent blogs that are cross posted to LW. This could look like:

  • Comments on LW show up on the external blog.
  • People can comment on the LW post via the external blog.

This has some similarities to Disqus, but instead of "outsource your comments" it's "join your comment section with the LW comment section".

I already have the first half of this on my blog and am basically content, but it's enough of a pain to set up technically that I don't think others would be interested in its current state. [1] I think the main questions are:

  • How would this affect LW culture? The culture of the independent blogs? Would it build more cohesive discussions with a wider range of perspectives, or would it take LW culture in a different direction than the admins are trying to foster?

  • Would independent bloggers like it? Do they prefer independent comment sections, and full control over their comments? This is always how I've wanted comments to work, but it's possible I'm just weird this way.

  • Would the admins be interested in building/maintaining this sort of feature? I'd be happy to help, as a volunteer, but if this was going to be a real feature and not something I hack together just for myself it needs to be robust, and it shouldn't depend on my continued interest.


[1] If I'm wrong, and you do want to use it, I could potentially pull out the LW-specific code into something stand-alone. Right now it's all glommed together with my code for pulling from FB and Reddit.

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