July 3, 2020

Side project: a comments platform for any link on the web

Kenzo @oznek


Enter a link into Metavox and it will create a forum for any and every link you provide it.

This is a side project of mine I built in quarantine:

Not every page of every site can host a commenting interface.

And yet, undoubtedly, people have thoughts about each of those pages.

Metavox gives the people a place to discuss each and everyone of those pages.

  1. 2

    It's a very cool idea.

    People at gab tried doing it (https://www.cnet.com/news/gab-wants-to-add-a-comment-section-to-everything-on-the-internet/).

    I don't know how successful they were; they have a very niche target audience (a lot of people don't want to have anything to do with Gab).

    In any case it would probably be useful to look at the possible hurdles they faced.

    I really think it's necessary for people to be able to write their comments and read other people comments in the actual page they're browsing.

    Without that feature your page will be a normal forum where people can copy paste a link and have other like minded people comment on it.

    Still cool, but is not exactly what one imagines when reading "Comment on any link on the web.".

    1. 1

      Yes, agree, will not have anything to do with Gab.
      Will definitely read into what things they ran into.
      Have to say, part of why I wanted to make this was to approach it without having a Chrome extension. Genius made something very similar to what Gab did, a few years prior, and it also did not work out.
      I think requiring people to have already installed a chrome extension will doom you from the start.

  2. 2

    I absolutely love this. Is so simple I wonder why nobody thought about this before.

    Isn't this how reddit started?

    Several times while reading some article I feel like "reading the comments" to see if someone has a different point of view and most of the times there's no comments.

    And even when there are I don't feel like creating an account just for that.

    I can see this being embedded like Disqus (I hope it doesn't get as slow as them) , themed likes Discourse or there's simple widget like "Comment on Metavox". I think you missed an opportunity to create a link to this very own post at the end of your comment.

    As for the current implementation I think it needs some work on UX/UI, and a bunch of features that will eventually show up.

    1. 1

      That would have been clever, I should have done that!

      A button to link to Metavox is also a very good idea.

  3. 2

    Cool idea! I thought about creating something like this in the past.

    Like with any social tool, the challenge is growth. Specifically, all the value for a user comes from having other people to chat with, rather than from the features you build. That means it's tough to provide value in the beginning, because nobody's using it. It's the empty room problem.

    Got any ideas for how you'll solve it?

  4. 2

    I love the idea, although I'm not sure who would use it and why. Maybe a browser extension would be a fun additional project. Install the metavox extension and see what others are saying about the pages you're on! Could also allow you to bubble up links on websites to the domain (eg I'm on ih.com/post/side-project... and it shows comments for ih.com).

    After dealing with some crappy companies years ago (insurance, ISP, etc), I wanted to build a browser extension to graffiti and comment on websites. Glad I didn't build it, but the urge is there at times 🤣

    1. 2

      You would use it if you had something to say and the native page had no commenting interface 🙃.
      Totally agree about an extension but that requires the hurdle of having all users to install an extension before using it, and would exclude safari etc. But I definitely should build one out at some point! And I love the idea of it showing links under the same domain, that's great.

      The graffiti idea is great!!

      1. 2

        Yeah, sorry, I get the use case, I just thought "when would I be looking at a link and think about how I could comment/discuss it using another website?" If I decided to do that, I'd be doubtful that others would also think to do it.

        And because of that, I thought a browser extension could help. Something that (1) shows me others are actively discussing the page and (2) reminds me to do the same.

        Another way you'd be able to get traction would be with great SEO. Like searching for a product/company and your site showing up high in the results.

        An extension doesn't require or exclude users, it can just give additional tools to the people who can use it. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend building it - it takes a lot of time to build and maintain!

        Links under a domain (or effective search tools) definitely seems useful, esp in the beginning when the results are very sparse.

        1. 2

          Yes, hopefully plan to build out that chrome extension soon.
          And definitely! SEO will be really important.

          My favorite use-case so far in the short amount of time that it's been up, is having a commenting interface/forum for the bitcoin white paper. The one that is widely referenced has no way for people to connect with each other and discuss the ideas of the paper. 🙃

    2. 2

      And another idea: Private groups. Could be a possible paid feature to dream about.

      Imagine a group in a company needs to find some new software. They collect links by using your app, and there's a private list of links, discussion, voting, etc to help them decide. I wouldn't recommend building this, mostly just a fun idea :)

  5. 1

    This is really cool, I like how simple it is.
    By the way...I hit (accidentally) enter twice quickly and it seemed to trigger 2 comment posts. (deleted one after).