Kullish: BYOL Comment Aggregation
Bring your own links, because you can curate better than outrage algorithms
Kullish searches the web for current and historical discussions about webpage links and presents a single feed of all user comments and threaded discussions in reverse-chronological order.
All of It (or, Kullish)
“Kullish” is a Dari word (کلش) meaning “all of it”, so it should not be surprising to hear that Kullish aims to expose users to the greatest breadth of comments from multiple sources in a single aggregated comment feed.
There are two main reasons for this approach; first, to avoid actively going to multiple sites to read comments on the same link, and second, to allow us to look past our social media bubbles and echo chambers by default. More on this second point below.
A Minimalist Approach to Comment Aggregation
There have been a few attempts at comment aggregation over the years, but they have mostly been focused around heavy browser extensions that are hungry for screen real-estate and consequently, have not been able to provide a compelling mobile experience.
Kullish at its core strives to be unobtrusive to use on both desktop and mobile browsers, requiring nothing more than a right click (Firefox, Chrome) or a share action on whatever you are reading to provide an aggregated feed of comments in a simple and familiar user interface.
Bring Your Own Links
As social link aggregators have become more and more brazen in their attempts to generate anger and outrage to maximise metrics like “engagement” and sell our captured attention to the highest bidder, a growing number of people have been turning their attention to curating their own RSS feeds.
Notado is built with a “content-first” approach to online bookmarking which opens the path to bookmarking and organising commentary and user discussion alongside traditionally published web content. So it was only natural that the commentary-shaped hole became the most eye-catching element when looking at the growing interest in a return to personal RSS feed curation.
Bubbles and Echo Chambers
There have been attempts in recent years to create online publications to provide impartial coverage of current events, showcasing reporting from “both sides” to give viewers and readers exposure to views and opinions from outside of their own socio-economic bubbles.
A significant challenge that these efforts come up against is the difficulty in changing entrenched browsing and reading behaviour, and of course the added overhead of manually writing, editing, publishing and curating content that people will likely still accuse of being “too biased” in the end anyway.
Kullish takes a different approach to increasing exposure to views outside of our bubbles and echo chambers; hooking into existing behaviours with a recognisable and familiar user experience on both desktop and mobile platforms, and augmenting the comments that we usually read with the comments that we are usually isolated from.
At this point you might be wondering, what exactly does “looking past our bubbles and echo chambers by default” look like in practice with Kullish? Here are two examples:
This is a blog post comparing two programming languages that made the rounds recently. Kullish aggregated comments from the language-specific subreddits, the more general programming subreddit, the public Hacker News forum and the invite-only Lobsters forum, surfacing a number of interesting discussions from seasoned users of both languages as well as newcomers and outsiders.
This first example is probably not what comes to mind for most people when talking about looking past echo chambers, however it demonstrates nicely how the value added by Kullish when trying to step out of our bubbles is not just limited to lightning-rod topics like politics and religion, but also extends to comparatively niche topics that inspire passionate and knowledgable communities.
This is probably more the sort of article most people have in mind when thinking about echo chambers on the internet.
These lightning-rod topics tend to be commented on everywhere from default subreddits like r/worldnews to increasingly smaller and more focused communities on any side of the political and cultural spectrum imaginable.
Given the prevalence that default subreddits are given and their tendency to attract and amplify low-quality comments, it is easy for smaller, focused communities producing higher quality discussions to get drowned out, or never even discovered at all by the vast majority of people.
In these instances, Kullish can simultaneously provide exposure to opinions from ourside of our regular bubbles and also improve the discoverability of more intimate communities of users whose points of view align more closely with our own.
Upvoting, downvoting, liking and disliking are the most recognisable mechanisms used for filtering user comments on the internet. These often serve to reinforce bubbles and echo chambers as they are ultimately a reflection of the demographics of any given user or subscriber base at any given time.
Given that Kullish aggregates and displays comments in a bubble-agnostic format by default, the primary mechanism for filtering user comments needs to be similarly bubble-agnostic.
A natural filter in online discussions for low-quality comments is the reply; most of the time (though definitely not all of the time), higher quality comments will generate more replies and discussions. This is the primary filtering mechanism provided by Kullish: filtering for discussions.
Sources and Updates
Kullish currently searches for comments and discussions on Hacker News, Reddit, Lobsters and Substack (including blogs hosted on custom domains), and comments for links get updated relative to the popularity of the link on the day.
Comments for the most popular links can be updated every 30 minutes, and the maximum time before any link can be updated is 4 hours. If you want to know the exact time for a specific link, you can check the
Update-After header returned with the link's search results page.
Saving Comments for Later Reference
As you might expect, any comment shown on Kullish can be saved to Notado with either a right click in a desktop browser or a share action on either Android or iOS. Saving your comments to Notado gives you a lot of great possibilities for automating your organisation of saved notes and highlights from across the web, as well a simple way to generate Quotebacks for your blog posts if you are a writer.
This is great if you’re a Notado user, but what if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use Notado, but you still want an easy way to save interesting comments for later reference?
Even if you have a programming background, working with the comment APIs for sites like Reddit is not so simple. This is why every comment on Kullish comes with a “Save this comment” link which gives you the comment as a predictable JSON object without jumping through any hoops.
This link contains the author of the comment, the HTML content of the comment, the time that the comment was made, a permanent link back to the original comment, the title of the link the comment was made on, and the name of the website that the comment was originally made on.
With this data, anyone can can save comments however they see fit, whether it’s using an iOS Shortcut, a script, a custom browser extension, or anything else. If you need any help with this, you can always ask on Discord.