Comments get a bad rap, and sometimes that’s fair: they can be unrelentingly awful. But sometimes online comments can make the web better — like when they prompt great conversations, point out great tools, or make something hilarious even better.
Today Cool Websites and Apps, a column that highlights software you’ve probably never heard of, explores five tools that make online comments better. Whether you want to find conversations related to any website or watch real-time Twitch comments for previous broadcasts, we’ve got you covered.
Kiwi (Chrome and Firefox): See Conversations About the Site You’re Looking At
You’re out there exploring random net stuff when you find something amazing. You can’t help but wonder: is anyone else on the web talking about this? Kiwi can help you find out.
This browser extension lets you find discussions about the site you’re looking at. It currently searches Hacker News, Reddit, Product Hunt and Google News – the plan is to add more sites over time. If you want to find a conversation about any site, this browser extension can help.
AlienTube (Chrome, Firefox, Opera): Replace YouTube Comments with Reddit
We’ve gone over ways to improve YouTube comments in the past, mostly by replacing them with unrelated filler content. That’s one solution, but here’s another: replacing YouTube’s comments with Reddit comments about the video.
If multiple subreddits link to a given video you’ll be able to cycle between them; if no subreddit link to it you’ll see the standard YouTube comments. If you think Reddit does a better job at comments than YouTube, give this extension a shot.
Mini YouTube (Chrome): Read YouTube Comments Without Missing the Video
Not everyone hates YouTube comments – some channels have great communities with discussions well worth reading. If you love reading comments but wish you could keep watching the video while doing so, Mini YouTube can help. Scroll beneath the video and this extension will overlay the video over the comments, letting you keep watching as you scroll down.
You can customize where the overlay video sits as well as its size, meaning you can make this work however you like. If comments are a big part of your YouTube experience you need to check this one out.
Uneddit: View Deleted Comments on Reddit
Speaking of Reddit: have you ever seen a deleted comment, with angry responses beneath, that made you…curious? Uneddit is a simple bookmarklet that can show you.
Just click the bookmarklet anytime you see a deleted comment and Uneddit will scan an archive and restore the comment. It’s that simple.
It’s a lesson everyone needs to learn: nothing is deleted on the Internet, ever. Deleting something from a site like Reddit or Twitter doesn’t mean it’s gone forever, so be careful what you post.
Rechat For Twitch (Chrome): “Realtime” Comment Experience Without Watching Live
There are plenty of Twitch streamers worth watching, but you might not always be online while they’re broadcasting. You can catch up with streamers anytime by watching previous broadcasts, but you’ll be missing out on one bit of context: which comments the streamer is reacting to. Rechat for Twitch solves this by syncing archived Twitch comments with previous broadcasts, so you can experience the comments and the video in realtime.
So whether you’re catching up on Technophilia Podcast or any other show, you’ll be able to see the comments that hosts are reacting to.
Comment About Comments in the Comments
Maybe you don’t like comments. We showed you Comment Snob, which filters poorly spelled and other bad comments and Shut Up, which blocks comments entirely, and I’m sure there are other tools out there for avoiding comments altogether.
But should you?
Let’s talk about comments, and what purpose they have on a website. Are they just a place to yell at a given author, or is there something more? Are there any other great tools out there for exploring comments? Let’s talk.