The comment sections of online news platforms have shaped the way in which people express their opinion online. However, due to the overwhelming number of comments no in-depth discussions emerge. To foster more interactive and engaging discussions, we present our ComEx system for the exploration of reader comments on online news platforms. Central to this system is that potential discussion participants get a quick overview and are not discouraged by an abundance of comments.
To this end, our processing pipeline fetches comments from seven different platforms and analyzes them with regard to topics, controversiality, toxicity, and engagement. The user interface visualizes the comments as nodes in a graph, where they can be merged or filtered for a simplified view. The edges between comments reveal not only topical similarity but also the most actively discussed threads and other metadata. By interacting with the graph, users can explore and react to single comments or entire threads they are interested in.