From your comment in the linked thread:
I’m not quite understanding what the real issue is. As long as the essay is first (which of course it is) and as long as you link to the OP and not farther down, why do you think people don’t read? Discourse only loads the first few replies, so even someone looking at the scroll bar wouldn’t think that they were facing all those replies. I’m not saying there isn’t a problem, I’m just trying to understand why you think people aren’t reading your links.
Discourse does have the summary feature. I’ve used it before, but I don’t know anything about the algorithm it uses. Likes? Not sure.
It’s really hard to moderate these kind of things. Especially when discussion doesn’t clearly fall outside of the ToS.
Are you saying that people don’t even read the original essay? Because I can’t see how having lots of comments (which they couldn’t even see when they go to the page, right?) would prevent them from reading the essay.
As a side note, perhaps if you sent them highlights it might entice them to read more.
The other Discourse based forums I use are more around software development, so they tend not to have essays like this. You could also try posting a question on the Discourse Discourse forum, appropriately named https://meta.discourse.org/. But you will need to explain your use case very clearly.
One option might be to have a website that was something like
blog.suttacentral.net and essays could be re-posted there. Essays can kind of get lost to the universe on a forum.