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Now I understand. We have the same problem here. May I suggest the following procedure:
get track of unviewed replies (interesting comments) can write this number at a prominent place (e.g. beside the "Comments" page tab.
Additionally motivate to use the "blocked" status.
I am not really sure how to do this perfectly. But the idea is to assign a task to a person and set the task status to "Blocked". In the homeview and notification-mail establish a prominent block (e.g. with red outline and skulls etc.) called "Your are blocking following tasks": xyz)