There's been lots of discussion on this blog recently about what to do with offensive comments but not nearly enough about the 99% of comments that are constructive.
In my post about ESORS last week I threw in this at the end:
"I'd love Six Apart to make it simple for me to elevate a comment to a post. So many great comments get wasted behind the front page."
Tom Watson picked up where I left off and ran this great post about elevating comments.
In that post, he mentions my good friend from my teenage years, Tony Alva (that as you must have figured out is a handle). Tony is an interesting case study in blogging. He doesn't have a blog but he must read a bunch of blogs. And he comments often.
His comments are often better than the posts themselves. Tom has never met Tony. I never even mentioned Tony to Tom. I just pointed to Tom's blog one day, Tony clicked thru, and their blog relationship was born.
Now Tom is talking about the quality of Tony's comments and he's right.
So back to my original point which Tom makes in even better terms. The comments are the reason we keep coming back and we read them. We wish there was an easy way to highlight the best ones for our readers in the posts, not on the sidebars.
The problem with Typepad's recent comments feature on the sidebar is that my blog is so full of comment spam that my current recent comments list would be full of ads for horny goat weed (whatever that is), internet strip poker games, and pheromone (whatever that is).
I don't need a list of recent comments, I want to be able to elevate the really good ones with links back to the original posts. That's how to stimulate conversation.