Online gamer-blog Joystiq has just redesigned. While the design of the new version 2.0 is a shining example of mediocrity, the comment styling is interesting.
Comments with low karma have their text obscured by low contrast, while popular comments have their crisp contrast intact. It’s almost like a comment temperature. This is another approach to combatting useless comments than that of other high-traffic sites such as digg or reddit—sites that both collapse and hide such comments entirely.
Which is more useful? Depends on what you want to do, of course. Digg might save some traffic by only loading crap commentary on demand, but the essence of a discussion on the web is, so unfortunately, chronological and sequential. Burying or even re-ordering comments to show only the good stuff kills any traces of context and dialogue, leaving only the punchline comments. Then again, do anyone ever follow discussions on those sites, anyway?
Is it even possible to create a useful web-based comment system? If so, is it chronological, selective and/or partial?