Hey, Medium, Am I Missing Something?

To me, and to a lot of other people, “responses” have always looked a lot like what we used to call “comments.” A few months ago, Ev Williams wrote a post (in response to something else) entitled “Responses are not free-for-all comments.” His point was that responses only show at the bottom of a post if they are recommended by the author of the initial post or by someone you follow. To which I responded, “At the end of the day, though, it’s functionally largely equivalent to a moderated comment system.” Which it was.

Recently I wrote a moderately popular post about how to think about the cost of a health care program. I looked at it this evening and noticed this at the bottom:

I clicked on the button, and what did I see? An unmoderated comment system, with all the usual comments you get when you say something supportive of national health insurance on the Internet.

So now we have an unmoderated, threaded comment system, with comments sorted by recommendations, plus the ability for the author to promote certain comments to the top of the list. That’s the best thing that the most innovative people in web publishing could come up with? Seriously, am I missing something? I’m not saying it’s terrible, but if it’s just a comment system, let’s call a spade a spade.