Steps that could make more of difference:
- Give people a choice as to whether a reply is to be treated as a comment or as a publication.
- Weigh the comments. A comment has a thumb up and a thumb down. Responding to a comment automatically gives it a thumb up, as well as to it’s parents.
- Limit the depth of comment nesting. Comments more than 3–4 deep are almost always off topic.
- Writers collect karma. Greater karma is collected for top level essays. E.g. a Heart gets you 10 karma + comment karma, a comment gets you 1 karma per upvote.
- Excessive downvotes cost you karma. (Mom said, “Hand out three times as many compliments as critiques”)
- Set up a means to follow a conversation.
- With great karma come great responsibilities. You may be asked to moderate. Look at the Stack Exchange system for ideas.