I think comments are an important part of web. What is said there is as important as the actual post. But, comments are broken, horribly. I think they work well in sites with less traffic. But, for more mainstream sites, they are useless. I have few specific gripes with the current systems.
Why can’t site push to top or highlight the comments made by OP, my friends, and people who I have subscribed to on Facebook or follow on Twitter. I will be more interested in what they have to say.
Give some method for the OP to highlight those threads which he finds more interesting.
Also, pingbacks should work much better. Instead of just showing me a link, show me a snippet of the post. How am I supposed to know what to make out of it?
No matter how good the tools get, comments will always depend on what kind of environment and level of debate people keep up on their sites. Fred Wilson’s AVC .com has the best comment network as far as I have seen.
I have primarily used Disqus and Facebook comments and the comment system used by Wordpress, Tumblr etc. I am not aware of what Echo and IntenseDebate are up to.
Disqus is coming up with what they say is a new version of their product called Disqus 2012. Hope it fulfills few of the things on my list.
Photo Credit: flickr/missmiah