sublime1 - 4:34 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
Several good systems have arisen for floating the more useful comments to the top (helpful, relevant, etc.). The biggest issue is that you have to read through sometimes hundreds of posts to get at the nuggets of gold that make the site great.
While I hate the UI of Slashdot, the idea that threads are allowed to splinter is a more natural approach to the problem. news.ycombinator.com has a nice interface that seems to encourage useful and immediate feedback.
The "bump" strategy of getting a post noticed is terrible -- maybe people should be able to spend a little "karma" points to get more attention on questions that are more important?
I do think there's an old guard here, many the forum mods, and while responses are often useful, there is a bit of a superior attitude at times. I wish people could be more civil, but then again, having been a CompuServe SYSOP for several forums, and done a lot of USENET, we're more evolved ... but need to take the next step. People should need to earn karma, for sure, but maybe it's earned in a specific area of expertise -- I am a ninja at Apache rewrite rules, so when people respond to a well-written questions like I am a newby, I bristle.
But if I am just learning PHP, for example or no nothing about Bing, I expect to be treated like a newb. Maybe one should self-categorize your degree of knowledge. In either case, respect is important -- snarky, dismissive responses from anyone (even a mod) should result in loss of status; good, well written, thoughtful questions, or revealing topics or answers should be rewarded.
Another thought: when a post is a question, it should result in an answer, eventually, if possible. Votes by readers as to which the best answer are work well. I am forgetting the site that does this so well at the moment. Not a fancy Q&A site, just a direct question, people respond, best answer gets voted to the top, and we're all happy.
But above all, WebmasterWorld continues to be a great place to find answers to a broad array of questions on many topics. We're all used to how BBS/Forum stuff works, and you shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.