@Sgt_Kickaxe - So how does it work for really big sites, those that post multiple times per day. Site like NY Mag, which apparently posts every 6 minutes during business hours. Surely those articles can't all be well researched and authoritative. Don't most stories just get warmed over and republished? So is panda secondary to authority? It's... weird.
I definitely agree with you that with social indicators like comments, likes and tweets, you're probably better to not have them if they aren't being used.