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Today, we’re launching updates to the Comments Box plugin with new moderation tools as well as features to improve the distribution and quality of comments on your site.
More Social Relevance
The upgraded Comments Box uses social signals to surface the highest quality comments for each user. Comments are ordered to show users the most relevant comments from friends, friends of friends, and the most liked or active discussion threads, while comments marked as spam are hidden from view.
It's not that Google thinks comments are a bad thing, it's that if your site gets an average of 50 comments per article you need to KEEP ON GETTING 50 comments per article just to maintain rankings benefits, imo of course.