I posted this below, but now in browsing down through deeper replies, I see that the GP's comment is tied to what I suggested about Karma and I'd like to expand on it.
Use Karma to decide starting moderation score. Sure, some people will abuse this by shitposting once in a blue moon because they can, but that will get moderated down. That's really a long tradition here.
I' d forgotten about New York Country Lawyer, but that's a great example of someone who consistently posted amazing stuff, and who should have often started off with a bit higher moderation than he did. It doesn't have to be much either. If most people are browsing at +2, having really high Karma might allow you to post at +3. Then you'd start above the noise.
99% positive moderation? Maybe +4.
If it's easier to lose Karma based off of downmods than it is to gain it through upmods, people will need to regularly post decent comments to stay above the noise. This is going to take some delicate balancing and some trial and error, but it could do wonders for the comments here.
Yes, with one condition. That you don't automate this, and reserve the right to prevent them from showing up.
Because I've been here long enough (refused to sign up and posted AC for years until signing up was sort-of necessary to be visible) to know that we will always have a bunch of stupid yahoos with too much free time on their hands dicking around. Internet posters have a serious quality problem that's fine when you have checks in place (moderation isn't half bad here, e.g.) but which destroy sites when you don't. You can't count on enough 'News for nerds, stuff that matters' people to counteract a bunch of morons with a lot of free time when it comes to what gets posted on the front page.
The firehose is a great asset, but only if you leverage it properly and put some limits and checks on it. You can't rely on us doing that for you.
So I haven't had the time recently to participate as a commenter, but I still skim a bit. This opportunity made me log back in - well done. Check my sig from 2-3 years ago - I've hated what
Consider leveraging Karma much more.
* Karma impacts posting frequency limits and initial comment moderation level upon post
* Gain Karma for upmods, lose for downmods
* Gain Karma for metamoderating and voting on the Firehose
* Lose Karma for moderating
* Sell a little Karma to support the site
* Trade Karma for Ad Views. View to get Karma, spend Karma to not see Ads
As long as you can get 90% of the benefit from participating, nobody will bat an eye at being able to buy 10% more Karma to help support the site. If you go too far into 'pay to say', you'll find a hostile crowd.
Problem was it greated more work without benefit.
Of course it did! It's a major infrastructure change! It's not like we were "upgrading the internet" to make it run faster. The entire issue was that our current addressing infrastructure was inadequate. It's like saying, "this road doesn't go to the housing development that they're building up the road - we should make it longer", then complaining that the existing drivers didn't see any benefit. Everyone on the internet right now is fine - it's everyone who's not that this will benefit. So of course it's work without benefit for those of us here now!
An engineer is someone who does list processing in FORTRAN.