I really wondered while reading the wild stories behind the talk system why a "good enough" solution wasn't first created quickly and deployed.
IMO the 20% effort (or much less) that would fix the 80% (or much more) of UI issues would be simply automating the mediawiki markup editing on talk pages! Just add “add new topic” button to the page, “reply” link after each ~~~~ that’ll show up a textarea for your comment and upon submission simply edit the wiki source automatically, adding your comment. New users don’t have to learn all the syntax rules and discussion can proceed quickly and with much smaller amount of editing races. Power users can still just edit the page when it’s needed in the very long tail of uncommon cases.
This could all take days to develop, weeks to push through live beta to full deployment. What am I missing? I guess part of it is that TFA never properly defined what problems are being solved here, so maybe my assumptions about that (UX while adding comments) are wrong.