@Moff Hi there! Moderator at the Times, and also sometimes (once) Awl writer. Speaking solely for myself: I'm not currently involved with this project, but I am confident the people who are involved know a good comment system does not in and of itself make a good community. But user un-friendly systems are part of what discourages writers from interacting with commenters. For what that's worth!
Speaking of formulas, could we stop strawman linking? I mean, I assume we don't actually care what Politico thinks about explainer sites.
Awesome! Could the link at the bottom of the excerpt go to the corresponding point in the site?
Allow me to play devil's advocate against myself, since I don't think this is going to get a lot of comments: Do we really have to have public distribution systems in place to properly fund creative and intellectual work? Why can't we just give the NEA like 10 billion dollars, instead of a hundred million, to distribute to small presses, ProPublica, etc?
This idea appeals to me, because it seems maybe possible in the distant future, as opposed to a direct funding scenario, which seems like science fiction.
But for there to be a strong voice for content that is not garbage, it probably needs to be unified. People only want meaningful content as an occasional side dish, and if the money was spread to hundreds of different organizations, the visibility will not be enough in the face of giant corporations giving people what they want, which is garbage.