The Times will invite any reader whose comments are consistently approved over a certain time period to become a “trusted commenter,” whose future comments go public immediately. Everyone else’s comments will be held for review by a Times moderator, as they are now.
That sounds like a great move and I fully understand why people comment. What I don’t understand is who reads these comments and what they expect to gain from reading the comments.
Does seeing a “trusted” commenter make a reader more likely to read the comments of that person? Doubtful.
I still just see comments as a way for writers to allow “discussion” without ever having to pay attention to that discussion.