Re/code made news this week by eliminating comments on the site, noting that most of the discussion about their articles was happening elsewhere. In the larger scheme of things, “Don’t read the comments” is widely regarded as universally good advice. This makes me more interested in sites with healthy communities of commenters.
As far as I can tell, comments are as good as the people running sites want them to be. If they invest in building a community, healthy comment sections tend to spring up. If not, they don’t. Fred Wilson makes the same argument in Comments Are Dead, Long Live Comments, and of course his site has one of the most active (and generally constructive) comment sections of any blog you’ll read.
I’ve had comments enabled on rc3.org for a long time, but I police them pretty heavily, both for spam and for idiocy. Lately posts don’t get too many comments, probably because I don’t post as much as I’d like. I’ve always been proud of the comments here, though. They make the site better.