I'd love to click "follow" next to that comment. Then I want my view on hacker news to be heavily weighted by the mods from the people I follow (you could make it a mod on the normal ranking, like a reordering of the top stories). A friend comment view would be even more useful - like the thread view for any user, but collected among friends. A synopsis view of the comments without the full thread and only the first 200 chars of the comment would be easy to digest.
Generally I think the solution to making HN not suck is to let me ignore completely the parts that suck.