Well thought comments are often ignored and not read ( not up/downvoted, just ignored )
You cannot tell if they were read or not. Exhorting users to use their 'mod points' is a challenge (yes its a slashdot reference). The community is larger and only the opinionated seem to vote.
Stardom: No matter what they post some ""famous"" people around here get their post on the front page. By courtesy I won't list who they are but everybody can spot it pretty easily. I'm very disappointed by this attitude personally, and it doesn't speak highly of a place that is supposed to be almost a pure meritocracy.
Except it isn't a meritocracy is it. Its a place for Y-combinator folks to share links they are interested in. Both current and past members of YC have a few more options than available than folks who just happened by here. One of those is that YC launches always make the front page.
Fads/ Jealousy: A lot of people here want to be rich and famous thus it creates tension. It allows me to come back to your point: these people are likely going to dismiss your ideas based on jealousy.
I've heard this a number of times but I'm not sure I buy it. Some people are angry at themselves because they haven't launched and they lash out at those who have in attempt to position their own failure better. Constructive criticism takes time, a jab takes only a few seconds. So you're looking also at a time penalty.
Over-repetition of some stories ad nauseum: dumb benchmarks to see the number of req/s, analysis App.net, Education sucks...
Well given the way the karma system works this would seem to be a reflection of what is important to the community at large vs perhaps some individuals. There are a couple of great add-ons that knock out stories about things you don't care about (I believe Bitcoin was the motivation but could easily be wrong about that).
news.YC is biased and will always be biased towards YC-oriented stories, which means it will never be as good as it could be. The status quo doesn't mean that news.YC isn't any good - it's just suspect and you have to filter everything through that lens - the story rankings, comments, and job posts are not ordered by merit, there is a sub-filter in place.
I hope there is eventually a start-up news site that isn't architected and gardened to benefit a small group above all else.
Disclaimer: I was a YC reject, and you can chalk it all up as sour grapes if you like.
For example if there are 6 comments on display at anyone time and they are on display (without scrolling away) for 2 minutes, one might arrive at a probability of how much of that page was read, and how much time was equally spent on previous/subsequent parts of the page.
Especially when factors like, people tend to scroll text to be at the top of the screen to read it, or like me, highlight text I am currently reading with the mouse. Using these factors, we might be able to know what is/isn't read...
before improving something, try to measure it first!