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I can understand why pg sees this as a problem that needs to be solved, but personally I see it as a natural extension of the point / counter-point dynamic, in which the obvious counterarguments or oversights of a particular article are brought to bear in a pithy comment. This doesn't take any great deal of intellectual effort (and is justifiably called a "middlebrow dismissal" ) but I personally am guilty of upvoting many of these comments simply because (particularly on articles which I don't read) I appreciate someone pointing out the obvious deficiencies.

That said, I do think they often take away from detailed and serious discussion of the article, and there may be some problem with the way that they absorb upvotes and end up at the top of the page, but I don't see the general dynamic as particularly troublesome (unless you are trying to produce conformity in opinion among participants, the often problem of benevolent overlords who don't like to see strife amongst their minions).

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