For if/when you do read them again - this piece summed up my own inner debate about comments PERFECTLY.
There is something trained into white men that makes us have this weird urge to comment when we like or dislike something. I'm working to wean myself off it as much as possible because I myself have a hard time reading comments.
I'd say at least 50% are friendly, interesting, helpful, or supportive. And I'm grateful for them - when I read them. In academia, I grew to really appreciate critical comments on my work - the pain made the final product better.
But that doesn't seem to work outside of restricted communities. I'd love Medium to develop a much smarter comment system that can push helpful stuff to the top. The "you didn't write this the way I would" or "I reject all your facts" ones are ever-present and completely useless. Constructive criticism is hard to find and I'd really like @Medium to find a way to get the algorithm to clue in on what it looks like.
In online teaching I've had amazing experiences with a structured commenting/discussion system. Some online forums do it well. Ideally, readers discuss the article among themselves, like students do if it goes right.