Remember when there were new accounts waiting for approval to comment, and privileged "star" commenters who had the power to approve those newbs into the Jalopnik fold, as well as promoting great comments from folks who weren't yet starred? Remember how Gawker said that was terrible and elitist? Remember how Kinja was supposed to break down all those barriers? Well, it turns out that the past might be coming back to haunt us.

Today for the first time I noticed this at the end of the comment train:

Pending submissions? But Mr. Denton! I thought everyone was an author, and everyone was equal! So I just had to see, and...

...yep, we're back to some kind of comment-promotion system. I can't tell yet whether these are people who aren't approved or just people whose comments haven't been anointed as special somehow. Either way, it looks like a return to something like the old waiting/normal/starred hierarchy, with strangely larger barriers between them.

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If there's good news, it's that, if you're willing to wade through the potential steaming piles of dreck at the back of the comment stream, it seems like everyone can promote comments, which apparently informs Kinja that the comments are now worthy of general display.

Visions of equality are intriguing until they're revealed as elaborate charades.