I'm terribly sorry. Having a fresh high-quality review of a highly anticipated product was a wonderful chance to win back eyeballs and help keep the lights on, and then the site swap snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
The old site really seemed superior in every single way, especially information density and distinctiveness. Were the site to stay this new way, I can't imagine renewing my gold subscription, and I'd probably gradually quit visiting here.
Besides fixing the utterly abysmal information density, getting comments right has to be a priority. Frankly, if TR's article comments were as badly done as Anandtech's or many other sites', whatever community ever formed here would have evaporated long ago as soon as review content started to thin out.
- Allowing people to see the conversation develop at a glance and see where they have something to say is vital. At least you aren't putting only a few comments to a page like AT etc.
- Default threaded reverse chronological sorting - not by the time the thread began but by most recent reply - keeps active conversations afloat rather than buried.
- Showing the score, username, and first line of each reply, then expanding to the full reply on click, allows you to have more of the conversation in view without being overwhelmed.
- The old site had fairly minimal threading indentation, and then I think it did something so if you clicked on a threaded comment which was too far off to the right it displayed it further left. The new site easily runs into
where comments which are a few levels into the threading get wrapped along the right hand side at only a few characters wide.
- You need a user login for the comments rather than asking for 'name, email, website.' Otherwise you end up with any random dude posting as 'Colton Westrate.'
- Plus, asking people for their website and then linking their name to that website is a recipe for trouble (all the way from the mild distraction entailed up to spam/porn/illegal sites discovering they can simply flood your comment section and be credited by search engines for getting linked from TR).
- I don't want to see avatars in article comments. Period. It's not only a total waste of space in this very space constrained area (especially useless when many people won't bother replacing the dumb silhouette), it's also a way of ruining the level playing field.
- Allowing comment editing obviously depends on logins.
- Having the net score for each post rather than its total upthumbs and downthumbs was nice; that helped subtly nudge conversations towards quality rather than controversy without heavy-handed intervention. (Showing a post to have a net zero score doesn't stoke the commenter's ego or fire up their defensiveness the way displaying 50 upthumbs and 50 downthumbs does.)
- Past comments are borken. Tags don't work (look at any old page and see the broken url= and b../b etc), thumbs aren't there, etc.
All in all, if there's any way at all to go back to the old site, I'd encourage that. If not, since I can't see a single way in which the new site improves on the old, trying to replicate the old site in your new cms seems the way to go.