After some research I have decided to upgrade the Wordpress built in comment system with an outside option called Disqus that seems to have quite a bit more functionality as well as options for me and the commenter.
For the commenter, you can:
- track and edit all your comments across all sites using Disqus (are you listening South Dakota blogosphere?)
- Reply to comments via email and cell phone
- Earn reputation with built in reputation system that stays with you on every site using Disqus (30,000 sites and growing)
- Start your own comment blog that collects and shows off your commenting prowess
For me Disqus promises:
- Threaded comments
- Comment ratings
- Strong comment spam and troll filters
- Email and phone moderation
Installation on Wordpress was a breeze requiring only the installation of a standard plugin and they also have support for most other blogging platforms including Blogger and Typepad. Finally you can easily import all your old comments so upgrading didn't result in losing anything.
I'm going to put it through it's paces for awhile so feel free to let me know what you think.