Here's another pointer to the Google Group discussion thread about Rethinking the Merc. Rich mentioned earlier; it's worth another shoutout as an example of newspaper employees engaging readers in a dialog, beyond a controlled Q&A.
Click on the most active discussion, comparing the Merc to the L.A. Times. Readers said they want more about the Venezuelan election, which played on Page 2 of The Observer. I bet our audience had similar thoughts.
Another example: The Meck Deck has thoughtful posts about gentrification in my neck of the woods, spinning off Victoria Cherry's story Thursday. I couldn't find her story quickly on our web site (admittedly, big news pushed down old stuff quickly), and I sure couldn't find thoughtful reader comments. The Meck Deck reaction to her story (with a link to the original story) had top billing at Outside.In for Charlotte.
The Meck Deck commenters look familiar, from the old threads at Mary Newsom's blog. Giving them space and reason to talk on our site adds to the value of our place. I hope they come back.