First, let me congratulate the development team on a great product. I don't blog myself, but do play around with WP just to learn.
I do visit blogs, however, and I'd like to make a few comments about user levels and comments.
Based on playing with 1.2, here's my current understanding:
anyone can comment on a blog post.
any registered user can post on the blog.
So it appears that the philosophy of WP is that registering is for bloggers, not members of the community.
Given the problems many bloggers face with trolls, name-stealing and spam, is there any thought to extending this philosophy a bit?
Offering a "registered users only" comment option could eliminate name-stealing on comments, and make life a little harder on trolls.
Offering the option of comments moderation on a per-user basis could force trolls to work harder to screw up a blog.
There are other possibilities as well, but all of these imply a change in the view of registered users, and some change to the definition of user levels.
I could see something like the following:
unregistered - can comment on posts if allowed by admin.
0 - new member. Can comment on posts if allowed by admin.
1 - approved member. Can comment on posts, comments may be moderated.
Levels 2-9 could be for bloggers themselves, as they are today.
Would this sort of change fit in the vision of WP? With all the work that has gone into the backend of WP, these small front-end changes could really set WP apart for true blog communities. If the blogger wanted a wide-open world, it could still be so; but for sites where trolls and spam are a problem, it could make a big difference.
I would be happy to help with the development.
(didn't see where to register for this forum, will post contact details if the idea interests the team)