I see no reason why serious discussion can't coexist with funny — just not on the same page. For the funny guys, let the serious discussion of sports news and media be a click away. For the wonks, let them choose to join the one-liner party, rather than having it forced on them.
We're trying to display one conversation in its entirety on the post page. By default, it's the conversation the author wants to have with readers.
It should be way easier for you to find the people you usually talk to here, and way easier to refine a conversation down to the people you like hearing from.
Yes, the default discussion on an article page is that between the author and people the author responds too, and people they talk to. It spans two degrees of separation, but it is centered on the author.
It just seems like so many of these are about limiting the conversation, not expanding it. And because of that, it seems like there is a high potential for the development of cliques based around post authors.