I was thinking that one could indentify a usefull post or hot topic at a glance at no. of thanks, sort of ranking like in stack overflow or for example maemo.talk.org... just a thought for Santa, would add some info on the popularity of a topic or post..
...this thought has been tossed around in the community a couple of times - I think it would be useful as well (and there are a couple of suggestion/requests in the 'suggestions and new features' forum). Perhaps there could be a 4th ordering button (next to "flat/hierarchical/combination" buttons we have today) that allows you to order it based on message rank (number of +1's / -1's). This assumes we would need to turn on rating again...