3. A more web 2.0 version of moderation - allow all logged in users to rank individual comments with an up rating or a down rating. Then instead of just using the number of posts when assigning levels to users, the quality of the particular posts should be taken into account. If you want to gain levels, you not only need to comment frequently but also have something useful to day.
I've gotta say that I'm not much of a fan of this idea. I've seen it practically destroy the Brews&Views board by people using it vindictively.
There are many ways to curb the trolls while still implementing something similar:
1. "super" moderators and flag accounts that shouldn't be allowed to participate in the up/down voting
2. a user has to spend their own rep points or ranking points to down vote someone
3. a single user can only vote n times is a given 24 hour period to prevent run away posting
4. a user needs to be active for some period of time before getting the ability to vote on topics
You could also make this be the golden feature for paid AHA members. Those of us willing to part with some cash to run a message board or the AHA operations are less likely to abuse the voting privileges. You'd gain a lot of moderators with some limited power, stiff through the noise faster and those with high ranks would truly be contributing to the community.