Comment moderation is now off, and so is word verification. Hopefully this will let comment threads develop more quickly and organically.
I only had them in place before to deal with spam, bots, and the odd attention-whoring loser. I can still delete comments and ban individuals, and that ought to be enough.
The catch is that there's no more anonymous commenting. I would've preferred to let folks just write in their name (with or without a URL), but Blogger does not give us that option. The option that includes "name / URL" also includes "totally anonymous," and that's a problem.
Until they change that, comments require you to be signed in to something -- the list is pretty long and easy to meet. If you don't have an account with Google, AOL, WordPress, etc., try setting up a nickname with OpenID.
It'll be better for everyone reading the comments to be able to distinguish who said what within a thread, and across threads. A list of comments all by "anonymous" looks lame and off-putting.
As for mechanics, the "comments" link now sends you to a text box just below the main post, so you can still see it while writing. Now you can preview your comment before publishing if you want. And it also has a "reply" option that the separate comments page did not. It just looks and works better than the separate page that I'd been using since forever.