The second imperative is the functional issues to do with comment composition and presentation, most significantly preview.
Then come HTML tagging capabilities that are standard in such comment facilities and have been for some years. They dont necessarily have to be provided in the now-standard toolbar form, but there is no good reason not to support the standards, and very good technical and operational reasons to do so.
But the overwhelming sense of outrage, for me, derives from the tone-deaf arrogance of the announcement that the changes were all going to be good for us, and the blanket refusal to even acknowledge that this has not been the case, and indeed that Salon has not attempted to ask us what changes we consider would be good for us.
Apropos, Glenn has a current post up on the War on Drugs, in which he argues strongly that people know what is best for them, far better than any centralised bureaucracy can ever do.
I'd really like him to relay that bit of actionable intelligence to Salon's management.