Carving the Steem reward pool into use-specific segments, as the comment reward pool does, limits the scope of Steem. Steem is more than Steemit. It's more than a blogging platform. It's more than a Reddit-like platform. Leaving it a blank canvas is in the interest of keeping it simple and goes along with a long-term view of its potential.
A long time ago, it was decided by Dan that Steem was a long-form blogging platform and that more than four posts per day would be monetarily penalized. Because who has time to write more than four long-winded posts about tacos per day, right? The effect this had is unnecessarily reducing the scope of Steem as an open platform. It discouraged many use-cases for users and applications. Dan and the Steemit team realized this error and decided to remove the four-posts-per-day penalty in hard fork 17.
But at the same time, the same error has been repeated in a different form: in carving up the reward pool into two segments. The proposal creates a separate comment pool from 38% of the total reward pool, leaving 62% for top-level posts which are also technically treated as comments by the Steem network software. The 38% number has never been rational or rationalized, it was what Dan liked. The goal is rational: give more incentive potential to comments to increase user participation, engagement, and retention. The implementation of a separate comment pool, however, is short-sighted.
It sets a bad precedent of arbitrary reward pool segmentation. Currently, one pool is allocated according to the votes of stakeholding accounts in Steem. If you make it two, three, four, etc, the stake-holding accounts either have to participate or abstain in those pools. For those who don't want to abstain from participation, it in effect increases workload which will lead to more automation (bot votes on comments). Abstention on account of that increased workload represents disenfranchisement. Neither are good outcomes.
You might say "Let's just give it a try anyway, it's ready to go, just drop all objection to it." I'd like to point out that once a feature is in, it's harder to remove. The four-posts-per-day penalty was first implemented in a hard fork on July 26th, 2016 and it's still in effect today. I want to see it removed as well as many others, but it presently comes bundled with a bigger mistake. In another example of stickiness of a bad feature in the Steemiverse is the concept of flagging. "Flag" as used on every other website is misused on steemit.com to represent a Steem downvote. Despite a lot of discussion and agreement that it's not a good concept to apply to downvotes, steemit.com still displays the downvote action icon as a flag, and calls it a flag. If the mistake of a separate comment pool were implemented, there's no guarantee it would be fixed despite plenty of reasons to do so.
The best way to go forward is to make the minimal necessary modifications to hard fork 17, most importantly not carving up the reward pool into a 38/62 split. I believe that implementation of a less-superlinear reward curve is perfectly in line with the goal of increasing user participation, engagement, and retention. And better, it's a simpler change which does not limit the scope of Steem.
Photo by Andrew K, cropped. Posted via Busy.org