I really like the way that the New York Times has a “comments of the moment” section high up in the sidebar on their blogs. It looks like this:
Lending high-profile exposure to good comments is one great “carrot” method of hosting a good comment section. Leading by example and rewarding good behavior are powerful, Pavlovian methods, and it proves that you’re taking community input seriously.
I know, I know, you “don’t have the resources.” Remember, you’re in startup mode. Time to invest.