You have pretty-much described Slashdot.
They got a real-time chat feature below every story? You know, like IRC: you see whatever others type in real-time flowing from bottom to top, sentence by sentences, as it's typed.
> They got a real-time chat feature below every story?
No, but people who want to follow a hot story will hit refresh. Fundamentally I think it gives the same result.
There's a fundamental conflict between true real-time and upvoting. If you follow the story in real-time, you don't get any benefit from the upvoting. Because of that, I think "near real-time" a-la-Slashdot works best.
(First of all, I should probably have added a couple of sketches to illustrate the idea... mere text can be easily misunderstood...)
> No, but people who want to follow a hot story will
> hit refresh. Fundamentally I think it gives the same result.
I think a real-time chat like IRC, and a comment section like that on Slashdot, are very different, especially in how you would use them and what you might say. A typical comment tends to be a singular, more or less refined paragraph, by a user who may close the window after having written the paragraph. A typical chat remark tends to be a sentence, often unrefined or brainstorming or a mere question, by a user who likely won't close the window after having written it... this, in turn, leads to real-time conversation among a group of participants. (The benefit of comments is that they work asynchronously, that's why it's not an either-or/ "this approach is better than that one"... rather, both have their pros and cons.)
As for the upvoting, yes, you would get benefits. Let's assume a group of 30 chat participants. Smart comments will get a couple of upvotes, troll comments may get flagged. This helps to:
1) determine who might be spamming
2) embold certain remarks with a high number of upvotes in the to-be-archived chat log for people who want to read up on the chat once it's closed, allowing for easy scanning of text
3) to add to the the karma of good members and motivate those to write good stuff.
"Upvoting" not to be confused with "push this upwards"... the chronology would still be the same, from old at the top to new at the bottom (with the bottom always receiving focus, again like IRC). And please note upvoting is not the core of the idea here, it was just a minor sidenote that would help with calculating karma – Topical Chat's core idea is not based on upvotes like Digg or Reddit are.
Hope that somewhat clarifies the idea...