While the whole +1 dynamic of various sites can be banal, I've also found it occasionally useful.
A very small handful of posts of mine have not so much lit-up a groundswell as caught a ride on one. Often ones I've kicked out without a whole lot of thought.
Aside: it also makes the metaphor of "surfing the Web" a two-way street. Yes, readers do that, but so do writers, and finding something that does take off is ... distinctly interesting.
At reddit, what Adam Smith had to say about wages and labor in 1776, WalMart's transfer of taxpayer wealth to cover for its underpayment of its workforce, and an observation on how Pope Francis's call for wealth redistribution compare with earlier popes. I turned each of these into a proper post.
At G+, "Dear Googles: Stop Asking", which lead to three simultaneous top stories at Hacker News, two of them directly based on my posts.
At HN, "A few bits I've noticed over 25+ years in the industry:" scored 93 upvotes, the most ever (even beating out "Unnecessary jabs at PHP are in fact part of the HTML5 draft standard." nearly fourfold).
Most recently, a throwaway comment on G+ that I figured should be its own post, "First they cavity-searched the Nobel prize winners" was struck from an early draft of Martin Niemöller's essay.".
Yes, moderation systems are hard and bad moderation systems suck. But that doesn't mean that all such systems are worthless. And some way of signalling that you are in fact on the wave rather than under it or simply in a becalmed sea can be useful. Sturgeon's Law is a bitch at Web scale.
I'm quite curious to see what Ello develops along these lines.