I sympathise with the busy-ness, one reason why I like threaded discussions with the conversation all in one place, makes it easier to go back and refresh your memory. I know Susie's busy too, which is probably why she's not managed to get here yet.
Moderation is a difficult one to resolve, so much depends on the community, and the best run ones can fall foul of troublemakers at one time or another.
Silent but obvious "moderation" (removal of posts with no justification) is about the stupidest approach I've ever heard of - of course it leads to conspiracy theories - and Hansard were on a hiding to nothing trying to take over afterwards, though I admire them for trying.
You can't pre-moderate every comment, it's an hopeless task on a really busy forum.
You can moderate the starting points for new discussion, but once something's posted up you've got to let people say what they think about it.
A somewhat more effective strategy is to prevent further comments being made in a destructive thread ("No more replies"), which can help to restore order.
In mature systems, the moderator stopping by and posting "[cough] end of thread please" is usually sufficient unless the flamewar's completely out of hand, but only if the moderator is respected by the participants (which means they've previously shown themselves to be even-handed, reasonable, etc).
What Hansard should have done is to create a new area specifically to discuss the whole aspect of Government-Public internet communications, and had someone with authority engage in the debate and answer the points made by people complaining about previous problems.... but then we're back to the unwillingness of Authority to try to justify its decisions in the face of keen questioning.
Better still, they need a system where entire threads can be moved into another area, while preserving the discussion intact for further responses. Or some kind of flexible access control system. Or a clue.
The idea that Hansard offer a fee-based moderation course is amusing to me, in fact the whole idea of outsourcing the moderation of as forum is daft in the extreme - you absolutely must have someone in control who gives a damn about the subject matter under discussion, not just whether someone's managed to construct a message where the first letter of each line read downwards spells out an obscenity!
I remember AOL trying to ban dubious words - it just lead to more inventive attempts to get around the automatic censorship (and had a nice side effect that no-one with an address in Scunthorpe could register an account with them).
(Aside: Paging Dave Crowson - do you still moderate the "TVR Gassing" list? What's your style of moderation like these days? Are you still nuking people from orbit, and how's that alternative list that sprung up in competition doing?)