Thanks all. After pulling the latest version from git and upgrading the plugin (now v 0.1.19) I still get a warning about
warn: [plugins/nodebb-plugin-blog-comments] Hook method mismatch: filter:server.create_routes => addRoute
but it seems to restart properly. I'll let you know how the attempt to use the plugin goes.
It sounds like I would have been better off installing the 0.3.2 branch and the versions of the plugins that are known to work with that branch. I know it's still early days with the software but for those of us who are interested in kicking the tires, it'd be great if the "dummies" instructions led me to a stable version with working plugins, and then described the "edge" instructions setting expectations appropriately. [Yeah, yeah, I know, easy to say ]