I have a few thoughts.
I see a distinct difference between the widget areas primary, secondary, subsidiary and the other areas like <Single/Page/Index> Top,<Single/Page/Index> Insert, <Single/Page/Index> Bottom.
There is an inherent page-visibility logic in second set of widget (is_single, is_page, is_home) Where as there is no such logic for primary, secondary, subsidiary.
I think we should consider new widget areas like content-top, content-insert and content-bottom and leave the page-logic to be implemented by the webmaster. They may use widget logic plugin, widget context plugin, TS custom widgets plugin or keep the logic in the child-theme files. But thematic should allow widget areas for all the "action" hooks. I understand that the <insert> kind of widget areas will require some specific template support so that the <insert> widgets are called at the appropriate place but I think we should have only one consistent "kind" of widgets. In my opinion, we should have widgets free from any "page visibility" logic, they should be based purely on the position they occur in the thematic structure. The kind of widget areas we could have
thematic_aboveheader (could be useful for small menus like login/logout)
thematic_belowheader (could be useful for stuff like breadcrumbs)
thematic_contenttop (not index-top, or page-top, or single-top)
thematic_contentinsert (not index-insert, or page-insert, or single-insert)
thematic_contentbottom (not index-bottom, or page-bottom, or single-bottom)
(we already have primary)
(we already have secondary)
thematic_abovefooter (could be used to add some widget content that would span the entire width of the page )
(we already have subsidiary)
How does that idea sound?
In other words, let thematic give a visual way to add content to filters rather than a code way. I know there could be performance issues. Also if I need small change or add just a small piece of content, it may be more appropriate to just hook into that action hook. But I think wordpress is meant for non-techies and if we give widgets to all action hooks, it is that much easier for non-techies to utilise those hooks.
Rather than just suggest this idea, I tried to implement it. I tried to deregister the current widget-areas but that did not happen. I tried to look up code ( I am using thematic.0.9.5.1 ) What am I missing?
e.g I was able to add a widgetised area for "Below Header" hook and I have put a Breadcrumb widget there. But I am not able to disable say "Page-top". Any ideas? May be I am not using the latest version?