I don’t know how much can really be done, I don’t think the issue is the rules or discussions available, but the posters and the quality of their posts. The reality of the situation is the fighting game culture you remember is not the fighting game culture of today.
I think a few things could be done, like, tidying up the stickies and making a FAQ to make sure its crystal clear if your thread should be in FGD or Tech talk. But when it comes down to enforcing or instilling quality in everyone’s posts, it’s pretty difficult. If you just wanted to spice things up, rattle a few cages, you could start infracting people for spelling mistakes. I’m sure the people on the cell phones would love that.
If anything, I think re-evaluating the policy on video embeds and images could help. I have no idea how often the “no smilies, one word or picture replies” rule is enforced, but I see it all the time. I think image macros make people lazy, and do nothing for the discussion. I blame them chiefly for the “4channing” of srk. Like, when was the last time you saw a good flame war? Now its just “LOL ur dumb” and its over. If anything, make image posting a privilege again.
If anything I don’t think its the “super threads” so much as it is the forums themselves dividing people. I mean, counting character specific forums you got like, hundreds? of places to post. And don’t get me wrong, I can see the value of it. But to break down the “general” forum even more seems unnecessarily divisive. I mean, why would somebody ever want to look at a matchmaking thread for a different region? I’m sure it happens, but not everybody is interested in GD, and not everybody is interesting in wrestling or anime… and that is fine, they can co-exist. I don’t think its realistic to expect everyone to care about the broader social aspects. Maybe they just want tips on how to play the game. I think a lot of GD, especially the old cats, they aren’t competitive, and they can’t be bothered to wade through all that information and they’ve made gd their own little island paradise, which is why it has a distinct culture of its own.
I think a lot of it is cyclical. I’m pretty sure there have always been highs and lows of GD.