Well put, Shaun. This is exactly the same reason I stay; the few great postings (and posters) outweigh the others.
I originally joined the list back in the Old Days, 1992 I think (my first mailing list actually). And I waguely remember fierce debates about guns, libertarian principles and how to increase the signal to noise ratio. Some things never change :-) But I can also definitely say that being on this list has educated me more than most university courses and introduced me to issues and areas I would never have thought I would one day become interested in. Keep up the great tradition!
I think we should all try to enhance the list. The simplest way is non-action: don't write a posting that doesn't contribute anything, that doesn't increase extropy or just will start needless flames. The second simplest way is to mark the subjects correctly (hmm, harder than simple, actually). Then comes writing well, civility, rational thinking, forming sub-lists, killfiles and whatnot. I think collaborative filtering and similar ideas have merit, but such projects need to be unobtrusive and efficient before people use them well. In the end the only ones that influence the list quality are ourselves.
Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension! firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y