Let me make sure I understand.
*You believe suggesting posting limits resulted in less posts because
people were afraid of the post limits
*This makes you feel doubt about the health of the mailing list
*The count of posts is low year-over-year for the last few years
*This is indicative of community health
*You feel the content of the list is low on substantive conversation
*You would like feedback on these ideas.
Correlation does not equal causation, so I think it’s not as clear (or
black and white) as I interpret your writing on why we've seen less
participation. Nor do I find any lack of quality in the conversations
that do happen here.
Of course, who's to say that those past years and corresponding
numbers are indicative of a healthy community? :) I remember this
mailing list to have a great number more posts in early 2016, but many
remember that period of time as not such a healthy time for the
movement. If the goal is more posts at the cost of more drama - I'll
take a hard pass.
Do you feel that the mailing list content is less healthy or perhaps
just less noisy? Noisy in the sense of distractions. You mention
criticism and thoughtful conversation. Is it possible that is
happening in other more friendly (technologically accessible and
civil) venues? Perhaps one where familiar usernames are not given such
court to create more distraction?
As for the usefulness of this mailing list I can only speak for
myself. I work remotely. I have conditioned into me from previous
experiences not to send frivolous single-sentence replies. However in
my experience within the movement, these sort of of “hey I acknowledge
you exist, saw your message, but have nothing to add” messages are
helpful for remaining connected to colleagues who are physically
distant, but frequently encountered (and sometimes sadly not) in
online spaces. It’s part of the reason I find the Thanks extension
helpful on-wiki. So that is to say, this is a hearty +1 to the current
state of things. In my opinion, I'm fine. We're fine.
I hope this is a somewhat thoughtful observation and not too spammy. :)