I don't disagree with anything that you've said. I fact I have been concerned about the state of the site and especially the forum for the past couple of years.
Design wise, an overhaul of the LL site and forum is greatly overdue. Being in the creative fields we all know that self review, changing up approaches, responding to new trends in the marketplace are always needed. Even those with the most unique visions have had to change up. So the news about the site on that point is very good to hear.
But I am afraid there is more that has changed over time than just the need for a revitalized structure. I have been in this business, photography, for more than thirty years (now semi-retired-not by choice I might add) and have participated in many trade groups, organizations and forums, including this one for years. What they all end up being degraded by is the inevitable bickering and personal attacks which tends drive some of the more talented and experienced members and deter the entry of younger more fragile newbies. I have seen some of the finest shooters on these site/groups attacked because they take "just pictures of pretty woman" or of "just rocks" or they use this camera or that. I have seen forum members who had immense production skills - which if you are really in this business are extremely important - decried for talking of extensive budgets or equipment logistics. I have seen some very very proficient software pioneers who have participated in this forum (and still do thank God)being attacked for the silliest of things. I have seen members whose language is not English contribute the best they can and being pedantically corrected on form not substance. Even though these sites are somewhat "verbal exchanges" they require writing skills in which sometimes sarcasm does not translate well, especially from culture to culture language to language resulting in many a bruise.
I have gained the most incalculable growth and knowledge from many of the members of these forum both experts and amateurs. One of the most joyous aspects of being in photography is you never stop learning, there is always some insight, some technique some mindset which opens up a whole new way of "seeing" something or of better understanding. Photography has always involved a certain level of technical skill as well as aesthetic approach. I think that is one of the addictive things about it - it requires many different abilities. There is also a sliding scale of required talent - I have seen some who can't mount a lens on a camera who can take the most wondrous pictures. On the other end I have worked with those that can grind their own lens, make their own film and yet can't shoot worth squat. They have all had something to offer even though many of them have egos which in a creative situation you are always going to deal with both positive and negative.
Many of these very capable people have been driven away by various situations.
I have grieved the loss of these members" because it has denied me the joy of learning from them, listening to their stories and feel their absence tugging down the level of discussion.
On a stimulating active site, with many participants, it is impossible to monitor everything.
We will always have the contributors who want to know what F/stop you shot that at and were you holding it in your left hand or right and was that a Billingsley bag you were carrying. We always have the over anxious new comer wanting to show their latest creations good bad or indifferent We will always have some one of one philosophical or fundamentalist bend - whether it be of chemistry, physics, or theosophy. We will always have people who work in different markets and niches with different values.
How one handles/moderates such sites/members is one of the most confounding management questions imaginable. It killed the Galbraith Site - it has devalued others.
Entering into a site like this is entering to a community.We all come here for a need or a reason. Whether it is to determine how to do something, sell something, share something, promote something. Anyone who creates a site does it for a need or a reason. A person may not even be aware of the real reason one starts a site or participates in one. Anyone who takes on creating a site like this one is taking on a momentous if maybe impossible task. I do not know nor have ever met M. Reichmann. I think he does an admirable job.
Whatever be the future of this site I hope that the ability to maintain the participation of experienced voices and the encouragement of new voices is the goal and focus.