I'm not sure what you are experiencing, but I just returned to Hubski after an absence and it does not seem to have significantly changed. It's still one of the best places for intelligent conversation in a spirit of kindness that I have come across on the web.
That's nice to hear, but I have noticed a general decline in the quality of interactions, and people being good to each other in threads. Oddly, that hasn't been the case in chat, and I have been putting some thought to that. This isn't just my opinion, mind you, a number of people have lamented to me in some form or other about an increase in emotional tenor, carelessness, and combativeness. I don't think our spirit of kindness is gone, but I do think we show less care in how we treat one another in threads. A lot of quality users have inactivated their accounts.
I am not aware of other sites that facilitate mostly intelligent and respectful discussion like Hubski does. I have always thought the site mechanics are largely responsible for that. In all my years of wandering the internet, Hubski stands out as one of the few best places. I get that it's not free to run, but don't underestimate what you have here, and know that some of us would be quite sad to see it go.
I never expect or want Hubski to be a money-maker. I want Hubski to maintain a quality that brings value to intelligent, curious, creative, and thoughtful people. I'm not interested in the social web that thrives on influence, posturing, and insecurity, or a house of debate where participants aren't seeking to change their minds. I believe that few things are intellectually more satisfying than learning something that alters your thinking. I do agree that the mechanics have helped. Outright trolls usually have a short tenure here. However, I do think that what we currently have required an active team to prevent a slide into a place where the most emotional voices can prevail. Whether or not we can engineer for a place that doesn't require such a hands-on effort remains to be seen, IMO.
Sorry if I sounded like I was making a threat to ragequit. I have no plans to shut down Hubski. I am however, resolved to see if we can improve upon what we have, and I'm willing to rock the boat and risk upsetting users in that effort. If we can make a positive change, it will be worth the effort. Users are upset with the status quo, and good users have been quitting for some time. I owe it to them and myself to see if we can do better. I owe it to everyone.