You know, I don't think that Hubski inclusiveness is an issue. I don't think that it comes off as snobbish or esoteric. The potential for memes and quick laughs are there, it's just that people have other websites for that.
I think though, that what could really make Hubski unique (and partly what makes it dear to me now) is concentrating on the comments. I look at Hubski as kind of a localised, interactive TED talk. And you know what? I love that. I love looking at articles, and then being genuinely interested in everyone on this website's take on it.
I think that, tag-centric vs. user-centric concerns aside, the mods and users should really focus on making this place about the comments. It's probably easy to overlook the potential of this-- I think that, because so many Hubski users come from Reddit (myself included), there is an emphasis on high-quality content. We tend to focus on the links, maybe because Reddit is focused on the links, or because it's easy to compare Hubski to other aggregate sites. But I think that Hubski's power is in conversation-- our take on things. For every link we click, in the comments, I look forward to a wealth of information. The mods could really capitalize on this. Maybe come up with some etiquette-- links, links everywhere backing up your claims. Loose word count standards, as a courtesy. Widespread academic articles which give us perspective on the latest Slate or CNN article. I said this in my last post: examples of 1st tier comments in each profile, rather than links posted. A user-centric, intellectual, comment-oriented, inclusive environment.
I'm with the OP, too. It's evident that they put a lot of work into this place, and care deeply about the community.