Oh nice! I've been on 9san before (can't remember how I got there).
I think what I'll do is start looking into a lot of the protocol improvements you've recommended, and upgrade to a fork of vichan that still has active maintainers plus some of the more essential quality-of-life stuff. OpenIB looks neat.
With regards to community being the most important aspect, I agree. I try not to intervene with anything and just sort of let the conversation run, which is why there's fairly lax rules. The only times I'll intervene is if we get flooded from foreginers with useless threads as it dramatically lessens the board quality for those it is intended for.
Thanks so much for the recommendations norwayanon. <3