In addition... I think there's too much of a "development" atmosphere in 4d. Too much talk of testing, bad files, coding, or ideas to improve the mud. Whilst all very valid, it takes away from the feel of 4d being a game, rather than some open-source work in progress.
I would seriously suggest cutting back on the openness of development in 4d, and try to be IMMs in game, and leave the rest for behind the scenes, yknow?
Personally I think it is totally awesome that so many of out old players want to do something active about improving our game mechanics. Not just sit around at Recall griping about it, but making a genuine effort, doing advanced research, suggesting elaborate improvement plans etc. and also helping some of the ideas come true by practical work on the game - coding, building, bugfixing...
And I find it positively uplifting, that some of those that are putting most effort into the improvement movement are players that at one time or other were labelled "Troublemakers".
I have a hard time believing that our openness about wanting to improve the game would turn any new players off, in fact I believe that we have the open discussion to thank for much of the resurrection that the game has experienced. Let's not forget that about a year ago, 4D was practically dead, now we regularly peak around 15 players.
Still, Natalya has a point when it comes to lack of atmosphere and depth. I don't agree that a good way to deal with it would be removing some of the older zones however, even though I can admit that many of them are not up to our current standards. But I'd rather adress that in the same way that we have up till now - by systematically updating the oldest zones, adding more extra descs and quests to make them more interesting and renew the interest in those that don't get visited much nowadays.
Apart from that, I have to say that "depth" mostly must come from the players themselves, it's not something us imms can and will force down your throats.
If you dislike the tone on the open channels, try to improve it by setting better examples, and by not rising to obvious baits.
If you want more new players to stay, talk to them, help them, and try to involve them in the community whenever you see them.
If you want more everyday roleplay to happen, start out by roleplaying yourself, and try to drag others into the habit.
If you have ideas for some larger RP event, like some that we ran in the past, share the ideas with the staff, and we'll provide you with whatever support is needed, as long as it is within realistic frames.
In short - don't sit around waiting for others to do things.
10+ years of mudding have taught me that the best way to get things done, is to do them yourself.