I agree with pretty much all of this, especially the positives and the thanks at the end. I signed up years ago, but only became active in the last year, and I've already learned a lot and found many opportunities to help others. I've found it much easier to get "over the hump" here than at StackOverflow; by which I mean the XP/role system here seems to make it easier to get started building your reputation and increasing your access without needing to come up with the best first answer to some questions first. (I do think SO's reputation system is good; I just don't like it as well as PM's.) Anyway, it's possible to ease into things here no matter your level of expertise. Even if you don't have anything to say at first, just logging in regularly will eventually get you two daily votes which will grow over time into more, and in the meantime you're getting familiar with how the site works. It's a nice system.
On the issue of the primitive edit box: I use a Chrome extension that gives me a button next to any textarea, which will bring it up in Emacs and let me do my editing there. I don't use it a lot, but I could use that in html-mode to edit my posts, and have a lot more features -- and the ones I'm used to -- than you'll ever get in a browser-based text editor. I think there are similar extensions for other editor/browser combinations, so that may be a viable alternative for people who are tired of typing HTML codes.
I see very, very little trolling or spam here. Maybe that's because I come to the site through an RSS feed, and it filters out negative-score nodes or something? I don't know. But from where I sit, PM may have the best signal/noise ratio of any forum I've ever belonged to.
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