If you consider version 1.7 to be very, very outdated, why is it still current on CPAN?
Most people will get their versions of your software from CPAN. If that sucks, they will (IMO rightly) conclude that your software sucks. Because the version that they see really does suck. The right solution is to make a non-sucky version of the software available for wider use. The wrong solution is to tell users that they need to learn the secret handshakes and become part of the development community for your software.
Most potential users think that they have better things to do with their time than become developers. That also applies to most of the people who might eventually become developers on your project.
I don't care if you don't believe me. But paying attention to how you work with the broader community will result in your group growing even faster and becoming even stronger than it already is.