I haven't been here that long, and so can't comment on the way that things used to be. But I can say that the behavior on TFL is still an order of magnitude better than many other firearms forums - where it seems like every other thread eventually degrades into a juvenile argument, or is taken over by the resident blowhards.
If you guys are worried that the forum is declining, my advice would be to start banging some heads, and pulling posts. And ask non-mods to help maintain the forum's rules and standards.
You might feel like you're outnumbered, but I suspect that you'll get more support than you may assume.