I don't have much to say on this matter that hasn't already been said, but I agree with you. All of this shit has been terrible beyond belief. I don't even care if imageboard users are autists, virgins, incels, losers or some type of scumbag or not, but I hate that so much discussion revolves around being an autist virgin scumbag loser, or about having some sort of superiority complex for being that way. Keep that shit contained in /r9k/ where it belongs. I just want the autists to have cool and weird obsessions and serious, interesting discussions about shit no one else but an autist could talk about. Who the fuck else would be talking about the hidden gems of vidya, obscure moeshit from the 80's and 90's, Iron Age European tribes I would post about things I like more often, but I'm deeply conflicted because I know at the end of the day it'd be a waste of my time and effort because it would be shitposted to death, and a dozen gay bait threads would bury it in the catalog. It's so demoralizing to see. Why would I want to post when you don't have anything interesting or noteworthy to discuss, or when you don't do anything other than shitpost?
>but at some point you realize you've become the "outskirts" in your own community
This is the most important part of your rant. It's mind-boggling how much the culture has changed. I remember how 8chan used to be, how lively it was, how great it was despite all the problems. If someone told me back in 2014 that I would grow to hate the 8chan community, I would have called him a retarded motherfucker. Looking at it now, I would have to bow my head in shame and agree with him.
>and can't understand why people stick around.
The only reason I'm still on imageboards at all is that I still have this faint hope that the embers of what made 8chan great could once again spark into a glorious bedlam of autistic discussion, absolutely retarded shitposts and, above all, fun. But I know that the spark is gone. Everyone who made 8chan great, the OC makers, the master shitposters, the activists, have since moved on for better things. To be quite blunt, the only people who remain on the webring and 8moe are the drama-addicted trash who helped destroy 8chan and strangled the webring in the crib, a few newfags who have never known .net, and the stubborn autists with nowhere else to go. Some other anon described the webring as an imageboard retirement home: a bunch of tired old men who whine and bitch and moan about the other tired old men while the nurses clean our piss and shit and the visitors look at us in pity.
I should go outside and touch grass.