From what I have been told, all of this stems from the userbase dwindling and how to attract the old users back and new users to the network.
Given that, the first "improvement" I would like to see is that more opers become as helpful and as friendly as some already are, and lose the arrogant snotty behavior efnet opers are known for. I have lost track of how many people I know that have left due to run ins with opers who give them hell at every juncture. This was tried with me and (un)fortunately, failed. Mind you, some opers are wonderfully helpful and there whenever they are needed to be, but 95% of the time if I /stats p to find an oper to kline a spammer or help out with a flood, IF I even get a response its "set your channel +i" or "its your own fault for mouthing off to a kiddie". That type of behavior from a "systems host" which is what an oper IS, is unacceptable.
So my first suggestion would be frankly for SOME opers to become as friendly and helpful as other opers to not only retain their userbase but to also keep those users they currently have.
Second, make help AVAILABLE. If you try to get help on an issue other than a channel fix in chanfix you are, onscreen, told this isn't the place for it. Make a place for help, not just with spamming, channel fixes, etc. But for general help, relying on channels like #help, #chat, #computers, etc to be the hosts/help for newbies is not something that can be controlled and giving newbies the right impressions of what assistance they can get.
Third, if you want to attract new users, give them some of the toys that they currently receive elsewheres WITHOUT alienating the userbase you have. That means no nickserv/operserv/hostserv/chanserv or the other nonsense slapped into ircds that rape processes. Provide links on the efnet site for up to date tcls for bots, work with people like Bryan and others who are gifted in the writing of bots and create oper run/controlled "game" bots, hell I'll give free shells for you guys to run them if needed. Run a site for peoples pictures/profiles so others can see/post/meet others here, promote channels or descriptions of them on the website. Changing the ircd and providing hostmasking/halfops/nickserv isnt the solution here, thinking outside of JUST chat in a channel IS. You have a base, and a well known name, capitalize on it and "borrow" whats made places like myspace popular.
Fourth, spamming. The anti spam bots rule, I am beyond happy to see #spamfix set up today and just joined to have a channel spammer removed, awesome thank you. Only thing is, I found out via an oper I msged to get help on the spamming but was unaware of the channel being there, promote what help you are giving. People cant utilize what they do not know exists. A perm solution to channel spamming needs to be created, if this is it, great, I just hope someones alive in there most of the time.
Fifth, banlist expansion. Although my guilt for "breaking" efnet a couple of months ago has dwindled, (full ban list + 2 takeover attempts + netsplit = bans no longer working), the need to allow more bans to be set in channels like #windows, #chat, #computers, #help and other common channels that users will randomly join, is needed. Thank you to doug n zi for sitting in there now to try and nail all of the ircfuck bots, the need for us to be able to ban numerous hosts without having to ban all of Asia/Russia/Brazil and about 75 other countries, is needed. Prior to these bots coming along, 100 +b/e/I was sufficient, now its merely a small plug in a leaking dam. the solution of "not pissing off a scriptkiddie" or setting the channel +k or +i is not sufficient imho.
And finally. sixth. If any of what I have suggested has/is available? PROMOTE IT. I've been here for a long time now, 10? 12 years? and *I* don't know about it, how could someone brand new?
Happily keeping in the persona of a big mouth n bitchy tude.....