What I see is people posting interesting challenges and interesting answers. In fact, if this not happened, at least me, I would not be here. I see a lot of newcomers coming to this community with the purpose of posting questions and answers. We are gaining a lot of momentum, so I really don't see how do you think that this community is an evolutionary dead-end. People come here by a lot of ways that are not called "Google". We are, or at least could be, becoming a great puzzling community and Google comes after that, not before.
In most of the questions here, challenges are question and solutions are answers. And the StackExchange format is very appropriate for...
... QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS! (whoa, big surprise!!!11!!eleven!!)
So I really, really don't understand how we could be "salmons swimming upstream" with regards to that. I personally feel like a salmon swimming upstream, but for a reason completely different than what you are telling.
I feel very comfortable in using the Q&A format for posting "inconsequential" challenges and riddles, it fits perfectly for those.
But then you (or someone else) might argue about the "searchable answers". Are people unlikely to find some specific answer by typing it in Google? So what? Why should we care? This is expected, since nobody that is stuck in his Sudoku would Google for the solution of his particular Sudoku instance or anything similar to that. The purpose here is to have original content, and this means that it is extremely unlikely that people will type something in Google that happens to match perfectly with some challenge here that he/she never saw before and he/she was looking for the answer. What we do have to do with Google is about people looking to where share his/her puzzles and solve random unseen challenges created by other people, not by searching for answers of a particular puzzle. In fact, a strong evidence for that is a deleted question where somebody was trying to contact the community or hire somebody to make puzzles for some magazine or some sort of print media or something like that (I still do not heve enough rep to see deleted questions, so can't confirm its exact contents), and if someone was looking for us with this purpose, I think that we are succeding in creating original high-quality content.
Thinking a bit more about searchable content (be it questions or answers), most of non-bikeshed questions in StackOverflow and every other StackExchange community are not very searchable. To prove that, I just randomly grabbed a perfectly valid zero-votes question from StackOverflow that is unlikely to help anyone else in the future. You know that the majority of SO's content are questions like that. What you are telling with the searchable content and implying that this makes this an evolutionary dead-end, for me it looks like a re-edition of the "too localized" fallacy, but this time applied to the entire community. The main purpose of the StackExchange format is POSTING QUESTIONS AND GETTING ANSWERS (oh, incredible surprise, again) so, searchability of the answers is really secondary. What makes this community valuable is not searchability of the answers but collaboration and expertise on building and answering questions.
Now, I said above that I feel like a "salmon swimming upstream" for a reason. Which reason? The reason is that I feel a serious threat of having this site get suddenly closed. And this is the very reason of the "acrimony". Further, this very question that I am answering right now just increases my feeling of this threat. And I think that I am not the only one that feels like that. So, we are either in a state of collective paranoia or perhaps the threat is real.
Why so many "acrimony" between us and moderators? Because we expect that moderators work for the success of the site. The infamous question in the start of the month was (or at least looked like) a strong evidence to the contrary, but as Doorknob said in the chat, it has "status-declined". Good, "status-declined", so lets move on. And then? Will this community close? Is our questions on-topic? This doubts is the reason that motivated me to create another meta question. What we got in the end? Emrakul said in chat that I teamed up with rand al'thor and Oblongamous. Good, so be it. For what reason would we team up? BECAUSE WE WANT TO SAVE THIS COMMUNITY! However apparently nobody understand that our purpose is not just pointing the finger over and over, OUR PURPOSE IS TO SAVE THIS COMMUNITY AND MAKE IT WORK.
Ok, Emrakul answered my question. He said that the health of the site is good. I guess that this implies that the questions are on-topic, good. I really expected that he said that directly and explicitly, or at least said something like "in my personal opinion, they are on-topic". Why I would like to see that? Because we want to close the area 51 proposal for puzzles and riddles and have for sure that we are safe here and that this community will not suddenly be closed, nor suddenly have everything banned, WE DON'T WANT MORE BAD SURPRISES.
Why should the moderators say something? I could copy-and-paste a lot of things that I said to Geobits in chat here, but I can summarize it as "because we expect that moderators be the leaders of the community". What we got was just Doorknob saying that they are human exception handlers (quoting Jeff Atwood). Sure, moderators are that, but they are just that? Are moderators just regular users with an additional power of handling flag queues and nothing more, or should we expect them to be leaders of the community? If moderators are not meant to be leaders, then, sorry I really got it wrong for some years since I joined StackOverflow some years ago, and it is really a funny fact that I see this in some others StackExchange communities. Otherwise, I am not seeing any leadership here.
At least for me, I initially got a sense that the moderators didn't care about this community, since they proposed to put 90% of it as off-topic and would succeed with the community-suicide if Robert Cartaino didn't show up. Ok, as Doorknob said, that got "status-declined". After that, Doorknob asked for some feedback (which is very good) and then we just got silence, this is one of the many reasons that made me open a new question.
Now a question: Which people that have a diamond (either being or not from StackExchange staff) actually care for this community? Shog9 seems to don't care, he thinks that this community is a joke. Robert Cartaino seems to care. You (Jon Ericson), I don't know. But, do the moderators of this community care for it? So, Kevin, Doorknob and Emrakul, if you care and love this community, like many users do, please take the leadership of it, this is what your diamonds represent to us. Or else, just say that you are not meant to be leaders and the purpose of your diamonds is solely to be human exception handlers and nothing more.
And when I talk about taking the leadership, do not forget that:
$leadership \neq dictatorship$
And I already saw a lot of time people telling that we shouldn't upvote crap. Good. Fair enough. However I am not seeing the other side: "Don't downvote good content" and "Don't downvote just because you disagree". This should be pretty obvious, but what I am perceiving in practice is an incentive to downvote everything, including good content, and I don't think that any community will ever succeed in this way. But Doorknob didn't saw any evidence of that... Curiously in other community were I participate since the private beta the last time that I got a downvote there (and this is very rare) the person who downvoted me even posted a comment saying something like "sorry for the downvote, but your answer is just wrong, don't take it as personal and don't be discouraged". I never saw anything similar to that here, it would be a dream if that happened. BTW, that community has excellent content quality, is growing fast and it is the most friendly community that I ever saw in StackExchange. Too bad that this one is not.
We really thinks that something is broken and must be fixed in this community right now and that the moderators are essential for that, otherwise you would be better to just please Shog9 and shut it down right now because this will never work. And the thing that is broken in this site, surely has nothing to do with Google. We are not here just to annoy the moderators, point fingers and complain about everything, we are trying to build a puzzling site without being bothered AND make the moderators act accordingly.
We want to save this community and make it work, and this very question that I am answering right now is a strong evidence that we are failing. Oblongamous didn't ranted randomly in the chat for no reason and no motivation, even if we do not agree with the way that he chose to do that. Also, I, rand al'thor and avigrail did not expressed our opinion for no reason, even if we/you/whoever do not agree with the particular way that each one chose to do that (and in fact I personally disagree with Oblongamous, avigrail and rand al'thor in many things, even if we were supposing teaming up). This is the result of our frustration. This very answer that I am writing right now is the result of my personal frustration.
Phew, that was a long text about the acrimony, sorry about that, but in some way Emrakul asked us to join constructive discussion and this is exactly what I am trying to do here.
I mostly written this answer before the longs talks on meta that happened today (just didn't finished it at the time because this answer is very long and took me a lot of time to write down). Most parts of this answer were written yesterday and my brain couldn't yet process the gigantic amount of information from chat and new meta-topics today. So, forgive-me if something really important happened and I didn't mentioned it here (clue: I am sure that it indeed happened). But this only leads we to our next topic right below here:
Ok people, we already shot our own feet enough ... with bazookas and RPGs. So what to do to fix up this mess?
Now, what I would really really like is to be able to post and read questions and answers in this site calmly without being bothered, without having fear for trying to collaborate and being punished for that, without receiving bad surprises and without mysteriously receiving downvotes and close-votes from people that do not care to post a single letter as a comment explaining why.
What we need in order to make this community be peaceful and successful again is an unambiguous, clear and direct statement that the challenges are on-topic and welcome. Somebody asked me why I insists in the "welcome", and the answer is because I already saw something being permitted but very strongly discouraged in other site. And we need that definition now! But it looks like that d'alar'cop already took the initiative about that.
What else? As I already said before, we need to train the community about how to write good questions and not about how to downvote and close crappy questions. Otherwise, this site will never work. And I think that this is one of the most important issues that we have here.
And finally there is a lot of problems here that were kept unsolved by many reasons, like lazyness, fear, frustration, ignorance, lack of initiative and MAINLY LACK OF COMMUNICATION. What I've seen in chat today (even if my brain still can't fully process it) is that WE ARE TALKING RIGHT NOW and that EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. But talking is no easy. There is always someone who will get enraged and say stupid things like ad-hominem attacks and name-calling. There is always some people getting angry. There is always some people getting confused. There is always some people getting tired. There is always some people getting frustrated. And they always will disagree around major points. BUT ANY SERIOUS TALK ABOUT COMPLEX ISSUES INVOLVING POLICIES ARE EXACTLY LIKE THAT. So, the chat may be noisy, confusing and even hostile, but this is necessary and important, otherwise we will never put down our problems. And hey Jon Ericson, it is exactly what we are doing right now.