The Small usability improvements to topics may not be the solution to all of Cake's discovery problems and to helping users find an audience, but they are steps on the path.
I don’t know if @Chris worked with Ideo Labs when he was at NeXT, but I’ve been a big fan of their rapid prototyping philosophy. If you’re looking for guinea pigs to try out new features on another instance, you certainly have interested volunteers amongst the commenters in this thread.
On a tangential but related note, I know of bloggers who have ten years of SEO on their website and over 10,000 followers on Twitter. And yet nowadays they’re lucky to get 3 or 4 comments on their latest post.
I look at both the quantity and quality of comments to this thread over the past two(!) days and I already see proof of concept for Cake.