The key turning point was the increase in emphasis on WP:VERIFY. It unquestionably improved the quality of the encyclopedia, but it just as unquestionably changed us from a large community of online users sharing everything they know to a much smaller community of scholars willing to put in a significant amount of effort researching and documenting their use of reliable sources. That was a good thing for producing a more informative and trustworthy reference work, but it was effectively the end of "the encyclopedia everyone can edit", since most people simply can't or won't make the effort to do the kind of research required to make significant edits when every such edit requires an inline citation to a reliable published source. That combined with the exhaustion of many of the easiest topics has inevitably lead to the community shrinking. --User:Rusty Cashman, 
I, noclador, hereby award you, Buckshot06, this barnstar for your extensive and tireless contributions to various army articles, especially your excellent contributions to articles about the armies of the Soviet Union and Russia. Keep up the good work! --noclador 10:37, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Awarded for your efforts in improving military history articles on an wide range of topics. Nick Dowling 09:43, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
For expanding, painstakingly researching, and improving the overall qualities of Soviet-military related articles, I have decided to award you the Defender of the Wiki Barnstar. Cheers, The Marshal.
I really appreciate the work you have contributed to the Soviet-army related articles; it's enlightening to have more Westerners be so interested in the area, particularly when it relates to not the Russians but the other minorities in the Soviet Union, i.e. the Armenians. So thanks.
For your consistently excellent edits and your continued commitment and tireless efforts towards improving the quality of articles pertaining to military history, and in recognition of your efforts towards maintaining the military history project, by order of the coordinators of the Military history WikiProject, you are hereby awarded the WikiChevrons with Oak Leaves, Woody (talk) 21:12, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Awarded an honorary Red Army Guardsman badge for tireless contribution to Military History of the Red Army --Mrg3105 (talk) 03:56, 26 December 2007 (UTC)