I think a lot of the game play issues arise out of game design.
IF the game rewards people for dweebish behaviours, dweebish is what you'll get.
I think if you want to stop the bomb, die, rinse repeat crap, the only way to do it is to invoke a larger penalty for getting killed/captured on the mission. The same goes for the players defending who come up over and over instantly in planes or GV's.
IF... the game put you one field further from your target every time you died, players would work harder at surviving.
IF... the game awarded weighted points for successive successful missions (not just a take off and landing) players would work harder at flying realistically.
IF... you have proper dispersion modelled in gunnery, headon shots and long range shots become much more problematic.
IF... you model gun recoil properly and combine it with the above... no more hanging on props and blazing away at d6 or more and getting hits.
IF... you make every ditch in a flight damaged airplane a victory for the player who inflicted the damage, but NOT a death or streak ending event for the loser... more sportsman like behaviour will likely occur. (e.g. allowing a plane you set on fire to ditch because you know the game will award you a kill instead of giving him a bogus free pass just because he's an inch closer to his house than yours.
IF...GV's couldn't see aircraft icons, the playing field would be leveled a bit. as it is, for me, GV's are invisible unless they are shooting at me.
IF... the game awarded more points to players on the outnumbered side (e.g. 2-1 odds, double the points... 3-1.. triple etc.) players might be more willing to switch sides for balance.
IF... there was no channel 100, there'd be no stupid bickering and whining between the sides.
As per the above, I think it's the game that dictates at least some of the more annoying behaviours in the game. Fix the game design, ameliorate (though probably not eliminate completely, these behaviours. You'll never get a completely assh*le free game, but intelligent game design can sure help. There are lots of other changes that would help improve the game itself, but that's another thread. (Although it may be too late, because this one has already been hijacked a bit:
I hear you Finn and understand what your saying.
I was hoping to see you address game play as that's the real issue why the number of players is at such a low level. As long as the game play stays status quote, then expect the numbers you see will stay the same or go even lower.
I had a fun time in the DOA Special scenario Sunday night. Was a nice change of pace until....the NOE bomber guys showed up even in there.