Last week I said I'd have lore for every class-race combination. Well then Larisa ruined that by her guild getting a legendary so then I had to go on a tangent for the entire week. She just ruins everything, doesn't she? The lore will be up next week. Or someone else will ruin it.
Vanilla had some problems, such as the "end-game" and all its numerous rewards being cut off from the vast majority of players. BC helped with this a little bit. Or at least I thought so. Then again, I live in a bubble. WotLK definitely changed this, to the point that we now have PUGs of the latest 10-man the day it comes out and people are even making PUG hardmodes. There are gear checks and achievement linking and all that, but are these really so outrageous? We used to have gear checks and guild checks and just plain questions of who are you? Back then a name meant more. Well, some did. Mine didn't; most didn't. And most people didn't raid. But that's not my point.
Content is more accessible and as all things go, we tend to value less that which we can get and conversely, that which we lack must be amazing. The sweetest fruit is always out of reach. This isn't bad, but it has a terrible side-effect: the progressive trivialization of gear.
This is not about "when epics were epic". Instead it is about the cost players put on gear and negative behavior. I remember when ninjaing in MC was a big deal. Past that; well I didn't hear about much since by then people were in with friends, or at least knew what it would do to their names. People ninjaed still, but less so, and I believe a lot of that was ignorance: the old huntar waepon syndrome.
Undoubtedly the weakening of community has some effect. But I propose that a bigger effect may be the perception that any given item is trivial to enough people that ninjaing it causes little negative attention. Or in other words: "lol [instance loot] is srs bns". As loot becomes more accessible, it become less valuable. This doesn't always weaken the hurt it causes to the victim, but the aggressor is often let off the hook because whatever they took is regarded as trivial.
Under the old system a given ninja incident had a much worse effect on the victim, but the ninja was even worse off. Now there's pretty much nothing lost for the ninja while the victim is still out a little bit of hope and gear.
P.S. Actually I lied, this post was already written and planned for this week. But all the guild and legendary talk pushed it back several days.