We need to lurk more.
I personally believe one of the biggest contributing factors to the
good feelings this site had in it's early days, that largely continues
to this day when things aren't rocky, is that the website used to have a
waiting period before they could start making comments or posts.
A growing community will always have some friction, but I feel like there's a very real chance this could avoid a good deal of the least consequential friction and allow newcomers with a genuine concern to have time to really assess the prevalence of their concerns and how they should go about voicing their concerns if they feel it should be addressed publicly.
additionally, I feel like a lot of people weren't quite aware of what they are allowed to do pre-activation and assumed they could only look around. Perhaps messaging emphasizing what they can still do while waiting to be activated could encourage active lurking and acclimation.
This isn't the worst idea but the waiting period shouldn't be more than 24 hours imho. And it should be heavily communicated how it works. You don't want users to forget they've signed up.