Hitchhiker - Just wanted to quickly say this is an awesome thread that you started.
For all of you simply Google Bashing, it doesn't help anyone. You have already done this in countless threads already over the years. Has anything changed from the result of Google Bashing? Nope.
Back on point, I also really think some sort of channel needs to be opened up from Google to webmasters who run website that meet or almost meet Google's Quality guidelines. Skip the webmasters who are in clear violation, just try to work or figure out which webmasters may have been collateral damage, and then start with them. In the past I would have said that this probably wouldn't be necessary, but with updates like Google Panda, Penguin, and the lesser known Ghost Update that can literally wipe a site off the face of the planet, I think it might be a good idea if Google is wanting to look at the long term and make sure quality websites like this continue to be developed.
I can understand Google's reluctance to want to open up any direct communication because there are just too many websites, and this could overwhelm them. However, I think they could have ways to keep this more manageable by maybe first starting with websites that are being hit that are in the grey zone. This grey zone could be a little or as large as they want, but sites that are on the wrong side in the grey zone would be the webmasters that they might open up a dialog with via Google Webmaster Tools.
If they really don't want to dedicate any personnel to this, they could always automate this and point out to these websites what the main factors are causing them to be in this grey zone specific to their website. Or if Google wants to be careful on who they help, they could allow these sort of websites to be quickly reviewed by a real person to make sure the website really does fit Google's Webmaster Quality guidelines, and then if so, feedback, whether in an automated matter or not, could then be provided to help that particular website get out of the grey zone.