I think the main problem is that the goal for 1.8.7 is unclear, at least from the community's perspective. Contrast this situation with 1.9--a release I'm actually excited about. There are plenty of people telling you what to expect from 1.9. Matz talked about it at RubyConf last year. There's even a beta book out about it now.
In short, 1.9 represents the correct way to work with the community to move a platform forward. Namely, coupling core changes that likely break the killer apps with features that entice developers to go through the effort of porting their code. 1.8.7 needs as many eyes looking over it as possible and it's just not attracting them in my opinion simply because the community doesn't see a reason to upgrade.
desire_to_upgrade = ignore(:version => :latest_stable)
raise if desire_to_upgrade.nil?