"Is there a way we can poll all the discussion groups for the current version of any given app, for the most common problems, and do so efficiently?"
You'd want to discover the *chronic* problems. These are revealed by recurring fuzzy problem statements. For many years it was *too* hard to generate a config file for XFree86. Newcomers to Linux more and more often were unable to use "the command line", and when X didn't work they were stuck. The complaint was "only geeks can use Linux."
"How do we get the docs written?"
When there's no volunteer, you have to hire someone. Maybe we need some grants writers first.