"I have looked at the site, though not recently. It's a great recruiting tool for suckers."
Can you please explain how exactly it is a tool for recruiting suckers?
"I actually wonder if it is maintained by front men for the 419 scammers themeselves."
Again if you read the site, you might find that the owner and some mods/admins have been featured in television news media in both the US and the UK. They are not 419 scammers. Your tin foil hat needs some calibration.
"However, you make my point for me. As you note, the site has lots of precautions you are supposed to take. How did they collect those precautions? By screwing up--though not too seriously, since they got to add the precautions."
How does this make your point? Do you suspect that some members of their site were hunted down and killed? Then it was never mentioned on the site and instead they put up guidelines about not giving out your real name or address? You don't honestly think the people on that site really give out their real names and addresses to scammers do you?
"The fundamental problem is that it is not a game, and the higher level scammers are going to start by looking at such lists of "precautions" as the next step in the scam. They are not playing by rules. They are looking for ways to con people, and teasing "brave" fools is a great scam. Many of the best scams involve putting the suckers into positions where they don't want to complain to the police afterwards."
You are starting to ramble a bit here. Were you scammed in the past maybe?
"Yes, it's nice to know that some of the scammers do get nailed, though the morons on that Web site give themselves way too much credit. However, that's exactly what the patsies are for. Going behind the patsies to get the higher ups is much more difficult."
That is also a bit of rambling. You seem like an intelligent person, but I think you might be missing some information. That site seems to have police contacts in some areas of Africa. They investigate gangs of scammers, seize property obtained by scamming, and make arrests which lead to convictions and prison time.
I just don't really see what your issue is with this type of website. Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about a site like pervertedjustice.com ? They do something very similar in, some respects, to what those at the 419eater.com site do.