So pay me. Like you said - it's work - I expect to be paid for work and if you need it done or it's in your interest it gets done - pay someone to do it (or do it yourself).
The first thought is that there ought to be an objective measure of the work done that can incentive contribution by accurately reflecting what someone has added to the community. On the other hand, measure lines of code added might have some unintended consequences...
It seems to me though that OP did appreciate the amount of effort involved, and presumably even more so because it was unglamorous work.
If all the community members understand that, then it seems to me the system is working to some extent. If peers are able to value the most useful contributions - that's what you are looking for, right?
Alternatively, the maintainer assigns a point value to each bug, and whoever fixes it gets those points, which is then used to rank contributors within that project (but not across projects because of bug valuation inconsistencies and differing values of the projects themselves).
Especially considering that more and more companies are (trying to) use this as a prerequisite for finding any paid work. I can't find the link, but I remember reading a writeup from a startup whose hiring manager required a couple of pull requests from well-known open source software as part of the interview process. This wasn't Facebook or Google, either, just another no-name startup.
- novice tags for bugs 
- mentions on your project bio page detailing how many contributions you have on drupal projects in the past three monts (even if it was only rolling a patch or commenting, if your name is just mentioned in the commit, you don't need to be the author) 
- and a lot of documentation on getting started 
And Dries (the creator of drupal) touch this same topic (comparing open source with the commons) in a 2014 DrupalCon keynote): https://youtu.be/4NN5EM4CYVE?t=10m45s
 https://www.drupal.org/contributor-tasks https://www.drupal.org/getting-involved
I think we often forget that sometimes, even just reporting bugs can be incredibly valuable, much less fixing them. Sure a lot of this is thankless work, but many OSS projects don't even get bug reports when they need them most.
People who raise reproducible bugs are helping a project to develop, not everyone has to be a coder. However, there's an important difference between commercial software and open source software, which is related to the voluntary nature of open source.
Unless they're paid to work on open source, someone will become an open source developer by 'scratching their own itch', in other words putting the effort in to improve something that matters to them.
Knowing this should be reflected in the attitude of those that find issues. Quite a few times I've seen people get annoyed at developers for not fixing their bugs. Simply put, the developers owe you nothing, they give up their free time to do what they enjoy. Any bug raising should be done respectfully, and the times I've seen the 'you should be the one to fix it' response tend to be after someone is indirectly telling someone else how to use their free time.