I see it rather that way - for my case, I have few problems with email. Email is mostly ok, but it sucks to exchange files, and it is a pain to visualize thread. Also, the whole history shouldn't hang on each email. Fix that and you would have fixed email for me.
I agree with the small target group approach in any way.
You mean teaching email users correct etiquette to reply in context and cutting all irrelevant parts of the original message? Like, for example, http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1855 (1995)?
I have to agree that emailing has gotten worse since everyone and all has started using the internet and email. And then tools like Microsoft Outlook make it hard to quote in context and easy to reply above the original message. As a result almost no-one I have regular email contact with has a good email etiquette. If I compare my email conversations with programmers and computer scientists with that of my co-workers or family, the difference is huge. In the former case email is an efficient tool to communicate whereas in the latter case it becomes a pool of mis-communication fast.