This would suggest that the reason people are happier in general is that margin between where swap gets used at all and where the system is thrashing is bigger, and the size of the one-time delay on waking up is big enough that people notice and respond.
It doesn't look to me like that margin is the difference. I think it's just the level at which swap gets used at all. In the old days, you operated normally in the aforementioned margin, so never knew you were close to the upper edge of it, and also had no separate reason to go shoot memory hogs manually. Today, as soon as you enter the margin, you're both bothered and warned of memory excesses, so you do the manual OOMK.
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