It's a shame that silent cinema has fallen into oblivion, not only as an active form of expression, but also as a form of art which can be viewed without the historical context. While I agree that early silents do offer a glimpse into the world of yesterdays film making and society, they also offer a completely different film experience than talkies, both artistically and technically.
The lack of sound was not a disadvantage to film makers. On a commercial level, talkies have always been much more efficient and easier to make, but silents offered a greater deal of artistic freedom and creativity simply because they were forced to express emotions through other ways than dialogue. Body language, facial expressions, soft lenses, moving cameras, high contrast and expressionistic color use were all offspring from a time when emotion could be conveyed in more than one way. This gave the actors and directors a plate of colors with which to paint the mood of the film; pantomime at its finest.
How did this affect the actors? Today a lot of people consider the actors of yesterday were too over dramatic and unrealistic. While that might be the case, one has to realize that what they were trying to convey was not the reaction of a human being on a strictly physical level, but rather on a mental level. In real life an individual might not react as strongly physically when confronted with bad news, but on the inside complete chaos might usurp the otherwise rational mind. This is also related to the idea of silents being more than just mere vehicles of story telling, they become the story the film wishes to tell.
Silents are more romantic and imaginary than talkies. Seeing as silent film is restricted to moving pictures, they become more abstract than their talking counterparts and thus develop a more Schopenhaur-esque approach to art. To define their beauty, fascination and allure with one word: magical. The art of matinÃ©e, adventure, romance and tragedy all belong to the silent film as an artistic movement. With the introduction of talkies; the idea of realism became norm and vanquished the beauty of the silents.
I think we all wish to escape reality at one point or another, and silents offer a world far more abstract than the one we currently linger in. That's why you tend to find anons on these image boards who slowly gravitate away from modern films and move towards the silents.