I get the impression the band don’t go through the recordings and make suggestions. Other people do that for them, then they say yes or no to what is presented to them.
I’m aware that things stay unreleased for a reason. As I noted above, after the release of “Devil Rides Backwards,” the last remaining unreleased studio recording with full lyrics from Stipe that I have any hope of being good is “Weatherman.” There are probably also studio recordings of “On the Fly” and “Staring Down the Barrel of the Middle Distance,” but we’ve heard those songs, they’re not a mystery. Having said that, they released a massive 8-CD dump of the BBC recordings, not all of which was A+ material, in my opinion, so it’s not as if they’re always going to be miserly with what’s in the vault. Stuff was held back from Monster 25, but a lot of previously unheard and unbooted material from that era was released.
As I said above, there’s studio material in the vault such as the 1982 RCA demos that is far from “crap.” And they haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the quality live shows they could release, especially from the I.R.S. era.