Particularly confusing is this juxtaposition, because of the possible conflation of "message" and "email":
Special Notices Only You will only receive special notices from the moderators.
No Email You will receive no emails.
As discussed before, it would be better for Special Notices Only to be grouped with the "message selection" section (currently on the Advanced Preferences page), because that's what it is: a message-selection filter, not a delivery method. But what confounds the confusion is the word "email" just below that. Because Special Notices only really is a matter of message selection rather than delivery, the brain then parses "No Email" below that to "No Messages." The result, or one of them, is that you think if you later set yourself to Following Only, the "No Email" (which your brain subconsciously turned into "No Messages") turns into "only the messages I'm following." And of course, that's not what happens. You still get no messages except special notices.
So I think it is particularly important to distinguish, in all of this, between "message" and email." One bit of language that may help is to substitute "Web Only" for "No Email."
Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.