@Scott (this is more oriented for your comments, but I threw in general stuff as well),
One last thing before the thread is completely closed up. I have spent the last hour or so reading comments back and forth regarding what happened and what didn't happen. As stated earlier, XDA didn't drive Jeff and Sassi away (read: fire them), they left on their own accord. I had/have a good working relationship with both of them and while I understand what Jeff said regarding moderators taking over, this is far from being the case. We are not butt hurt regarding anything really. We are simply trying to manage a site that has exploded in both popularity and membership base. We are not tyrannical oppressors, socialist, communists, or any form or governing body for that matter.... Hell, we are not even a democracy for that matter. We are simply a group of people willing to try and make this place into a peaceful atmosphere to develop, learn, and have some fun while doing it.
XDA must pay the bills and this is why the ads are in place, period. This has already been established and that is the way it is. If the owners of the site get some money left over at the end of the month, so be it. If you disagree with that, don't click on the ads. No one is forcing you to do it, same with donations. We go as far as punishing people for forcing donations prior to releasing anything as we don't believe this is right either. It is very simple, it is common knowledge that this site was originally founded in Europe (Netherlands to be more precise), and that sometime towards the end of 2009 it was purchased by a US company, which obviously invested money to bring the site to the US. Now, if you were an investor of some sort, what would be your driving force for taking on a venture where you needed to invest capital? ROI, correct? Good.... Now, the owners did not purchase this site for ROI but rather to save it from going under as the previous owners were a few months away from closing it up due to outstanding costs for upkeep. And yes, the new owners are LONG time members as well. So, if the site did have some money left over at the end of every month, what is it to you? Why do you have a problem with it? You are not paying out of your own pocket for any kind of service provided by xda. And do not even think about countering with the classic "donations" bit as a donation is just that, a donation... money that you willingly give up for the betterment of something (in this case, the site). More servers need to be brought in from time to time to prevent xda from going under and that is a fact. We have an average of over 30,000 people online at any given time of the day. Can you even begin to understand the monumental amount of load that puts on a server? It is intense to say the least...
Now onto my favorite part of the show, XDA's ethos, mantra, creed, whatever you want to call it. Most of your comments regarding what our site is are so far out of base that I personally do not even know where to begin. XDA is developer oriented, based, and driven. These are all inclusive of each other. We do not target n00bs, I guess the biggest problem was in fact a big, huge misconception of what being a n00b actually represents:
A n00b, by definition, is a person that is just starting on something (project, activity, etc) and has very little to no experience on that particular area. We don't discriminate, block from registering, or otherwise flame n00bs mercilessly. What we do have a beef against is the fact that some of these n00bs (in the sense that the word is being used these days) are coming in here with a sense that the site is supposed to be a tech support site where they just get an operator/CSR (read: developer) to answer every question and provide fixes and solutions for their every whim. Reading/searching is almost as dead around here as Latin and that is why you see flames, people being cursed, etc. No one takes the effort to learn, they simply want to get what they are missing to keep going with their life.
We encourage people to come on xda to learn, share, and contribute to the community (this is to answer your post as to why we allowed people to sign in) because we do believe that today's users could become tomorrow's devs. In almost 7 years of being a member, I have seen this time and time again, people honing their skills, producing some of the finest work for mobile platforms that has ever seen the light of day.
Also, one of your statements that (sorry but I have to say this) literally made me want to scream at my monitor.
Put a bunch of developers in a room and have them produce a product. If no one uses the product, then what is the point of producing it in the first place?
This is the fact that tells me how you are entirely missing the mission objective of this site. Devs make stuff because it is a challenge, not because they are racing to get something "cool" out for you. They are not making something to put it out. They are making something to see if it can be done.
Someone quoted devs being nothing without testers. True to a certain extent. The reason I say this is because feedback of the kind saying
"My camera is broke'd Plz fix. kthxby"
this is not feedback. Unfortunately, over half of the people considering themselves "beta testers" think of this as being good feedback. The truth of the matter, feedback should also carry suggestions as well, if within the knowledge of the individual testing, of course (no one can be expected to know how to debug a kernel if they cannot even spell the word half the time
). <--- (you have no idea how many people I have seen spelling this as "kennel", it is quite scary in fact
Anyways,, as this thread is closed, I hope that I have made some sense and answered some of your points.