Anyway, it's funny how time makes one side with practicality and reality, over idealism and spirited desire for immediate change. Come to think of it, I seem to remember occasionally butting heads with you over the idea of incrementalism vs. immediate major overhaul. I am curious how you see that difference of approach now, some years later.
I used to feel the same as you did too, and I also initially opposed that change of policy. But years of experience on this board and over at Lifeline eventually modified those views. Here are some facts to consider, those that should likewise modify but not nullify the conclusions we draw from our idealism.
1. Yes, we do need to take the havoc that can be wreaked by a few bad apples in our community into consideration. Or, in actuality, not so much "bad" in essence but very reckless and not having good self-control. The fact that GC and Lifeline have both existed for so long is due to the very heavy precautions and sets of rules we have taken to prevent those few bad apples from causing any problems, even if we feel the majority of us must "suffer" for it at times. That is also why those rules have gotten even stricter over time. There are a small minority of MAPs and MAP-adjacents who could care less about activism and our desire to improve our situation and change society for the better, and are simply interested in "getting off" however they can with sites like this. We should take heed over the fact that the many new MAP forums that were created during the 2000s and early 2010s with lax rules compared to ours are mostly all gone, largely because they inadvertently created an environment in which too many bad apples, LEOs & vigilantes posing as MAPs or minors, and trolls could thrive. Others that have indeed survived from that time, such as VoA, have done so by likewise strengthening their rules over time.
2. It's not just about the few bad apples in our own community, of course. Nor with the LEOs, vigilantes, and outright trolls that would be posing as fellow MAPs and AAMs (Adult Attracted Minors, i.e., underage mesophiles, for the newbies) who would take that opportunity to infiltrate our cyber-homes. Many real AAMs would likewise end up here. On the good side, we would see many of the insightful discussions we saw from Ella and Layla and other noteworthy AAMs of good repute from the past that posted here in the days before the rules changed.
But on the bad side...
A. These good AAMs would be subject to being hunted down by LEOs and vigilantes the same as MAPs can. Remember how Ella was eventually scared off of here by vigilantes making false claims that they were close to revealing who she really was? And worse, remember how Fayla was exposed and forced into therapy because she recklessly left personal info here that was collected by Absolute Zero before a moderator here could delete it, and those vigilantes used it to locate and contact her parents, the local police in her city, and her school? (This was due to a member in doubt of her identity calling her out on it himself instead of taking it to the administration. He was rightfully banned as a result.)
Hence, sadly, we currently need to limit those conversations on this board and in Lifeline with mesophiles of legal adult age speaking in retrospect of their AAM days for these insights. Of course, I fully encourage legitimate researchers to seek out and interview AAMs and mesophiles of adult age however you can if you can guarantee them anonymity. But it's too dangerous for them to post here publicly amongst MAPs.
B. We learned the hard way that an open-to-youths GC and Lifeline would also attract real AAMs who were the "bad apple" equivalent of the minority of MAPs. They would care nothing for activism or sharing insights, but instead would just want to hang around MAPs and acquire attention from them
This would result in rivalry between the MAPs who were more attractive and those who were not. We would also see the development of online romantic entanglements that would result in many heartbreaks and bad blood as these wily AAMs moved from one MAP to another as one began to bore them or became too "needy" etc and move onto another, with the pattern constantly repeating itself; or to deciding they wanted no attention from anyone in the group for awhile after falling in love with their math teacher, to moving in on someone else when they needed validation of that sort etc. When they would receive the inevitable backlash from someone for this type of behavior, some of them would cry "foul" ("[...] was mean to me! I didn't do anything wrong! This place is bad for girls! I'm leaving!!! Waaahhh...!"), then the smitten bleeding hearts among us who like girls simply for being girls would move in to defend them and absolve them of any responsibility for their behavior by attacking the aggrieved MAPs who spoke out, which would cause more severe conflicts between the MAP posters...and so on.
In other words, it would too often result in the type of drama and discord we do not need that would make the jobs of the moderators and our ability to get along with each other all the more difficult. This could then leave us even more vulnerable to the actions of LEOs and vigilantes who would take these skiffs as opportunities to do all of the usual, only ramped up. We would need to take policy provisions for this, but in the current climate, it's just too dangerous and fraught with risk.
It's a shame that the good AAMs that would end up coming here have to suffer for the bad apples among them, but it's part of the inescapable reality of being MAPs in the current climate.
Hence, we need to make peace with the fact that change and progress are going to be incremental, and cannot be hastened for forced using measures that may cause more harm than good in the long run. We also have to accept that there will be setbacks along the way, and we must try as hard as we can not to inadvertently initiate any of these setbacks ourselves due to hasty behavior.