The tenor of your article is one of assigning blame. That doesn't fall in line with the spirit you're trying to foster in the community.
Fewer productive and insightful threads have been appearing in the forums. The number of rant threads spiked.
Recently the admins have done a nice job of channeling the discussion to more productive areas by starting some good threads. I'd like to say thanks and kudos. However, you've written one of the latter types of threads. Though instead of FFXIV being the focus you've targeted the community.
Many vocal critics of XIV have high post counts, brightly colored names, and well written posts. They are the people who would be
writing the productive and insightful threads you'd like to see, were it an appropriate time to be writing them. There has been a lot of flaming recently but Pikko already created a [long] thread addressing that.
Having a positive, tight-knit community means people will be happier while playing their game. Happy customers create a more positive buzz, which brings in new subscribers, which creates an environment in which the professional reviewers might highlight the good instead of the bad.
Your assertion is that by not extending the free 30 days, most of the unhappy players would have quit. This raises the "happiness quotient", thus bringing in more subs.
Like others, I think you've drawn conclusions about causality between the attitude of the community and the success of the game that aren't valid. In addition, your timeline is out of whack. The cycle you described may have worked had the game launched complete and then the reviewers had waited several months for this community to form and the proper environment for criticism to develop. But that didn't happen. The reviewers were equally responsible for setting the tone as was the community, and this happened before the trial extension.
While the 30 day extension wasn't a huge success, it didn't hurt. I too rather like the idea of another free trial period once the game is fully updated for the PS3 launch.
edit: well I guess there was an extension while I was typing! Another tacit acknowledgment of SE's culpability in this debacle. I think it was a wise move. Edited, Nov 16th 2010 11:35am by CatPredator