That post is a perfect example of addressing at least some of the issues you raise about this particular forum and what it may have "become" in the space of time between 2003 - 2006.
Yes, it was the ending to a nice story for warm fuzzies.
Plenty of posters on this forum such as Cloxxki, Nate, MikeSee, BigWheel, Padre, (and many more) etc... on and on have tirelessly answered questions posted by those considering 29"er's. Be it information or opinion on the platform itself or delving into geometry, forks, tires, wheelsets, handling, custom builders, test rides and on and on. The FAQ slowly was assembled and contained a lot of the information that kept on being repeated as each newcomer came to the fold out of curiosity.
After a while, it obviously became energy draining to post for the umpteenth time information that had been covered time and time and time again. I was lucky and asked questions back in 2003 before everyone had been drained of their posting energy - yet heeded the advice of BigWheel, Mikesee and Cloxxki who summed it up more or less by saying "throw a leg over one and see for yourself".
After it is all said and done - that is literally the single best piece of advice anyone can contribute to a poster who has the curiosity and is asking questions - or debating opinion.
We could say the same advice for the endless discussions on this wheel size versus the other wheel size. In the end, throw a leg over each and see what turns your crank. When you find what turns your crank, enjoy it. Life is short. It doesn't really matter which wheel size turns your crank - as long as your crank gets turned, right?
Back to 1-track-mind...
Feel free to go back and count the number or threads that 1-track-mind posted with his curiosity and quest to consider the world of 29"er. He started no less than 24 threads and garnered 100's and 100's of posts from all of us with our opinion, advice, experience on the bikes and suggestions as he tried to narrow down what to buy - if buy at all.
Some of his threads were entitled: Resale value of 29"ers, Fisher Montare, Fisher Cobia, Fisher Paragon, Fisher X-Caliber, Dos Niner, Sugar 293, Entry level 29ers for the masses, SS-29er connection, Inbred/Monocog/X-Caliber, 29 vs 26, Question for 29er owners, Dos Niner Hombres, Best 29er to minimize walking, Super Cal-Sugar 293, The plot thickens..., The Chronicles of Ninera, First time 29er buyers, Big but quick?, Full squish pricing, Buying 29ers sight unseen ?, 1x9x29, Southern Comfort, 29ers and back pain, Steel 101, ss 29ers in NC, 20" Soma Juice build, etc... .
In the end, what happened after all of that research, opinion, thought, sharing of ideas and experience? If I followed the story correctly, he bought the first 29"er he threw his leg over following his first demo ride. 100's and 100's of posts about all matters 29"er of this model versus that model and what to do and on and on - and it could all have easily been summed up by simply saying:
"throw a leg over one and see for yourself"
He did and he bought the first chick he danced with on the floor.
That doesn't address all of the concerns you raise, but as the dance floor gets more crowded - it is a given that tempers will be shorter and the warm and fuzzy discourse will include more perceived negativity if different conclusions are drawn. But in the end, it's the riding that is the most important. Throwing your leg over whatever piece of metal attached to rubber doesn't really matter if it gets you out in nature and enjoying the sport.
My warm and fuzzy begins next week as spring break hits and I get 9 days away from teaching! My bikes are all tuned up to go and I've thrown my legs over them enough to know I will be happy on my rides.
Only hard part is choosing between the Black Hills or a trip to ride the Berryman. I figure Maah Daah Hey will be out due to early spring weather, but we shall see.