i actually think they do have a great sense of what's going on. other then the obvious that you stated, there are a lot of factors for upgrades to both a website and forums. One major reason (like all things) is an update to the forums software that drives this community. Potential security patches and updates, enhancements to better the user experience, a whole bunch of factors play in when you update your community interface. To say that the developers have no clue is quite a contradiction isn't it?
This is understandable. Security and up to date software are necessary. But this new layout did NOT better the user experience. It may be easier, but NOT better. The only thing that's good about it is the visual aesthitic (looks much cleaner and more sophisticated than V-Bullentin IMO) and having four comment buttons on top instead of a keyboard of things to choose from.
Originally, they've developed something to get you here and keep you here long enough for you to see another change that you disagree with. So at the root of this, they are doing something right because now you are here complaining about it.
Let's you have 100 people that come to your site regularly who are productive and enjoy it, but you make an "upgrade" that changes the complete operation of the site as well as allows open registration for WHOEVER the fuck, and you lose 70 regular members (who actually take the forum serious), but you gain 100 lurkers turned members that ONLY make troll posts like the ones they used to enjoy reading while they were non-members, your post quality as well as the amount of productive memberships you get is going to be drastically reduced. And what is it you end up with? A bunch of immature trolls who think they're being so funny and will say anything for someone to quote there post with "dead" or a picture of a casket. A productive member doesn't want to be around that bullshit ALL THE TIME.
Perhaps this highlights some characteristics of the user base, the fact that users choose not to conform to these new changes and only complain about them. That does NOTHING to cultivate this so called 'community'.
On HYPEBEAST complaining does nothing for a community, because like I said, HB HQ doesn't care. The community on your site should be something, that even it's not the cash cow or the main reason you started the site, should receive some type of extra attention, because we generate the most consistent income. If the Main page tanks tomorrow for some reason, you'll still make SOME cheese off the forum. because we're subject to the adds just like the main page. Cultivation is about creating and maintaining. Cultivating is not about changing soil when crops come in healthy.
This doesn't go to say you can't disagree with things that change your user experience, those are the ones you claim 'OG members who have left'. My opinion is, if you're truly participating in a community for the actual content it's providing then the layout and functionality wouldn't be the reason why you continue posting within that community. However, if you disagree and leave because the functionality doesn't correlate to your standards, then perhaps you are only here to USE and not contribute. Hence the complaints normally come from the users who troll the board as an outlet for expression and not so much for the actual content the community creates.
I'm here for the community now, which is why I stayed. There are others who are here for the community as well but the visual and functionality aspect of it became so poor they didn't want to deal with the change. The majority of those members that left just so happen to be OG productive members/mods. If you look at the post quality of when we joined it was MUCH higher than the post quality now.