I absolutely am NOT assuming bad faith. "Bad faith" means something quite different from, "We do not want your help, even for free." If I were the game developer, and I knew my game needed significant bug fixes and modifications, I *might* take offers of free help. Or, I might not. I have a really limited knowledge of website design. So, with my limited knowledge, it seems very easy to give an outsider a project, let her/him try to fix it, and then test it out when that person turned in the work. It will fix the problem. (Suggesting this person knows what they are doing, and can take on other projects.) Or it will not fix the problem. (Thank that person for their effort, but not use them in the future.)
I totally get that there are more considerations. For example, what if someone does a "good" fix but intentionally or accidentally includes a virus or Trojan Horse in the fix? But as I have asked my friends (who are experts in this field and are writing code for Google and Facebook), they seem to think that farming out work on a trial basis would be fine.
I think that we old-timers (ie, people who paid for a lifetime subscription at the old site, but who also have been willing to pay a monthly/yearly subscription here) are most dismayed at the apparent lack of interest by Steph et al to fix some of the most glaring problems. IMO, this is especially true in games against Lord Rat (my games against actual players has gone quite smoothly). To give just a few glaring examples, I immediately resign any game where Counterfeit comes up, since Lord Rat buys up each one, and never uses it 'properly.' It's essentially impossible to lose such a game to LR, so it's very boring to play a Counterfeit game. When Bank is in the kingdom, LR plays Bank first or second of its treasures, pointlessly giving up major coins. It should be a 10 minute fix to change the coding to "ALWAYS play Bank last." And with Contraband, LR always picks "Gold" as the thing to block. I get that this would be almost impossible to code well. But you could at least change it to, "Always pick Gold, UNTIL first Prov. has been bough. After this, always pick Prov." That's a 30 minute coding fix.
Players have been asking for years--for years!!!--for minor and easy changes like this. I do not think Steph's refusal to effect this fixes is bad faith. I just think it is SO LOW a priority, that it will never actually get done. (We get occasional updates from Steph, giving us the fixes he's done over the previous X number of weeks. So, we are aware that work is being done. It's partly the slow pace. And, partly, the fact that lots of problems that have been around since the very beginning are still in effect--with no end in sight. (If Steph had ever asked for my advice, I would have said, "Create a list of things to do, in the order you intend to address them, and make that list public. And then follow-through on working through that list. And then, give a 5-minute monthly updates on your progress.")
As I said, I have cheerfully handed over my money, month-after-month. And I've been a helpful and friendly contributor to these forums. I think that has earned me the right to (politely) offer my feedback . . . and yes, also my criticisms on the rare occasions when I think it's worth my time and effort to state them.
Your mileage, of course, may vary. ;-)