I don't have the knowledge nor the talent to work on such a huge project like tc:elite, but "PC-Work" is a very time consuming process in general. Hours are nothing and I guess you have to sit there for weeks, to get results of such a quality. Hint:
TC:Elite is now being worked on for 3 years (with planing and all - if I am correct).
The only sad thing is, that if you turn off your PC, then all your work is gone. Everything you have been working on doesn't "exist" anymore! Since they got not paid and work on virtual entities, it is just reasonable, that they need to set priorities. If you would only work for the modification 24/7, then you would be burned out, you would have no money and your circle of friends would suffer from it... In short: They work hard but avoid the excess.
The clash of interests derives its origin from the internet itself. The WWW is always available, which is causing that the user wants to experience an update everytime s/he connects to the site. This attitude is very poor, because what is the user doing? All he want to do is consuming and letting other people work for free - for him/her!? Thought the slavery was abolished, no?
Also the release policy is more complex, than the average 12 year old pimple-face can think of. It needs to be system-oriented, your work has to be well-engineered and you need to feel that it is the right time to do so. Releasing beautiful renders and screenshots is a nice thing, but no one has the time or the iron will to do so, since the sense of pleasure would only last for a few days.
After such a release it just gets boring and the users would want more (creatures of habit, anyone?). That's why you need to concentrate on the basics the workload itself. If you want to release something one day and have time-limits (RL = Real Life, yeah the time outside your little PC) to do so, then you need to set priorities in terms of the project and related efforts.
If you just want to pimp your work, with beautiful pixels, then it is doomed to failure already. Therefor you need to actually work on the content! Making a screenshot or other stuff may sound like a 1min timeframe, but rendering models, finding the right angle of a map resp. : getting a quality picture, is quite a lot of work too, which an expert can't be afflicted with.
Putting that much effort into something which just satisfies the end-consumer for 1-2 days is just not worth it.
TC.COM reflects this sort of view. Look at the site. It is simple and causes less traffic, than a lot of other mod-sites. It does the job, that they think is important, nothing less, nothing more.
Behind all this is a more or less plan. They have the knowledge, the experiences (tc:q3) and the willing to achive something big and no weisenheimer of the community needs to tell them anything in connection of these terms. Also 99,9% of all glorious
suggestions are things that the team is aware of, they also make lists and cross out stuff, which would not be realizable.
Game-design is a very difficult job and you need to work meticulously to be successful. Hint: How much games exist? How much of them make fun? What is the average frame of their product life cycles? - Yeah, you can fail at every turn.
All this flaming would just cause that they would have no forums anymore, if they are going to work on another project one day, before they release something big. If they would start a new project and learned their lesson, then you could end up in being able to download an early testversion (if the decide to do such a thing one more) and just have a very simple form to submit bugs. Hey, that would actually work pretty good with spamfilters, which would delete messages, with certain words for instance, immediate.
This is just the way I have experienced it. Maybe I am wrong also...
PS: A thorough clean-up would do well her. It smells already