>> It's the rare person here (or anywhere else) who feels their demotion was "fair".
It's strange that there is more complaining here on WebmasterWorld than other forums which focus on the more grey- or blackhat webmasters. From what I've seen in the official google webmaster forums on the first few pages when I've taken a peek, is that most of the complainers deserved having their sites nuked.
I actually don't think what Matt Cutts says really applies to a lot of the long-term members of this site, based on what I know about some members here and their sites. Without going into too many details about his official posts, he says nothing more than to create great content that is worthy of being ranked and for those that are not new members on WebmasterWorld, we pretty much knew the rules and especially what not to do. Everything he has spoken about is such old news to us.