Andem - 12:00 am on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)
My advice would be to stop wasting your time tilting at windmills and start focusing on improving your website and developing other traffic streams.
There's a little FF addon I use called mywot. It's utterly absurd that Google would be serving pages with such bad user experience that users take the time to rate these sites badly and post their disgusted comments. Search results are absolutely riddled with bad ratings from users who probably found these sites via Google search.
Yesterday, I was showing a friend of mine what the search results looked like, and then provided him with proof (and a quick explanation) that 8/10 of the top ten SERPs purchase truckloads of links. At least a couple of these top 10 sites also have complaints (a lot of them) of tricking users into installing malware. At least 6 in the top 20 results had "red" ratings -- meaning stay away.
Is this how people are supposed to improve their sites in order to be worthy of some decent rankings for content that people seemed to really love before Google started with their Panda shenanigans? Whatever Google is saying, it's dishonest. If you want some more insight, check out some third party ratings of some of the sites you see every now and then in the top 10 (minus Google.com and Wikipedia).
Do you know why nothing happened? Because they were outnumbered by people like yourself at the time who were ranking just fine and thinking "why should I rock the boat, I might be forced to give up my rankings just to bail out these other people". You say you don't trust them and "several people on this thread don't trust them" - but none of you uttered a peep back in Feb during the first round! LOL
Well it's hardly funny that you're "LOL"ing or laughing at people who previously did very well and perhaps even have had thousands of real, positive social signals like Facebook "likes" and/or thousands of backlinks. I think it's horrible that you're laughing at someone else's misfortune because they were doing well playing by the rules and now things are looking very fishy (see above).
Needless to say, a lot of people that were affected by Panda deserved it. Many others, and perhaps even the ones that you're laughing at, really didn't. I can think of a few myself who actually took part in Google case studies which may or may not still be published on Google's site somewhere.