Long story short. People don't like change. I'm one of them and I'm not exactly a big fan of 4th ed. People tend to like what they have and with "geek" hobbies like RPGs and video games you tend to get ratherdevoted fanboys.
I like 3.5 for the most part warts and all. I know it has massive probems but I use a very houseruled version of 3.5 banning alot of the abusive spells and feats. Also since 3.5 is modular I've incorporated the Pathfinder races and the 4th ed skill system with an expanded skill list borrowed from Star Wars Saga, 4th ed and 3.5. I'm also converting some of the 4th ed races I like into Pathfinder ones as its not really that hard. For the most part I believe that each edition of D&D is usually better than the one before it. 1st<2nd<3.0<3.5<4th etc. Or failing that each version has usually cleaned up the mechanics at least. I can usually find something I like in each edition.
Also most older players who may not lke 4th ed are probably in their 30's and if they played 1st ed back in the day odds are they are in their 40's or older. Theres probably not alot you can do to compare with your youth. Nostalgia is a great thing. Using that yardstick 2nd ed would be my favourite edition. I was a teenager and we could hang out in my friends basement and finding 5-9 payers was very easy and you could game for hours/days in the school holidays. Add a few more years and people have families, wives, husband or they move away for career opportunities or whatever.
Throw in the internet and you can easily get alot of informaiton very quickly. In the good ol days each group tended to have its on houserules and it may be years before you got any errata. Errata was basicaly limited ot the Sage Advice column in Dragon magazine or new books superceding the old one. In 2nd ed Faiths and Avatars and the Spells and Magic books were quite different compared to the 1989 PHB and Complete Priests handbook. You will never please everybody and its my belief that online reviews really need to read something like this to keep most people happy.
"Dear humble reader. I offer the following review/opinion in good faith. I realise that my intelligence is realy only a fraction of yours, so I'm probably wrong compared to any opinion you have"
Copy and paste onto any thread/review you do online
Now for example any modern car is more or less going to be better technically than say a 67 Mustang. At the end of the day the car is a classic just like some old 1st ed material are generally regarded as classics. Just like a Mutang you're going to pay a pretty penny on Ebay to aquire them as well. I think the 3.5 players handbook is worth a bit on Ebay now as well ($30-$40) which is a bit unusal as old material tends to plummet in rice and then may increase as the years go by.
Since I've stated that people don't tend to like change that much (Dear humble reader. I offer the following review/opinion in good faith. I realise that my intelligence is realy only a fraction of yours, so I'm probably wrong compared to any opinion you have) this brings me back to 4th ed. Mechanically it is a very good edition and I suppose I'm a grognard I don't like the power system for various reasons although I think the at wills for example are a brilliant idea and worthy of using if you're running any previous edition of D&D which still uses vancian spellcasting. Thats mostly the reason our group more or less collectivly decided to go backwards although we did pirate things we liked from 4th ed.
Also we're playing the "best" version of D&D their is- one sculped to our specific desires. Sort of a 3.75 hybrid of 4th, 3rd and Pathfinder. I doubt alot of people would like my game (Dear humble reader. I offer the following review/opinion in good faith. I realise that my intelligence is realy only a fraction of yours, so I'm probably wrong compared to any opinion you have). The hardcore 4th ed players would hate it because its still a heavily modified version of 3.5 (with 4th ed elements). The hardcore 3.5 players would probably hate it as it uses parts of Pathfinder and 4th ed and alot of stupid spells and feats are banned (natural spell, persistent spell, divine metamagic, alter self-shapechange tree etc). Basically the spellcasters have been hit with reasonably large nerf sticks.
Some of the arguements here on the boards haven't really changed that much since 4th ed released. I'm looking forward to the 4th ed Darksun book even if I never play another 4th ed game (I probably will or I'll play 4th ed Dark Sun).
Peace and remember
Dear humble reader. I offer the following review/opinion in good faith. I realise that my intelligence is realy only a fraction of yours, so I'm probably wrong compared to any opinion you have