I went through the forums a bit to see what's been going on and I thought I'd chime in here.
I've been absent from the derbies for a good while myself. I think some of the changes really impacted how I personally felt about the derbies, the votes, etc. I read here that I'm not alone.
I think the biggest change for me came with the way winners were chosen. By taking away power from the voters (which I am also one of), it really gave them very little reason to be here, thus impacting the number of votes, the excitement, the fun/heated discussions, the passion etc. There was just no excitement or reason to root somebody on or get involved. We did get some interesting prints, but the feel of the derby was sort of put out to pasture in doing so. Just my personal feels of course, but there you go.
The shirt blanks had little impact on me at first, however, it's been some time later. I've found the Anvil shirts dont hold up nearly as well as the AA. They look older faster, and the fit is inconsistent. I still buy Woots from time to time, but I do really miss the AA shirts. When I do laundry Im always super happy to find one of my older Woots on an AA . They still generally look really good and feel good.
The last reason I've been missing is just life in general. I switched jobs, got married, dealing with some ongoing physical health crud, etc. I've also been sucked into various internet doohickies and taking some online art classes. Mayhem!
I was happy to actually get an email about the 300th derby. I think Woot might consider making a derby mailing list to alert people to the theme, new rules, bonus wins, monster attacks, all that stuff. It actually reminded me that things are still here, which Im happy about. I never left due to ire or anything, I simply have the memory of a goldfish, so I need reminders. That was cool though, might be a good way to get artists to get in gear and submit more stuff ^_^.
So that's about it. Sorry I've been out of the loop! I hope to get my stupid bodily crap under control soon so I can do more art. It's really the main reason I've been gone. (just take my spine and feed it to bears for god's sake) Good to be here though and hope you are all doing well!