Actually, I'm in favor of the leaver penalty. But I also recognize that there are times when it isn't fair. Like recognizing that a 30 minute scenario shouldn't be taking two hours to complete. Some people are just plain insane... trying the same failed tactic over and over and expecting to get a different result.
If a scenario ever degenerates to the point where everyone, or nearly everyone, is on a long respawn timer at the same time -- clearly everyone has died more than once and the team has wiped or is in danger of wiping.
I think letting people off the hook at that point is probably fair. Not for failed optional objectives, not for simply taking too long, but for systematic breakdowns in teamwork that lead to everyone waiting for a respawn.
how about entire team stays dead for 120 seconds then an abort button will pop up? solves the problem of one (or more) persons bailing and requires something of a consensus among the team that this can't be beat. while not perfect, since one person could grief everyone by constantly reviving...it would still allow a way out without penalty.
actually, abort button would be there with a countdown on it, grays out if someone revives before the time is up.
the main thing is one person bailing to find a what they consider a 'sweeter' team just won't work. had that happen today in klingon fleet alert, guy comes in, sees 4 vo'quv and a cruiser and is like 'this ain't going to work' and bails. and ya, he did say that before he left. we still won it...but that's the kind of thing that would happen if it was left up to individual players having a way out without penalty.
team agreement works a bit better imo. could do away with the countdown entirely as long as everyone agrees to abort.