While we are able to play most content without doing the rep system, there is no guarantee this will always be the case.
While you can still do STF's without using the Rep system, you can no longer get appropriate gear.
If you don't do the rep system, your characters are effectively weaker than everyone elses. (which matters for 1st/2nd places a lot of the time)
The rep system has effectivey reduced the value of alt characters. Why would I run a SB24 on a character who hasn't any of the rep system space bonus' when I could run it on one with all the space bonus'? Answer is I won't.
Alts are now relegated to running the "easy" Officer reports for the Dil/FM's or dedicated DoFFers. Before, alts where legitimate characters you built up, now they are like alts everywhere else, they are only good for funneling in resources to the "mains" and taking advantage of development gameplay errors.
I have 4 characters that used to do STF's, they will get Omega rep. I will then force myself to do the Romulan Rep so these characters are sill useful Vs other players. The Rep system isn't really optional if you want to compete, thats why there is a lot of ill feeling around it.
For those saying "take your time, no need to rush"...I don't want to be in this position again, where i'm having to grind 2 systems at once, with the Rep systems relatively easy to code and impliment, we'll see a lot more of these going forward. If you don't clean up and finish the Rep systems now, you risk having 3, 4, 5 rep systems to grind at a later point.
I see it this way:
#1 it is temporary. Eventually you're done. That means either you have nothing to do, or you meaninglessly grind on something else. Or you can rank up an alt.
#2 there is no award for being fast. So, why do I care if I get to rank 5 in August 2014 instead of Dec 2012? Did my main get better stuff because he got there sooner? Meh, maybe, because there was non-anti-proton gear and borg Doffs in the old system but not in this one. But in general, I don't really see any upside to the race and no downside to taking my time.
#3 it's content I'm going to play anyhow. I like the mine trap event. I enjoy having epohh pets. I love going to new romulus and ruining that ferengi's day in the warehouse. That I get reputation from this at the same time is irrelevant.
#4 it's a source of dilithium. Not all of my alts need or get top-end gear. So for most of them, any dilithium they earn ranking their rep is not going to get spent on gear but probably dumped into fleet projects or given to my main. And I can turn my marks into dilithium at any point if I run an STF or something similar.
So, I got 4, none have hit t3 yet, and I'm enjoying the ride. I'll have at least one more (I plan to get a Ferasan once I finish buying the costumes I want). and I predict I'll enjoy the ride with him too.
mostly romulan rep is only problem for my alts, fortunatley it isnt very necessary to have on every character like omega is. I have 4 of them I took to t2 romulan rep and stopped, and all are close to t5 omega since their reason for existing in the first place is to spam stfs and farm dil so they always have enough omega marks. My advice just do rom rep past t2 for only 1 character so you can try the toys, but don't stress over it to much for alts.