All I read was you trying to explain why you people made a series of bad decisions.
That doesnt change the fact that they were bad decisions, and you keep making them.
"Sensible Option B" really doesnt seem so sensible, does it? Maybe there was a reason why most other mmo's chose the blue pill...
Removing fleet marks, suddenly and arbitrarily from these missions has effectively halted the progress of small fleets. Why not... I dont know... make the changes together? Remove the one, put them somewhere else, instead of having a void of who knows how many weeks where people get frustrated, quit, and then never come back.
This was a *big* change, it was announced at the last minute and only if you knew where to look... pretty underhanded if this was indeed something that you hashed out over some time, instead of just what is pretty clearly just caving in to a very very very small number of loud people who couldnt stand the fact that people were not playing the foundry, their missions, in their way.
Sudden about-faces like these are *never* good for an MMO, and most people - if you are lucky - will only stick around for one or two, then they are gone forever. You cant afford to keep doing this. The market is saturated and there's plenty of other games that dont constantly and consistently screw over the player base, one segment at a time.