Interesting revisionist history you got there.
Now, while I won't disagree that the karma system is dumb, has been abused, and scared away some posters for better or worse, I'd generally argue we had a gross lack of moderation precisely because they trusted the karma system too much to do the job.
Board tribalism otherwise existed well before FFXIAH. BG, KillingIfrit, and the rare bilingual blogs all had their zealots that'd happily chirp that their preferred haunt was superior because <insert arbitrary reason here>. The internet being what it is, I'd assert that a good bit of the time some degree of being a jerk and getting away with it played into those preferences. Some places had more leniency toward hacking/bugs/expoits, or the personalities behind them. That not really being tolerated here isn't something I'd consider a detriment, but earlier portions of this paragraph still apply. Tolerance of meme (spam) or off-topic discussions likes politics is one of those give or take features.
XI is otherwise a different game than XIV. I'd implied it with an earlier post about them having the OF from the start, but the game also largely doesn't need outside sources of information for content. The raider sorts might disagree with that with demands of watching youtube videos/reading guides/following rotations to the letter, but playing blind or conversing with people in the game itself is still a perfectly viable way to play. Unofficial forums falling out of favor should be no surprise in the end. The XI connection kept some of us initially, but the same sort of discussions just couldn't be had with XIV because XIV was literally a more user-friendly game. That isn't debatable. Period.
If the implication is that people only pushed bad info here, I'm going to disagree. I did my part from time to time explaining content to people, ideally in a way where the job you played didn't matter or at least helped indicate what other party members may go through. Until wikis started popping up, this was probably the best place to find XI quest/mission information within specific guides or even just asking on the board. For every person that got salty because a question could've been answered with a search, they could've easily kept their nose out of a thread and an answer likely would've come from myself or other then-knowledgeable regulars. The whole "suck less, noob!" philosophy was never really the point of this place despite some people desperately trying to make that so and even a mantra of other locales.
Casual gamers are not the enemy. It's a sentiment that may sound out of place with me bringing it up, but that's ultimately who I would identify who this place was for. Yes, sometimes people learned things wrong, heard something wrong and repeated it, etc.. That happens. It's the nature of info dissemination. Everyone who played XI was new to it at some point, and with it its learning curve. Sometimes barking a specific formula isn't what someone needs to hear in the moment. Sometimes it's better to give the answer and let them find out how you get from A to B their own way. Some ideologies will clash. Mine sure as hell did when it came to RDM and people "happy" with its status way back when, but I also didn't relent despite knowing I had people mocking and collaborating on other boards to try and shut me up through circlejerking the karma system or skating as close as they could to violating the ToS without doing so hoping I'd ragequit. Contemplating new ideas was certainly part of the fun for myself and others, too. Though, as all routinely updates online games go, some folks tend to get really vocally bitter if what they want isn't addressed with the utmost urgency. I'd been guilty of that from time to time, myself.
Nonetheless, I'm also not ignorant of the fact XIV has its contingent of players who think they should be able to mercilessly rip into noobs, grief others, and so on with impunity. They do this "low key" in their FC chats, discords, or even on reddit where SE can't officially do anything because that's what cowardly little sh*tlords do. They want the perfect game experience handed to them instead of contributing to building the community they're in. They'll whine that no one wants to actually listen to their advice, frequently leaving out the fact they never gave it or did so in an utterly toxic manner that immediately puts the target on the defensive. They think parses justify being a d*ck instead of just keeping it to themselves and focusing on self-improvement. Merely bringing any of this up would likely encourage those same sorts to try and lambast me for being bad at the game, not having a thick skin, or whatever assumption founded on never once actually playing with me. And yeah, that was a convenient irony of my XI time, too.
Long-winded as this post has become, I don't regret my past time here. I certainly never felt a lesser. I've seen and lived the drama. The FFXIAH boards was not a deathblow. SE putting less than the bare minimum into FFXI's future did that plenty.
Violence good. Sexy bad. Yay America.