I think because that came back to bite them in the past.
They had enlisted a number of frequent/long term posters to test a beta model of what eventually became the “big” change. People took their participation seriously, invested much thought and time into providing feedback. When the new design came out it seemed to have ignored a great many of the issues the testing group had warned of. These issues in turn became some of the main issues the rest of the community disliked.
After putting in all that energy to help a community they cared about many of the testers seemed to feel used, disrespected, etc. They were very much invested and it felt like a slap in the face being treated with so much disdain. Which added greatly to the bad blood during the reign of “CEO George” who left CH after leaving disaster in his wake.
I was not one of the testers so this summary represents my impressions formed from many comments, posts and private emails during that period.
I’d be quite interest in the perspectives from any HO’s who were involved in testing during that period.
edit: should be VP George