So the "ban" is expired now, and no new ban (yet), so we will see how it goes. My mailbox is also mysteriously back up to 125 PMs -- it's amazing what automated software can do these days. Increases and decreases your PM mailbox amount randomly. ;-)
I'd like to think this whole thing was just a huge mistake on the part of a trigger happy mod, an unjustified banning in the heat of the moment, but it seems more to be something that fits a pattern rather than just a one-time occurrence. The attacks from the other members for mentioning Hotaudio were certainly no accident, and those are all over the forum in multiple threads, not just that one.
I noticed, however, that Head-fi deleted the entire PH100 thread, so that removes all the "evidence" of what actually transpired. Maybe they just removed it temporarily to review it and "scour" out all the unsavory parts, which itself speaks volumes about how things are handled over there. Luckily I saved those parts, which I can post if the situation warrants.
But for now I'm going to reserve any further judgment and see how things progress from here. People should be able to recommend any gear they want without being attacked and banned for it, so we'll see if Head-fi can live up to being "fair and balanced," or if in fact it is as biased and sponsor/money driven as it often appears to be. Only time will tell.
I hope this incident at least alerted the head-fi administration to a bias that perhaps they weren't aware of, and that now the forum will become a little more welcoming of people mentioning other gear, as well as more tolerant of minority viewpoints that don't happen to agree with the "group mind" consensus. It should be all about the music and what sounds good, but if you can't even mention gear that sounds good without getting attacked for it, then what's the use of even participating at a forum like that? In that case, just read the manufacturers' own advertisements and get your information that way. I don't think anyone really wants that -- no one, that is, except the manufacturers. But the extent to which those motives are interwoven with those of the Head-fi ownership and administration yet remains to be seen, and imho it remains a valid point of consideration. What happens from here will go a long way to answering those concerns.