I simply do not recognise the negative picture you are painting Roger. Have you been listening to the bands today? They were alive with lots of SOTA activations, of all shapes and sizes. Lots of 2m FM, not much 2m SSB admittedly (but tonight may set that straight) and activators delighted to work whoever called in. On HF there was an excellent choice of SSB and CW activations from all over Europe on at least 6 different HF bands.
All the chasers I heard and/or spoke to on 2m were buzzing with enthusiasm about the activity on offer. I have just spent the last half hour reorganising and marking up my antennas for 80m, 60m, 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m, 6m, 70cm and 2m. For 2m, I actually have five different antennas for portable use, each with a specific operating scenario in mind.
I, like many other activators, am putting genuine effort into getting my signals heard as widely as possible. It would, of course, be ridiculous to do otherwise.
There is a good reason why there are more CW activations than SSB - it is a more efficient mode, an important consideration for anyone operating portable. However, CW is far from dominant.
45% of all SOTA activator QSOs are CW - which means that 55% are not. These are made up by 30% SSB and 25% FM. (Other modes have figures so tiny as to be neglible when stated as percentages of the 1.7 million SOTA QSOs recorded in the Database).
It is in the activator’s interest to send at a speed that allows the greatest number of chasers to work them. All activators I know slow down when necessary, and always respond positively to a QRS request. I’m sure many CW chasers will confirm this Roger, again, I do not recognise the scenario you describe.
I remember the old allegations of “4 and run” activators from the early days of 2002/2003! I recall that in those days, activators often felt great relief to have finally managed a 4th contact, as it could be rather difficult! That was the real reason that many activations in those days had 4 QSOs, and not that chasers were left unworked. I’m sure it happened from time-to-time, often with good reason (weather, equipment failure etc), but I was active back in those days and it certainly wasn’t the norm.