I have bought 6 or 7 ZTs in the past, many long before this forum existed. (Ive had lots of Kershaws as well.)
I like most of my ZTs very much. As relatively older products, they were very well made. Not so sure about the newer stuff now though. The last one I bought seemed kind of cheap compared to what they have produced in the past. The F&F was just a bit downgraded. The older stuff was just excellent, especially for the price.
I have not liked the excuses for poor QC exhibited by ZT forumites. (Rusty handles anyone?) I dont want a company to make it right as much as I want a company to catch the problems before they get to me.
I also have grown weary of ZT baiting us with pre-order products which dont show up for sale for months, if not years. Some really never show up at all. (ZT 0780)
The 0777 clone, which came out long before the 0777, was another issue that I thought was brought on by ZT. I may not agree with a company stealing another companies design, (However, whos design came first?) but hey, if you lead with your chin, dont be surprised if somebody takes a shot. If you want to show off your design for well over a year before manufacturing it, be prepared for someone to use it before you do, legally or not. Hype and marketing can bite you if you take too long to deliver.
I never followed the videos mentioned. I did watch the video by the person who posted their last thread. I also have read many of his posts in BF. He seems quite rational. I agree with him that most of the people on these forums never use their knives in any fashion more than opening letters and cutting string. They have no idea how most blade steels perform in heavy use. If he did test ZTs Elmax to any degree and found it wanting, I wouldnt doubt it. I have one Elmax Kershaw that Ive used hard and Im not impressed with it at all.
I totally agree with him that the knife community forum world is heavily censored.
ZTs action of taking their ball and going home proves it.
Regardless of whatever happens, I appreciate KAI's time here and have no problems with them whatsoever. It's sad to see a manufacturer want to disengage from the community, but that's their choice. I wish them well and look forward to seeing new products come out.