No offense taken. Your question is important and valid. For the record, I am not "perfectly content, even eager to suffer further abuse" nor do I excuse, or intend to make light of, any of the issues that drive your question.
I think you are correct that the TB has, indeed, become something akin to a sociology or psychology experiment. Let me explain how I'm choosing to react to it all:
The way I see it, dwelling on these issues, or even obsessing over them, does nothing to advance my interests in what is an arm's length transaction. I can't will a TB into my hands through expressions of outrage or by dwelling on the causes therefore.
My possibility matrix breaks down like this:
1) I feel wronged and therefore should request a refund and carry forward with the rest of my life. I can order a TB anew when or if it is ever released. Doing this will not alter the course of history for anyone but myself. I will have my money back, and Waytools will still be working on the product until they release it for sale. There is utility in this option for me - especially if it would relieve some well earned anxiety or consternation.
2) I feel wronged, keep my money where it is until the TB appears in my mailbox, and maintain a state of perpetual frustration, anger and vitriol until I receive the product. Doing this will also leave the course of history unaltered for everyone but me. I will still be out 100 bucks, Waytools will still be working on the product until it's ready for release, and I will have needlessly suffered the consequences of this experiment. For me, personally, there is no utility to be gained by this approach. Others could see it differently and I respect that.
3) I can accept that things are not as I believe they should be. I can accept this is unjustifiable. I can let go of all that emotional underpinning and do what can be done to advance my interests. As I see it there are two things I can do along these lines:
First, I can volunteer to assist with rigorous product testing and participate in that process in good faith should Waytools so desire.
Second, and most importantly, I can hold Waytools accountable to the standard it has foisted upon itself. If I recieve a general release unit that does not achieve a success not found in common hours, I can say so publicly and return the product for a refund.
To me, there is utility in this 3rd approach. First, I can bring my experience in product dev to bear when giving feedback, which will help actualize a product worthy of Waytools' stated aims/claims. Second, I can be one of the first to receive a paradigm shifting product and enjoy its benefits w/o delay. Third, I can hold Waytools accountable if it fails to meet high expectations - and serve the public interest in doing so publicly.
In any of these scenarios one can argue I've still lost something. I'm just choosing the option that doesn't involve me being pissed and miserable. That is something Waytools can't force me to be.
And to be clear, I don't believe Waytools wants any of us to be this way. I think they are reaching for the stars. In the process, they have set a bar so high a final product that merely "reaches for the moon" should not be acceptable.
It appears Waytools is fully conscious of this reality. So, if it takes them another 9 months to meet the standards and expectations they've set for themselves, so be it. Fine with me. Anything less will be an unsatisfactory disappointment. That's where we are now, in my view, and no amount of angst can change the past or alleviate the heavy burden of proving its case to the world.
If the promise of the TextBlade is kept, I suspect we will all be the beneficiaries of the good work they did and the hard work of those testing units voluntarily (and providing some feedback and insight on this forum). If not, I'll send it back and get a refund.
It's the psychology of this experiment, as you put it, that strikes me as increasingly unnecessary. By now, Waytools must know that making an announcement that we should not expect general release w/in the next 9 months isn't going to result in a massive fall off in orders. It's made clear it is not using cash from sales to fund operations or development. So really, being direct and straightforward about where it is on hardware can only result in a loss of customers who prefer option 1 to option 2 or 3 above. I see no good business reason to string those customers along, but I'm also not a fan of pretending I know how another person should run their business. Hence, my warrant canary inspired approach - which you can react to in any way that's good for you.
For me, I'm focused on my interest and what I can do to advance them. How I see it may not be how others see it. I'm not about to question the sincerity or legitimacy of other perspectives in this regard because I don't question their validity. But I do wish Waytools would be clear for those who would find themselves better served (emotionally, psychologically and monetarily) with Option 1. Because I recognize the reasons why Waytools may be reticent to characterize where they see themselves in the process, a "silence speaks volumes" approach might be the best way for customers to make choices about where they stand and what that means for them. That was the inspiration behind my post. I hope you found it helpful. I certainly do not wish to contribute any more frustration to this process.