I remember Aikido-L and going to some dungeon in the university to read the digests... 1997 I think it was? There was this guy Dan Harden there, he really got on my nerves, used to skip all his stuff... :-)
Almost 18 years later, saying much the same stuff: someone sent me some archived stuff; DR being soft like taichi, central pivot, intent training, dynamic balance, power to neutralize.....on and on.
I never was proven wrong, but a lot of teachers sure got upset. Today...many are friends of mine.
The net has just as many positive things going for it as negative. When you mention people being u[set over the IP/aiki debate, it is ridiculous NOT TO MENTION the fact that it has brought more people together from an incredible variety of arts then all of the Aikido Journal get togethers. It also brought to light what many teachers are calling the finest work they have seen in their lives. Many have said it changes their lives.
Word of mouth was the age old way for Budo people to find good teachers. The Web is just an enhanced version of that.