As for the democratizing of technology, the process is hurtling along far more rapidly than the original processes. As little as 50 years ago, the advance of technology went from the more advanced, knowledgeale, and well to do consumers. This allowed refinements to be researched and trickled out through the market. In between about 1954 and the early 70's, the majority of average Americans did not have color TV. As the tehcnology was proofed, rolled out, and manufacturing became less expensive, the amount of color began to rise.
Today, the life cycle from initial introduction, to newer technologies can be measured in months! The is partly due to planned perceptional obselence, and partly to our need to keep up. The sad thing is that this doesn't just apply to technology, it's applicable to everything, even our socialization. Today, we stay home and socialize over the 'net and never meet each other. Letter writing is a lost art, as is decent communication. I see the younger folks today even talking in text!
It can be a great thing for the consumer who is at the average income, or slightly below. It even allows the rich man to try it out without spending $7000 for gear he may never use, although funding is withheld and research redirected due to lower income generation. The problem comes in when he tries to move into the professional realm before he's ready. That applies to anything, not just photography. I do think, though, that being given honest and respectable feedback allows us all to improve. I wouldn't be here if that wasn't true, and I'm sure most of us feel the same.
I suggest to those who are the MWAC crowd, learn your gear and the basics. Then learn to see, instead of copy. You will set yourself apart and be someone who can hold your own against others who haven't given any thought to their work.
And so you know, I'm no pro. I just want to make my photos sing! As for the voices in our heads, mine says "Don't worry about it!" The other one says "Double check, just in case!"