Author of Understanding Gush
I was tongue-in-cheek referencing Aaron Forsythe's tweet...
The actual point of my tweets from context have been that Wizards has been using qualitative measures for B&R policy likely forever. And for game design. And for other things. Arguing that there shouldn't be a subjective element in B&R or that this new approach is different is wrong. You would have a much better case to the DCI if you argued in favor of your own preferences than why they should take actions against their best interests as a for-profit game company.
There is a difference between acknowledging that there is a subjective element to B&R management (which I have always done), and between saying that it's all subjective. I agree with the former, but disagree with the latter.
I have always acknowledged that there is a subjective element to B&R management. (I derive my framework from explicit statements by the DCI, and adopt that criteria, including subjective criteria.)
But what people have gotten tripped up over lately is thinking that presence of subjectivity renders all B&R management entirely subjective. They think it's all just infinite subjective regress. I'm not saying you are doing this, but I have read some recent statements online to this effect.
In doing that, people are confusing objectivism, in philosophical terms (or the idea of objective truth), with objective standards (contextual, pragmatic objectivity in Bernsteinian terms).
Even for matters that are seemingly entirely subjective, such as food criticism, there are widely used standards: cleaniness, quality of the ingredients, originality of the recipes, politeness of the staff, etc.
Similarly, for Magic, there are widely used objective standards that help define what makes a format a "good" or "healthy" format: breadth and range of competitive options, competitive balance, degree of counterplay, frequency of Turn 1 or 2 wins, etc.
Sure, there is subjectivity in the weighting and applying of these criteria to the facts, but that doesn't render any attempt to appraise one format as better or worse - or to making judgments about a format - as 'merely' subjective. Rather, the resort to standards creates space for pragmatic, contextual objectivity, which includes professional expertise and judgment.
What I find frustrating are comments that people make like "Well, that's just my subjective opinion," and "it's all just subjective anyway." Fine, but given that there are well worn standards, people can both hold their own opinions, and subjectively weight which criteria they feel are important, while still articulating, framing, and describing the bases for their opinion in terms that are familiar and relating to standards that are objective.
To extend the food critic analogy, it would be great if people could say: I don't like the food, but the recipes are original, the food staff polite, etc. Instead, people don't even bother to defend their opinions on grounds that we all agree on - and instead just say: "It's just my opinion." That's just intellectually lazy.
This is very common in law. For example, the standard for negligence in tort law is the 'reasonably prudent person standard.' It's an objective standard, but requires subjectivity in applying the facts. That makes subjectivity part of the formula, but doesn't render it all 'merely' subjective.
I would love to hear a justification for Workshops and Bazaar remaining legal that doesn’t involve “feelings” because every objective measure seems rather clear...
Every objective measure? That can't possibly be true.
For starters, Bazaar has never put up the consistent Top 8 metrics or even win % metrics that would justify it's restriction. So, not only am I skeptical that "every" objective metric would support these restrictions, I'm having trouble thinking of a single such metric.
The game is always changing and prior results matter or else we would be unable to measure anything every time a new set is released. We have heuristics for this.
What's true in general is not necessarily true in all things.
Karn Forge Shops dominated the Shop pillar for the last few months. That's completely gone now, replaced by Shop Aggro. So no, we don't have recent 'data' on this particular point.