There is just one thing Toady can do about another game threatening DF, and it is selling the game to a publisher/getting a team/open sourcing the game, things he already said he will never do, because it will take out from him everything he likes about the project. So, if he doesn't care, why should you?
To say that Toady is absolutely helpless as to where Dwarf Fortress will go as a project is simply false. He has absolute creative control over this, as you, yourself are quick to remind people.
However, decisions have consequences. He chooses whether or not to prioritize one thing or another, and those choices impact his players, and his players will impact him, whether that is by donation or leaving.THAT
is how DF competes against other games - by offering things that other games don't, and preferably in a way that doesn't involve flaws that bury the good.
And it's not Toady I'm mad at. It's the dismissal of the frustration without consideration, not by Toady, but by "Toady's Elite Bodyguard" of the community.
It's good to bear in mind that Toady is not a professional game designer, and not subject to professional standards; he is an extremely industrious amateur who publishes his work on the internet, and does not need a job by virtue of people throwing money at him. It's his prerogative to develop the game in whatever manner he feels fit, no matter how unorthodox. It's not like featurecreep is a recent trend either. We all knew what we were getting into when we started playing this game.
As long as Toady makes his living off this, it is a job. And when Toady took money specifically in exchange for providing a service
to the people who gave him money, he was creating, and later fulfilling, a contract
You can treat it like a quirky performance art project, but as long as players are too low a priority, they will become upset players, and eventually, they will be players (and payers) no more.
When the game starts tracking eyelash hair growth, in a way that is never displayable to the player or interactable with any other feature in the game, or when not even Toady notices that attributes rust without ever having growth outside the military until players literally have to memory-hack the data to even be able to see it, then things have stopped being "added features of the game", and simply started to become data added for the sheer sake of adding data.
What is the purpose of data nobody, not even the code's creator can see?
The signal-to-noise ratio is dropping.
The meaningless junk data this game generates in areas like worldgen (with millions of meaningless rampages that result in no real difference) overwhelm any actual meaningful information, and even the ability of third-party software to try to search for and salvage the information is stretched. A simulation that produces data that can never be seen in any meaningful format or tested is a waste.
It is a sign that Toady has gone beyond even trying to create a simulation, much less a game, and is simply performance art done for the mere thought that it had been done, not for any actual purpose. He is completely losing sight of the forest growing sideways through the cliffs for the attempts to measure the growth rate of the bark on the trees. Toady can't be an island totally unto himself, he has to interact with the players if he expects to have people interact with him.
I'm not even saying he has to do something he wasn't already planning on doing - I'm just saying keep some perspective that there is no point in data players can't even see. The idea that somehow, a player will have to have a way to see and care about this should be in his mind somewhere before he adds something to the game, and if it doesn't, then it's probably not as high a priority as the crashes or the gaping holes in the way the player can see or interact with the data in the game.