I've started playing again after a few months hiatus and right now it actually seems to be busier than it was back then. I think the community has finally stabilized a bit from the last few sales and gotten to a much better ratio of normal people vs. jerky dota types. I was seriously getting turned off by the community the last few times I played but lately it has been pretty smooth sailing and I've been able to play games every night for a good while.
As for stacking, I do see a problem with it still. Used to be that the best part of playing online was playing against your talented friends for an even match. I think the rise of e-sports and streaming services like Twitch, etc. have people focused on dominating the other side all the time, hah. I'm definitely only a mid-tier player but I recognize that sometimes the skill pool in a server isn't so hot and you need to do what is right to make sure everyone has fun. If the community continues to teach new players the ropes, I think the problem will lessen over time as the majority become more skilled. At least these days you'll see two or three skilled players on each side of an average game as opposed to just one or two on one side stomping newbies. Just the natural end result of playing a skill-based FPS with a small playerbase.