Ok, I've been over the thread and I feel like adding my (late) two cents.
I am now siting in front of my computer on a fine sunny sunday morning where I should be at a game I had garanteed I would attend to. But for reasons beyond my control, I'm not. I know the guy who's setting this game up will be upset, because he is taking time and ressources to make that game happen.
I feel bad about this. Why ? Because even though I am not "responsible" for my non-attendance, I always do whatever I can to stand up for my word. But this time I could'nt do it and it's a shame. But since I also agree with Scarecrow ("not host's problem"), I think a potential solution must be devised as to take those conditions (namely a) shit happens and b) not host's problem) into consideration.
So I end up looking at the two general propositions made to address the issue of non-attendance. I don't want to look deeply into each, but here are some thoughts.
1) Formal feedback system.
At first I was suspicious about it for the same reasons most people on this thread mentionned. Possible abuse, unfairness for the casual and/or low profile player, etc. I think Spleen idea on focusing on ratio of attendance is even better. Combined with Iceman's suggestion to kind of "hide" the first few feedbacks, not publicly stating the rating up to a certain game count, could make it better (assuming someone will want to go out of his or her way to actually implement something reliable and safe). Now I'm just plain unconvinced. I feel this is too complex and requiring too much ressources a solution compared to the benefits.
2) Prepaid attendance.
This I think is the best possible solution, if only because it's simple. Having to pay X amount of money or X+Y at the door is not unfair or greedy IMO. It's just like telling the host that I'll be there, yet if I don't, I still thank him for taking the time to putting a game together and giving me an opportunity to play. Just to bad if I don't. Maybe an optionnal yearly fee ? That's host choice. People would not post their pseudo-attendance as freely. Host would be less bitter about no-shows, and player would feel less guilty about not showing up. I would even go as far as saying that it would be sort of a rating system in itself.
The tradeoffs with this are that game attendance count (on ASC, for instance) would rise more slowly and announced attendees figures would not be as big. But I wonder how much of an issue that really is. Is it better to get to a game where you tought 80 people would attend and discover 27 or get to a game where 35 people are expected and get thirty? I leave this question open for your ideas.
I'm not saying every game on every field should start doing that. It's rather a common sense thing: a quick squirmish day should keep it simple and be prepared to deal with a vastly fluctuating number of attendees. Yet I'd be quite prepared and willing to comply with those who would decide to charge upfront.