Looking through the list of witnesses, specifically stale witnesses etc. I see that many witnesses that are still high up are people who did great things for the community but are now not really contributing as a witness anymore.
I see many requests for showing what you do as a witness and if you deserve the money that you get for it etc. First, the money that you get for being a witness is not a huge amount, especially if you compare it to the investments being made to run a witness. Second, the capabilities you need as a witness can very well be counter to the capabilities of showing off your ideas.
The very idea of using weighted votes for a DPoS, based on stake (Delegated Proof of Stake, remember?) is that people who depend a lot on the network running well decide who runs the technical infrastructure.
Funny enough, understanding this well also shows why the fork happened in the first place and why the witness votes on Steem now are complete bullshit. The people on here (and of whom the money has been stolen on the centralized database that we still keep calling Steem) invested a lot in the network, and they don't want to jeopardize their investment. That's why the fork was necessary. The Steemit Inc. stake never had the same function, and it basically hang as a sword over the community all the time, there was just not enough lack of trust in management before to cut it out.
That said, chain management can definitely be improved and I am glad to see many great initiatives to improve it. It's not perfect, partly because the balance and habits were formed in a mostly Steemit Inc lead chain, but I think we can definitely get there as a community. Be critical, but don't think of witnesses as community leaders per se. They literally just run the infrastructure and need respect for the work they do on that. The development work and the decision work that goes on before code gets written is literally in the hands of all the community.
(By the way, as a smaller witness, I am at the moment busy with getting to know the witness software better and restarting it, as such I am at the moment disabled. I am really hoping the fixes in the next update will make the node software a bit more robust...)