This month, members of the mapping team TPW took 4 out of 5 finalist places. And I've heard (privately) a that a few people don't think its quite fair that TPW gets to collaborate and submit their maps like that. Here's why you're wrong, and it is fair.
TPW is nothing more than roughly 60-70% of the top mappers on TL deciding to label their maps
"TPW" and talk over their maps to find faults.
Let me address the second part first: testing and reworking maps is actively encouraged by MotM. If you look back through MotM records you'll see that even in the first one, we made provisions for multiple mappers working on the same map. We want your map's final, perfect form, and we don't really care how it got there (though there was some confusion early on in MotM history). Because, ultimately, thats the goal of MotM - to find the best maps that we can, and give them play broadcast to the world.
Now, to address the first part. TPW is just a bunch of TL mappers deciding to organize. Basically, they're the equivalent of an SC2 Mapping Union. Organizing gives them more leverage and allows them to get better and more specific feedback from fellow members. That second part is key - getting feedback is crucial to good map production. And personally, I can't say that TL is the best place to get feedback. All too often someone will open a map thread, glance at it for 10 seconds, and say "X is imba". Which would be fine if there was some serious discussion about it, but there rarely is. Such conversations are more likely to happen over skype or in IRC - where your thoughts aren't put on display to the public.
I believe there are three reasons mappers are moving away from TL forums as their primary method of communication.
#1) is the MotM staff room on skype. If you have ever helped run an MotM event, you're in the staff room. This has led to a lot of awesome feedback, and also connected a lot of mappers with others outside of TL. This has led to an upward spiral of good feedback and collaboration, producing some awesome results.
#2) is the lack of support from the greater TL community. I wish it were otherwise, but TL simply does not support its mapping subform. Most of the time, comments from non-regulars in the SC2 Custom Maps subforum are, as previously mentioned "imba" shouts. But even when we move beyond our comfort zone, and post in the Great Beyond known as SC2 General, we're ignored by the vast majority. As an example, the Nerd Alert song thread recieved 25,000 thread views in less than 24 hours. It took the Petition for New (Good) Maps thread 10 days to reach that same number. Now, I love Nerd Alert, but honestly, which thread is more important?
Or perhaps we should look at the homepage, where "Moms Playing StarCraft?" is spotlighted - nice to know, but not really interesting or important. And I love team liquid, but the first 10 pages of our Petition thread were 10% negativity, the vast majority of that being uniformed whining - though I suppose thats to be expected for the internet. Still, why ask for feedback when you know some of what you're going to get is shit, particularly when you could avoid it easily? Which brings me to point #3.
#3) is the desire for more advanced and focused feedback. Lets face it, when you give feedback on a map on TL, you're not always 100% focused. You miss things. You don't always look for a reply. And going out and acquiring feedback is a difficult process of navigating PMs, and hoping that you get quality feedback. Setting up test games is a nightmare of a process through a forum. With Skype and IRC available, its no small wonder that mappers are turning away from a forum as their primary means of communication. It just makes sense.
Now, I wish that this wasn't the case. I love the TL community, and I've poured my heart and soul into this website and specifically the SC2Maps subforum for nearly a year. But I think its inevitable that the more serious mappers will move beyond this forum as their primary means of communication. Its the logical move.
And that pretty much wraps that up. I'm shitty at conclusions, so here goes: TPW is nothing more than an inevitability caused by TeamLiquid.net mappers getting serious. Its a good thing, but I really wish it wasn't, because it means our community will probably become less involved. Or at least that's my take.