The issue with this is that global mechanical systems for presumably fair loot distribution are completely different from the socially agreed upon system for fair loot distribution. It's a question of game theory as opposed to cooperative economics. <snip>
Thanks for the reply, I enjoyed reading it.
Obviously, you put a lot of thought into it, even if I cannot agree with your conclusions.
I've been playing MMO's since the first MUD's came online in the late 80's, so I know all about the "loot rules" that players have established. That was a different time, different type of people and the player communities were small and tightly knit.
The problem with all laws that cannot be enforced is that some people will ignore them for their own benefit, leaving those who abide by them short-changed. That creates a lot of grief (as we can see from this thread).
You brought up adultery and that is really a good example - while it is socially frowned upon, many, many people do it anyway. If murder, sexual assault or theft laws were not enforced, you can only imagine what would happen.
So, my point is very simple:
"Loot rules" are not enforcible and hence they are violated on a regular basis (it will only get worse with F2P).
A loot system that would, for example, generate individual loot for each team member would remove the need for any kind of regulation - but unfortunately, we don't have that in SWTOR.
Hence, I suggest that we only use "need" (and "pass" if you don't want the junk) and let the random generator decide the outcome. While not ideal, it is at least fair.