It's a good question and I agree with everything you said to varying degrees.
For me I think I should give a little background. When I started my server four years ago it was because the server I played on (as a player, not staff) kept resetting their map and was generally being mismanaged with data loss and other issues.
So when I started my server it was so I could make sure it was run to my standards. Being a software and hardware developer I know an enormous amount about computers at every level from a deep understanding of how they technically function to how to program sophisticated software. So with this in mind I had a good sense I could run a great technical service.
Then another part of my decision was I've run online communities before. One of which I've been running since 2007 to now and currently has over 200 users logged in and participating. That is separate to Minecraft but has the same hurdles to overcome such as picking a large staff body, creating a hospitable environment and lots of software development.
So with my reasons why out of the way, the question to answer is, why four years on am I still doing this? And that's not such an easy answer.
If you were to ask me what I don't enjoy about the game that would be easy to answer. The power tripping staff, the insufferable egomaniacs, the griefers, Mojang's attitude to the community this past year. There is a lot of stuff that vexes me.
But. Over the past four years I have managed to cultivate a great community of players. I'm very much a data oriented individual I have written a lot of software that helps me to make decisions based on statistical analysis. And that has been paramount in creating my servers tailored atmosphere.
I only hire people to be staff who I feel good about and I have very high and exacting standards. I don't hire people because they make me feel good with compliments or their humour. I consider people based on their entire personality that they've shown while on the server.
Anyone that shows a power hungry attitude will not get staff. People who are mean to other players just to be mean. People who are selfish, people who won't share, people who exclude others from their activities or conversations. People who treat new people poorly. People who deride others for asking simple or basic questions.
These are all warning signs that this individual is not staff material. By doing this I've been able to keep the kinds of people who fuck you over once they get staff and a bad situation arises to a minimum. But it never started out this way. It was a learned process and I think I've only really got the formula right within the past two years. The two before that I hired all the wrong people and got spurned for it. I wasn't critical enough and the server suffered greatly because of it. I hired people for all the wrong reasons. Egomaniacs, selfish people, liars etc all got staff at the start and it was completely my fault but all of those people are gone and I have learned from my mistakes.
I think 95% of our servers atmosphere is great. I've even received compliments from other server owners about it. And that bad 5% constantly churns, they never stick around long. People just gravitate away from them and they become isolated and leave.
So I really enjoy my server due to the community that is definitely the biggest reason I keep it ongoing. We've painstakingly got the right equilibrium.
The other side of the coin, the rest of why I keep it up is I enjoy the mental exercise. I get to develop plugins and experiences that people play and enjoy. I get to engage with players about the things I've created. I get that positive and negative feedback, I get that criticism and that makes me feel good. I learn things, I love to learn new things. My players teach me new things every day. We have great conversations, insightful conversations.
And you know as much as my server is made up of children (probably about 75% are below 18) we have some very deep and meaningful discourse. Religion, Politics, Technology. We discuss random news headlines. It really is just a melting pot of real life, a true representation of the diverse people you see anywhere on the street. It's fascinating to talk to someone in Norway or Australia or some place that is so far from you and hear how their days and nights are how their political system is.
For me I don't even think it's so much the game I'm running anymore. It's more like a window in to my community which is a lot more interesting to me than Mojang's latest game updates.
I know this post is long, I respect anyone who spent their time reading it!