I apologize for my bad memory. You are correct that to seed the first division tournament TRP's were created.
But I disagree that this system stayed the same way through three years.
First year, TRP's seeded the divisions. The idea was that once in the division there was promotion/relegation type scenario that would then carry forward every year. I believe that you could get into 1st division going forward if you won a tournament - otherwise you had to progress through results in the division play.
2nd year, that took place. BUT there were all kinds of complaints that some players with high ELO were in lower divisions. To the TC's credit the tournament continued as was intended.
BUT 3rd Year I cannot agree that the division format continued as was intended. TRP's for the year now decided what division you were in. So you can say its still based on TRP's but it is not the same as what was originally set up.
Then in year four it was just all scrapped because even then it was deemed that ELO was more important than results in tournaments.
And I stand by my statement that this was all done to accommodate the idea that only the best should be playing the best (all based on the all knowing, all wonderful ELO).
So in terms of creating tradition (which I would argue attracts and maintains players), something that was designed to create some continuity was scrapped upon the alter of ELO. And I'm talking the initial incarnation - which was supposed to be like your EPL if I recall. And the initial concept didn't reward availability - it rewarded results within the division play. And offered a few other ways to be in the 1st division if your truly one of the very best. If you showed up in year three you had to start in division 5 or 6 - but so what? Part of the beauty of the setup was that some players were playing people they otherwise wouldn't have played via the ELO system. - which helps to build a community. Would CFLAG be my arch-nemesis under your current system? Nope.
The only reason the TRP's were favoring participation was that the process was changed for year 3 to put all new divisions in place - but when even that didn't produce the "desired" results, that too was scrapped.
So now you've arranged for only the best to play the best. That's great if the only participants you want are those totally devoted to stratego. But given that this is a worldwide site, I'd have to ask how it is deemed successful that there are 40 or 50 people that participate in tournaments? Could it be that the element of fun and community has been lost at the alter of ELO? (and to be fair, participation in tournaments is impacted by more than just the tournaments themselves - the current environment on the forum cannot be helping to attract participants).
And finally, there was nothing "fair" about scrapping the system twice - all to accommodate a small number of players that believed they should only be competing at the top. You rewarded those that hadn't participated at the expense of those that were always participating.
I'll stop there as I realize that nothing I've posted matters and things will continue on as they are (which I have no objections to - those that volunteer their time should be allowed to do what they feel is best - regardless of whether or not I agree).