Jim and James, I am getting a lot of good info out of your conversation. It has made me think about some things that never occurred to me regarding both methods. Below are just a few quick things.
Any type of change always incurs the probability of membership loss, at least short term.
As expected both methods have pros and cons. In my opinion the biggest con with the current system is that we have some gray areas in the rules and that the rules seem to be unknown to some contestants. I know they are available and I know people need to be responsible for themselves. It just seems to me that most of the arguments about judging are a result of people not knowing the rules. That is going to be an issue on either side of the fence.
I totally understand Jim's point about consistency from contest to contest and the logic regarding a Gold grade at one show necessitating a Gold grade at the next. That said, I believe that AMPS allows for that same model to be modified and graded again. Therefore a Silver graded build could upgrade to Gold, or downgrade to Bronze, with modifications made to it.