I've been around Lawnsite now for about 8 years. And I can tell you I have never had a problem or had those feelings that you mentioned. I've never had someone sensor what I was trying to say. I've never had one of my posts deleted or edited. I've never felt that I couldn't discuss a product that was not one of the sponsors. In fact, we've often discussed lots of different products that were direct competitors of the sponsors.
The fact that lawnsite has sponsors and encourages us toward using those sponsors is something I've come to understand as just business. Someone has to pay the bills related to running lawnsite. And for that we need sponsors. Otherwise, Lawnsite would have failed long ago. I know from personal experience because I used to run my own website (related to banking) several years ago. And it was a great site. Lots of valuable information, tens of thousands of viewers, etc. But as it grew and gained popularity, it quickly grew into a part-time job for me. I was constantly responding to emails, adding new information to the website, handling problems, etc. And this part time job I had created was one that a lot of people were benefiting from but I wasn't making a dime. I didn't have any sponsors and eventually I just had to sell the website and get out of it entirely. I couldn't keep doing all that for free. So I understand how sponsors are necessary for a site like this to survive. And personally, I love lawnsite. So if the money from sponsors helps Sean grow rich, even, I think he deserves it.
I think most of the other rules here have to do with decency (which I really appreciate) and with not having members here recruiting for other lawn-related forums (which I agree with).
Anyway, like I said, I've been here a long time and have never had an issue with any of the rules. I behave myself and I've always felt I could discuss whatever I wanted here without any problems. I think it's as simple as that.