so that users do not have to Google, tweak and retweak things to get a game to run
Minus Google, that was three quarters of the game back in the 90's!
I'm amazed at how much effort is placed on limiting researchers' misuse of computers at the expense of other researchers
Being a role-player, "lying about a die roll" has no strict ethical value to me: if I'm a player, it's unethical, but if I'm the DM, it's just part of the job !
The harm is, you will have people less willing to play with you once they find out that you will lie about die rolls.
If you're a player. As GP states, I want a GM who will fudge the dice rolls (or not even roll them) occasionally to make the story better. Sometimes the dice are wrong. Yes, it's a game. But it's not fun when your characters face too little or overwhelming danger.
what's gimmicky about any random kid with spiderish powers taking up the name?
Maybe that a random kid got spiderish powers at just the right time to replace the first one?
Taking a historic Superhero character and making it a woman is a good thing.
Next up, Punisher. I bet a lot of guys might read a female Punisher.
Your excuse is the same one every misogynist through time have used. "Historically a man does that, you can't have a women do that!"
I'm betting the GP would have a problem with Sif growing a penis too (as would I). Or if you consider Sif too much of a background character, what about Jean Grey? Let's say the Phoenix Force returns and Jean Grey is reborn as an adult male. Ridiculous, yes?
The thing is, this new "Thor" isn't going to be the character Thor any more than Eric Masterson was. Sure, he pretended to be Thor for a while. Had all the powers and everything. Everyone called him Thor, even Odin. But he wasn't Thor, and we knew it and he knew it.