I see a lot of "fool and his money" posts and it's nonsense or pseudoscience. And I see a lot of posts on "Fusion being 20, 30, or even 40 years away" from posters when stories on hot fusion are posted here.
So given the lack of progress in hot fusion after billions have been spent and decades wasted,...
Thermonuclear fusion has made progress - the evidence so far is that the tokamak system can be scaled up to commercial plant size. It is the only fusion technology to currently be in the running to do this. So there is progress. Unfortunately even if current plans pan out as expected it will be the most expensive energy in the world, exceeding the cost of every means of energy production currently in use (and some of them will be getting still cheaper in the mean time).
if a low cost fusion alternative can be found then it should be researched. After all what do you have to lose?
But given that the payoff for a relatively minor amount of funding is so massive, harsh criticism for research into the phenomenon is counterproductive. It should in fact be encouraged by anyone who considers themselves a person who supports clean energy.
Nothing wrong with investing effort in long-shot ideas, and questionable 'anomalies'. That definitely should go on. But there is a huge difference between legitimate scientific research, which requires well designed experiments with high quality controls, openness, peer review, providing the means to reproduce results, etc. and these claimed "trade secret" scams that share none of the traits of legitimate research, but are trolling for 'investors'.
Not all people working in this field are evident scamsters. There scores of researchers working in this area for decades - with no convincing results to show for it. The fact that there seems to be a mutual exclusion between well designed experiments and positive results suggest that this is a social phenomenon of marginal researchers finding something to do, not a scientific one.
Final point: we are still just looking for convincing evidence that some low energy reaction phenomenon actually exists. There is no reason to suppose that even if it does, we are looking at a promising new source of energy. That is a pitch line for someone selling snake oil.