Many respondents in this thread review the Game Sage program from a community point of view only. Even though the program is a community service, this does not have to correspond completely with the initial mindset behind the program from a publisher (AGE) point of view.
From my perspective:
AGE focuses on publishing games with the intend to make them profitable as soon as possible, for as long as they can manage. AGE as a publisher often has a limited control on the mechanisms in the game-code, so they accept shortcomings/bugs/unbalance if getting them repaired would be too costly. Instead they focus on binding a community. They know that a vibrant community is by far the best glue for attaching players to their games. The games itself just need to provide enough entertainment/competition to keep players occupied. Competition can be induced by keeping upgrades rare. They only need to control the inflow of items (and inflow from their item mall) into their games in order to achieve this, and they appoint PMs to keep a tight watch on content as this will supply their income.
The GMs are mainly there to keep a bit of control, handle issues and make sure that the rules are followed. Any cost reduction helps making their games profitable. A GS program directly takes away on hours spent by a GM (regardless of a GS manager who needs to run it). But most of all: a GS program is an excellent stimulation for community bonding. They hold events, promote interaction etc. For AGE it's mostly a tool for publishing addictive games that can help attaching players for a longer period of time.
They've set rules (some rules on top of the rules for the general community), and try to make sure they stick with these rules. GSes remain volunteers though, and GMs should not expect to become millionaires either, so mishaps are likely expected and calculated on by the AGE staff. The function of the program has an emotional context, with the purpose to keep the community "happy". Of course there will be preferences in the selection criteria, and this will not be perceived as "fair" by some. It is not in the best interest of AGE to give all applicants a "fair" and "even" chance. They just want to seek volunteers who can help providing their emotional charge into their community in a stable ways. The entire concept breaths bias/choice, as they want to promote a type of players they view as ideal for their community.
It is a mistake to assume that AGE tries to create a fair and equal team that represents the most active part of their gaming community, they WANT to use the program to steer the community into a direction of their preference.
PS. I agree with billdoor that it is a bigger concern that AGE is neglecting their own GS program for some games. It means that AGE is not committed to invest a lot of resources in maintaining their community (and often means the game is no longer blooming).
Mandatar (30), Someshta (30), Kierin (30)