That is very true. I remember that was one reason I was so overwhelmed with figuring out what to get when I first started to CD. There were/are so many different opinions and preferences. I just had to start trying stuff until I found what worked for me.
It's not too bad since you can resell anything you don't want or use (most of the time). I've had a hard time in the last 2 years trying to resell stuff. I used to list diapers exclusively on here until MDC started charging a fee for that. I haven't found anywhere to resell my diapers since. Mostly, I think that's because I wasn't too motivated to get involved with another message board and I don't like auctions or Craigslist or anything like that. Again, totally a personal issue for me. Others don't seem to have any trouble reselling their diaper stuff.
This is exactly why I did a cloth diaper trial. I think I went through Jillian's Drawers. At the time I think they let you keep them the longest. I did mine Sept 2009, but now I have seen some trials/rentals that look awesome. I really liked how they sent one of every popular diaper, some prefolds and covers and then I was able to send back what I didn't' like and keep what I liked.
Re: Open/closed pails. I vote for open. When we had a lid on our pail everything reeked. When we keep it open, you can't smell a thing.
I think a big part of cloth diapering is figuring out what works best for you/your washer/water/your baby. Everyone has a different situation, but I think message boards are awesome for trouble-shooting. My mom tried using cloth for me and had huge issues. She was very against me using cloth and basically said I told you so when DD started getting ammonia rashes. I loved it when I was able to clear all her issues up in less than a week from the help I got from other women on a cloth diapering message board. I told my mom if she had that resource when I was a baby, she probably would have stuck with cloth :)