I know it's a bit late to add my own 2 cents in, but I've compared both a stock ion and an upped ion... they're very different. Normally, I shoot a Droid, which has virtually no kick and no noise either.
This was a while back when I was starting to play, and my friend was letting me try a few different markers so I could decide what I wanted. I was already set on the Droid at that point, but then he let me use his extremely upped Ion. It had a lot of upgrades... and he kept the exterior as stock looking as it could to maintain a sleeper look . It shot really well, with the exception of a weak battery that was causing some slight shootdown... but it seriously made me reconsider buying the droid.
Then a while later I shot a bone stock Ion... it was terrible. The barrel was overbored and inaccurate (which is the case for most low end markers, so I guess I can't complain), but the noise and the kick were way off, trigger had really bad feel and it was hard to tell if the marker was on or off. Not to mention it was really hellish taking apart the marker to lube it (not an XE version), so I just went with the droid. I can see why people might hate it straight out of the box... it's just a pain to deal with. And coming from someone who has to service a Droid, you can't say I'm a lazy person when it comes to maintenance. Taking apart an Ion is IMHO more stressful.
If I had more cash, I would buy an Ion and up it. It's a good project gun if you can find the parts for it (I'm in Malaysia, parts don't come that easily). It's also a good backup marker if you buy enough ups for it. I'm not just talking changing the trigger and the feedneck... I'm talking a complete overhaul with the internals, regulator, board etc. It won't be an Ion at heart anymore, but it'll be a marker that shoots well.
I think you're overreacting. Airsoft isn't a sport, it's a war game. They don't like to call it a sport, they prefer it to be as realistic as possible. Why are you getting so worked up over it?
Airsoft isn't horrible. The gear is cheaper, the ammunition is cheaper, and the fact that everything is milsim makes it easy to have a uniform group or team. It's just like that. You don't have to start attacking it just because you feel people are "going over" to airsoft. I wanted to play airsoft once until I realised I couldn't import those airsoft guns here. I would if I could, but I can't so I won't. I still love paintball.
And airsoft is NOT an adaptation of paintball. It's an adaptation of training that armed forces and police use. There's nothing wrong with that.
Also, what's so real about paintball right now? You're contradicting yourself, you say it's bad that the airsoft guns hold 1000 bbs, but it's okay that some kid with a DM10 can just run through a field blasting everything in sight with 20 bps ramping and a 160 round hopper.. You can't take both sides.
This isn't some race for popularity. You don't have to force people to play paintball. It's not like you're trying to campaign for which sport will survive longer.
What I don't understand is why people wneed to remove the rails for speedball. Who cares? It's not like it's making your life difficult by being there. There's no significant weight difference when you remove the rails. -.-