@biggles - So here's the long answer I was going to write first:
It's hard to be in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't, and also damned if you compromise" scenario.
I could eschew live-GMing entirely, which is one of the main reasons I became a GM in the first place. It goes against the grain for me to respond to so many things with an @action response, even though they can be beautiful and poignant and amazing - even though sometimes scenes aren't really needed. But I try to live-GM as much as I can because I find it beautiful and fun and collaborative. Despite my sometimes crankypants attitude on MSB, I really enjoy the time I spend GMing for people.
I could just GM for, say - half the people in a crisis who take actions. But then how does one choose? There are people I could GM for every single night. There are others I don't want to GM for even twice a year. But if I pick - do I just pick the people I really like, and leave the others (or the unknowns) out? That's a quick path to cries of GM favoritism, cliques, and the sort of really toxic environment I watched tear Firan apart.
I could GM for everyone, one at a time and either it would take a month where I did nothing in my spare time but GM, or it would take six months. I am sick, I've always been sick, and I need my gym time and my fighter practices and my art to help keep my health (mental and physical) from confining me to a bed (as used to be the case). So the first won't work. But we also don't want to spend 6 months on a single piece of a metaplot arc either.
I could GM for everyone, but then sometimes I miss things, and sometimes I don't respond as quickly as I would if I were single-scening.
So I choose the last, while we bring more storytellers on board. It's a slow process, and a careful one. To tell metaplot stories means you have to have a great deal more information than players have about the metaplot and things that go bump in the night. One scene I'm passing off for example involves unicorns. To an average player, unicorns are beautiful magical creatures that need to be protected for... reasons. To the storyteller, she has to know things like - why are unicorns invisible during the day? What are the things around their horns? How do they function? What's the purpose of attacking the unicorns in the first place? What's the overall aim here? WHY is this happening? Also, what is being sent? What are its powers? From a mechanical standpoint, how is combat run? What level of risk is acceptable?
I'll probably spend more time working through all this than it would take to run the scene - and when you're looking at 35+ scenes to schedule, that's a daunting thing. More than that though, it IS important to bring more storytellers on if we can find ones that fit the rigorous criteria KQ mentioned earlier, because live GMing is fun and it really adds a lot (in my opinion) to a MUSH. Not just in actions - but also when NPCs can walk the grid and engage with players, show up at the occasional event, bring a bit of magic in here and there. It's fun and immersive and that's one of the things we all really enjoy, but it's hard to do that when there are a bunch of actions outstanding and such.
So that's the long answer - there aren't any good answers but there are less-bad answers. I'm not afraid to tell people no. I do it all the time. But in this case I chose the path where the most people could get something special and fun. And these are highly risky actions. Three PCs (and lots of NPCs) have died so far in this crisis. If people are risking actual character death, I try to make sure they have a scene where they can at least have choices and get a good story out of it.
At the end of the day, I'm sorry to hear your friends would rather bitch about it to you than actually talk to me and say something like "hey, I feel like you're not really present here - should we just reschedule?" I'm not sure what night it was that it happened - I'm not sure if it was the night before you posted what you did, or any night in the past two weeks - I've been doing lots of scenes in those times, some singular, others not. Some of them have been linked scenes, and those I've really enjoyed though - where people are close enough to hear what's going on with the other scene in snippets, and I can weave things so that what happens in one scene affects the other, and vice versa.
So now I'm left wondering - is it one of those that made people mad? Are they not enjoying that weaving of a coherent story together, those plot hooks that give them people to talk to about what happened and what will happen? Or is this one of the single-setting ones that was lackluster? There were a couple where I was just feeling uninspired for it not from being overworked, but the chemistry of the people involved was off, and people were going in multiple directions at once - was it one of those?
And who are you? You won't say. Are you the person I suspect you are, who I've spent plenty of time writing story for, who I've worked with on NPCs, and responded to actions, and talked down from ledges? I hope not. Who are your friends? I don't know that either, only that they were so unhappy they just paged their friends about how much the GM event sucked.
So. That's my thought process. It's a glib response to say "better to not have actions at all than to have my friends page me all upset because they are having a shitty time." It's equally glib to say "hire more staff!" Unless you know the details of what we do and how we do it and why, that's not a helpful solution either.
So here we are. I didn't deserve it but it's what was said. I'll be a long time forgetting, because it's particularly hurtful when you're giving of yourself to try to do nice things for other people and the response is "well, but no one really likes it they're just telling you that they do, and I'm here to tell you that you're doing a shitty job and hurting more than you're helping." Kicks in the face like that take a while to heal.
I hope your friends read this and find a little compassion in their hearts for me. If they're really that upset they can always page me and we'll work through it and if I missed something we can certainly talk about how to incorporate that moving forward or a way to make things right. I'm sorrier than I can tell you that they had a miserable time.
So - apology accepted. It doesn't really fix anything, but I appreciate the apology.