Put the melee issue to rest, guys. TP isn't the issue or you wouldn't have your paladin melee.
TP is an issue with some people. The PLD has to melee for that extra bit of hate, and they do more melee damage than a RDM anyway. The idea is, people sometimes get uppity about having an extra person giving the monster tp in exchange for low damage hits. Most of the time, the pt doesn't care if the RDM melees appropriate mobs (although they DO care if the WHM or BLM runs in and starts clubbing away).
AOE isn't the issue if your group is doing their job. Status ailments are the only true worry ... and even these aren't a big deal if your WHM is on his or her game (how much does silena cost again compared to the damage you can do?) ... curse and sleep are the only thing that keep me out of the front lines and only if it's not a weak sleep like mandras (it never lasts more than a couple seconds on me).
If the AOE is powerful enough, it would keep me from meleeing. I don't need to have to heal myself on top of healing everyone else. It depends on how much damage it does.
Also, the dog paralyze howl in Eldieme is extremely annoying. It kicks in so often that it can seriously hamper your ability to cast spells.
And you're assuming your WHM is on the ball, ready to silena you at the drop of a hat. I never take such risks in pickup parties.
Seriously: the only reason people don't melee is because they don't know how, they don't want the added burden, they never levelled it in the first place, or they're afraid of dying. The last isn't a bad thing if it is well founded (frankly Smurv would be an idiot to melee dolls due to his HPs ... instant death, just as an example), but for some it is like WARs that don't provoke because they don't want to get hit.
If you're talking about RDMs who never ever melee, then you're probably right.
But it's one thing to melee all the time, and another to melee when it is appropriate. You're separating the RDM community into 'melee' and 'pansy backliners', when this is not the case.
Also consider the case when I prefer ballad 1 & 2 over the minimal benefits of meleeing. 6mp a tick is pretty sick mp regen.
Seriously, if you want to cast go for it ... but any way around the issue you will do more good for the team by adding your free damage to the pot.
A RDM is still a mage with a sword, not a fighter with magic.
My problem with your stance on melee is not that it's totally verboten, it's just that melee on certain mobs is just not worth the extra bit of damage.
If you don't want to then I'm not going to say you're a terrible RDM since melee isn't the biggest part of our job. It never has been and it never will be ... the reason I focus on it however is because it is the most misunderstood part of our job. If you don't melee and find other ways to make up for it then more power to you. From my experience watching scores of red mages play, there is no substituting the free damage you will deal with any other measure since it detracts from heavy chaining or your other responsibilities. If you can't fulfill your primary duties which are to gimp the living crap out of a mob and keep your party standing because you are swinging a weapon (melee RDMs) then you are just as gimped as a RDM that thinks they're some sort of gimped BLM.
Free damage, yes, but you HAVE to weigh the benefits of your melee damage vs the consequences of standing in the AOE of the mob. Bubble shower? That's no problem. Jamming wave? No way. High Freq. field? No problem. Howling? Yeah, right.
If you trust your WHM or BRD/WHM, then okay, he can get rid of your silence within moments of you receiving it. But if you are not so sure that he's watching your status ailments with hawk eyes, then the choice is obvious, which is to melee and struggle with status ailments or have to heal yourself on top of healing everyone else, or not melee and avoid all of that.