I've sort of given up on Minecraft for now. After spending entirely too long planning and building on Shaowstrike's server to have my house and most of the coastline it sat on mysteriously disappear, I've gotten a bit bitter.
Edited, Aug 10th 2011 8:03pm by Turin
Have you played on any other server? Shaowstrike's server is pure vanilla. Most servers use plugins that create automatic backups, and anti-griefing tools these days are fool-proof if used correctly.
Plugins like Fight Club and McMMO add elements that expand gameplay beyond simply building and collecting items.
I've searched hundreds of servers now. Most fail horribly, but there are a few potentially good ones that fail for reasons their administrators won't acknowledge.
Reasons for fail:
* Failure to stay online. Severs that crash a lot and have lots of downtime suck.
* Empty or inactive servers are no more fun than playing single player.
* Failure to make creative use of plugins to enrich gameplay.
* Failure to moderate. (One server I played on would have been perfect if not for a small handful of vapid sociopaths and spamming attention whores that could have been easily dealt with yet are allowed by the admins to this day.)
If I had the resources, and didn't have to work all the time, the server I made would be online now, and free from all of these problems.