No, you definitely don't have to be a certified Dramatica Story Expert in order to participate in discussions here.
Those with the label next to their name took a certification course run by theory co-creator Chris Huntley. Anyone interested is more than welcome to join. The course requires a pretty rigorous understanding of the theory. In addition, the candidate provides a comprehensive analysis of a book, television show, or novel of their choice. This analysis ends up on Dramatica.com
@mlucas did The Princess Bride analysis and learned a lot about Dramatica going through the Dramatica Mentorship Program I used to run several years ago. I think I recommended him to be made a Dramatica Story Expert, but I can't remember right now the result of that discussion. If anyone is interested in going through the process and becoming a certified Expert, again, I'm more than happy to facilitate that.
Your experience with Dramatica is very familiar -- probably to anyone who has taken the time to work their way through the seemingly crazy concepts.
The general experience is one of amazement and wonder at all the parts of the theory, only to hate it, and delete it off your hard drive six months later.
The writer then sets off on his or her own, determined to show how useless or arcane aspects of Dramatica are, and refusing to even think of the theory at all.
But like most things, whatever you try not to think about, you end up thinking about even more.
Eight months later, you're driving around town, and all of a sudden you think, "Oh, that's what they meant by Potential, Resistance, Current, and Outcome."
Eventually, years down the road, you become a fervent believer and then begin to see Dramatica everywhere -- even if your daily life, away from your story.
Because really, you're always in a story...
I don't know these people who refer to have difficulty using Potential, Resistance, Current, and Outcome. It's an essential part of the theory. It's in the Signposts, it's in the Plot Sequence Report, and it's there in individual scenes if you want.
I've gone over it several times in the Writers Room and plan on incorporating more and more of it into Subtext as I see that practically speaking, it actually helps writers understand the flow of energy through their narrative. I use it all the time with the people I work with and have seen great results.
There is another interesting thing that happens a lot with Dramatica. Many who struggle with certain concepts project their difficulty understanding onto the theory itself--as if the concepts are not accurate or too ambiguous, or the definitions aren't clear enough. More often than not, this is a result of the observer not coming into alignment with the concept, rather than an indication of a deficiency within the theory.
The only "rule" here is that we don't entertain alternate versions of Dramatica theory. That's why you see the Dramatica Story Experts as moderators, and why we want to make it clear what is Dramatica and what isn't. As you can see, Dramatica is difficult enough to understand when taken as is--changing parts of the theory in a way that dilutes the concepts would only serve to confuse writers, and makes it difficult to accurately teach new writers.
We've had experiences in the past where some have found it necessary to create their own versions of Dramatica, and it only made a giant mess of things.