Honestly, i have discussed this with others, but I believe the first solution to our problem is this:
Recruitment - Say what you want, but I remember when games used to be a lot closer and skill levels were a lot less spread out because we had almost 30 people if not over 30 people showing up to League of Learning each week. We can't deal with differences in skill level effectively, beyond some basic restrictions, unless we have more people. Everyone should be trying to recruit people to come check us out in every league game they play where they see potential players with MadCast qualities. If we want to balance games better, it's way easier to do with more people to pick and choose from.
I'm just gonna be blunt here....DUH, this is why we do this. You're in a learning event to learn, so if you're on a new champ/role/lane, you're going to be learning things like how to get your mechanics down with this champ, how to cs or lane effectively, and when to use what abilities or be in certain places or items to build. That's the nature of the beast...
Sometimes some people don't exactly understand what happened, they have to figure that part out first, to understand the why. This isn't a bad thing, just means they go hand in hand. Too often however, we're focused on the wrongs, and not on the rights, and we need to work more on constructive criticism rather than just telling someone how bad they are.
Discord Streaming is a huge improvement for critiquing things in real time. I honestly feel that if we wanna take advantage of it, anyone who wants that critiquing should be going live and streaming their game-play for someone, a live coach per say, to help give them pointers. Obviously this comes with the notion that people will inherently respect the people playing and streaming and not try to back seat play their game for them, or go to the other team and tell them what they're doing off screen.
When it comes to a stomp, if one team gets an early 2-0 or 3-0 lead in a lane, that should be a clear enough message to everyone on both teams that that's either a skill gap or some focus is being given to a certain lane that needs to abruptly back off. Personally, if I get that lead, I think it's fair to leave my lane and either try to mill about and help a lane that's losing, or if everyone else is still ok, afk in the base for 2-3 mins and ANNOUNCE it in /all chat. "Hey guys, I'm super ahead right now so I could totally snowball and do *insert objective here* and really give us a lead, instead I'm gonna afk in base for 3 mins to allow the game to stay close" This game mode isn't really about winning and losing and I think for quite a few upper elo people, that's a hard thing to let go of because of the ingrained habits and attitude you have to have when ranking in Gold and higher. I agree you can learn a lot out of a loss, however, I feel you don't learn shit when it comes from an absolute stomp because there really isn't a whole lot of time or play to really look back on. Some of these stomps happen from 1 person getting 2-3 early kills (for whatever reason), and then they just snowball and it's over. And I get it, that's how you want it to happen if you're trying to win; someone gets fed? ok build around them and snowball to victory. But I don't think it's in our best interest to dissect those games to the extent that we would a 60 minute back and forth narrow victory game. A simple, "Hey, so this person got fed because of this and this mistake, and snowballed to victory" will suffice, and we can move right on into the next game. Saving that time will allow us to better utilize it on a longer game that actually matters.
I don't agree with you that letting up doesn't help, I believe it does, when done promptly and correctly. Sometimes I feel people just don't know or understand fully what it means to do so, and that's something we need to work on. I think part of it deals with pride, and knowing that you're doing well and that in a normal game you wouldn't have to back off. And that's part of what makes this game mode hard for some people, it requires people to play a lot more casually when the skill gap is so spread with so few people.
There's a lot here that needs working on, but again, I feel it comes down to the first thing I mentioned: Recruitment
We can't make it work if we can barely scrape together 10 people each week. (I know, we had 12 last night, but there have been nights where we've been clawing for people because only 6-8 people showed up, or cancelled completely when only 4 people showed up.) If we want this game mode to succeed, then every single person needs to have the mentality to be trying to recruit in every game they play, and honestly, I think we should try to bring at least 1 new person per full member each week to league of learning. If we can do that for 2-3 weeks, and if only half of those people actually come back each week after their first week, we'll be making way more progress than we have in a long time.
And to address this since I know it'll be brought up, our LoL Head Admin @MadCast: Mike, myself, and the other admins who play and participate in any/all league events are actively bumping our MadCast recruitment thread on the League of Legends Boards, and posting in the /r/LeagueConnect weekly community threads as well as sending out discord invites to anyone/everyone we play with to try and help recruit and bolster our numbers. However, that doesn't mean other people can't help us out. Obviously, we do have to be careful that we're not bringing in the wrong type of people, but that definitely shouldn't deter us from putting forth the effort.
TLDR - MORE RECRUITMENT!!!!