i've been in the fandom for around 6 years, and although i don't particularly believe it's changed all that much, i don't think it's been very great to begin with. it felt fine for the first year or two but i think that's just because i was blinded by my excitement for being apart of something i was interested in for a long time. i was blind to the things that later felt wrong to me.
i do agree with the high school comparison, and i don't think it's a coincidence that it's brought up so often when referring to this fandom. it's very obvious to see that artists are idolized and basically can do no wrong in the eyes of the general community, and if somebody calls them out for bad business etiquette or something they did, they're the bad guy. there are also a lot of artists that use this untouchable status as a dishonest utility use in their work, such as ghosting people who commissioned them for months because they know they can, with or without an excuse. there's a lot of dishonest things that i think artists do solely to abuse their status and it gets under my skin. i often feel i can't even vent about this topic because i'm scared i'll get crucified. that just goes to show how much power artists really have.
similarly, it has always seemed to me that people who have the time and money to commission 50 pieces of their sona a month are also treated with a certain level of praise, who more often than not only seem to interact with those with similar activity or status. it's hard not to feel a sense of hierarchy when you constantly see that the people with lots of friends, attention and status privileges are typically those with lots of money or a talented skillset. but i suppose thats the case with life in general, so i try my best not to complain.
i've also had continuously repetitive poor experiences in the social side of this fandom to the point where i have this genuine subconscious belief that most of the people in it are manipulative, sociopathic, egocentric and vindictive people. this has made me extremely apprehensive towards going out of my way to meet new people and being outgoing. the way i see it nowadays, trying to socialize in any sort of furry community is like playing minesweeper to me. i've not found a friend that has lasted yet and frankly i'm not counting on it anytime soon.
i guess the one thing off the top of my head that has changed is that there's definitely not as many people wanting others to literally die over political beliefs. i remember when twitter was palatable.