Step one. I am an Admin, so mostly I'll be right...
Step two. If you strike a posting issue on the Forum/s it is because newly registered users 'may' be spam-bots so early posting is time-limited for number/frequency.
Step three. The explanation of what a SUBSCRIPTION service is. Exactly as with a Magazine Subscription, a current sub entitles you to ongoing editions of the mag...as does ongoing updates/improvements to the Object Desktop programs. Let either lapse and you still will always have what you already got. [the one proviso with Object Desktop is that you actually download and archive the programs you wish to continue using/installing past the time you no longer wish to subscribe.]
Step four. If you used Object Desktop "a long time ago with Windows XP" it has not changed. It was a subscription-based scheme then and still is now.
Step four. No-one from Stardock "screwed everyone over.", intentionally or otherwise. [nor would they]. If, however, you feel somehow 'wronged' you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a refund.
....or you can be patient and await the requested skinning/themeing assistance from other Community Users just like yourself...