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I have seen reports of people not using the stabilizers for their keycaps because they are sticky. Is this a widespread problem? Also, is the stabilizer important? Is their risk of damage on the switch stem or keycap if I don't use it?
Anything is possible, but usually the worst that happens when you don't use stabilizers is you have a really bad typing experience. :P Big keys without stabs are poop. You can only press them dead center without feeling like something is broken. Some people use a smaller cap size in the thumb cluster if they can't use stabs for whatever reason.
They're 100% optional. I have a classic Ergodox I've used daily for 2 years without stabs, and I've never had an issue.
Adding to what Data said. I use full size (2x) keycaps on my thumb clusters without stabs, and I have no problems. If the keys were bigger than 2x, you would need stabilizers, but at 2x, they are optional IMO.
Same here on my 3 ErgoDoxen.