One thing a lot of the big projects have like Fedora, Ubuntu and Mozilla have is a community manager who takes on the flames and tries to do rebuttal and put a good face on things. Answer the common questions as patiently as possible. bkor has been doing some of that, I've been doing some of that.
I was quite active in the "grumpy editor review" post some time back.
Of course, our efforts could have been a little more aggressive. I agree that marketing could be a little better than it was, but it wasn't like that there was no efforts made. Marketing team tried to do best there with presentations at conferences, giving out live cds, participating in social networks. There has been a lot less negative feedbacks on the social networks than through older channels like slashdot (which is a loss), lwn.net etc.