(this is not aimed at you in particular, just this type of post I have seen in the past)
Doesn't making a tree private completely defeat the entire point of online, crowd-sourced genealogy? Why would anyone care that someone "scooped up" all their research, isn't the point that distant family members can find information that they might otherwise never see? I assume it's wrong to use scanned records, since to really have "done the work" you should have to scan them yourself, not rely on some stranger doing it, then you "scoop it up" here on ancestry, right ;) ?
I've been scanning many old photos, and having as many relatives as I can find either do the same and email them to me, or send them to me to scan. My entire goal online is to "publish" these photos (and any other family data I have) so that another relative now, or in the future, can overlap anyone in the tree, then eventually get data/images that they would otherwise never have possibly seen. To make the pictures from my grandmother's attic public domain so family I have never met might see them. That's the point, it's for posterity, not for an "atta boy." If I hear from them, awesome, if I don't, why would I (or anyone else) possibly care?
I've seen a few of these "hard work" posts before, and decided to respond for the first time---it's not just you, it's the general idea that others should have to replicate another's "hard work" or they don't deserve to know. By that rationale, no scientist should be allowed to use the work of those who came before. Didn't invent calculus yourself like Newton? Start from scratch, or you don't deserve to do even basic physics.
There is a reason to have private trees, IMHO, that is to keep sketchy (guesswork, thin data) trees from being searched. I can't think of another good reason (I'm sure there might be, I just can't think of one).