I did SL 5x5 for 8 months and I loved it. I didn't start everything out at the bar. I went up to 95 lb 5x5 on the squat my first day and I think 100 on the bench. The first deadlift and press day I was at 135 1x5 for deads and 65 5x5 on the press. I lack training experience(only two years) so I don't know if SL could have been better, but it worked great for me. It worked great for a few others too I know that. I've never thought the 5x5 squats was too much volume until I reached around 240 lbs and went to 3x5 eventually to 1x5... The SL articles on how to perform the movements were decent and enough to get a beginner going in the right track, but nothing huge. I haven't read all of SS, but it has much more detail on the lifts.
As for the community, I've never spent any time in the SS community. Before Mehdi decided he wanted his ass wiped because of all the great he had done and decided to charge for access to his forums, I was there a decent bit. I got advice from a few of the strong members, and from a dude named Jake. He was my age and did some good things with his lifting. However, most of the community was full of older members and people who hadn't been lifting long- like myself(well, I'm young) Some of the advice I got was great, but it was rarely anything ground breaking looking back on it. It was mainly average lifters(where I'd say I am now) trying to offer advice to beginning lifters(where I was). They proved helpful, but it's not the kind of advice you might get from Dave Tate which is to be expected.
Onto the diet, I am glad for Mehdi's get strong, lose fat approach even if it was something I've never really needed at this point in my life. Being the vain, young, dumb, kid I am, getting too fat just for extra pounds and muscle hasn't been my idea of building a good physique. It's no one's. Yet, on some websites, the "eat, eat, eat, eat..." advice offered is often misread by a lot of people. I was one of them, but I followed the advice I read on SL by Mehdi and the community and have managed to stay lean. (Although, I think fat, muscular people look freakin awesome and I wouldn't mind looking like that in 5 or 6 years).
I don't know if this is what OP was asking for, but I'm just going off of BTB's points. SL has potential to be great if you're young I believe.