I don’t mind whether the criterion is bytes or characters for individual challenges. I believe that the challenge author should be free to decide this. The answerer should also be free to mention both the byte or character count, and upvoters should (and are) free to upvote whatever they want.
What I would object to is if the community were to attempt to impose criteria or restrictions that make no sense. For example, the code-golf info page used to state that Unicode characters should be encoded as UTF-8. I edited this (and my edit was apparently accepted by the reviewers) because, well, why shouldn’t I be allowed to use a language that understands UTF-16, or DOS codepage 437 or any other character encoding? Why is this choice more controversial than choosing to write in GolfScript or J?
Now, personally I try not to take it all too seriously. We are here to have fun and to play games, not to fight a war of ideology. If it were vitally important that I minimize the byte count in every entry I post here, I could easily write an interpreter that understands a variety of golfy languages encoded as gzip or arithmetic encoding. That would win the challenge on pure byte count, but it would be boring and it would take away from the fun that this site represents.
I left the site in 2011 out of frustration with GolfScript and J, but I came back because I have learnt to take it less seriously. I now upvote answers in any language, including GolfScript, whether they are short or simply clever or interesting, and my hope is that some people would find it in their heart to do the same and not take Sclipting too seriously.
By the way, the objection against Sclipting is ironic because even when counting characters instead of bytes, GolfScript beats Sclipting most of the time. I don’t know if that’s because Sclipting is somehow badly designed or I’m just not clever enough to write really short programs in it, but either way, it’s not important. To me, what’s important is that we all have fun, and I’m having fun writing programs in Sclipting (or even Funciton, which is grossly unsuitable for golfing :) ).