Trouble with all these 'acceptable reasons' is, no one actually KNOWS if your bothering another camper when you turn it on. And any time you turn a generator on, you're probably bothering at least someone else if there's anyone within hearing.
There are sites all over the country and in most parks for electric, either plug in or generators. The primative sites most often attract those of us who don't want to hear it any time - so, it just take a little courtesy to leave that noise home.
Fact: When we camp with no generator, the potential to bother anyone with our noise is non-existant -- when you run a generator, the potential to bother someone always exists whether you know it or care about it or not.
As mentioned, you need a generator to keep you batteries charged and run highpower applicances. If you conserve electricity in your camper the less you need to use the generator. You will also hear them fire up right away in the morning. That's most likely for those that want to use their automatic drip coffee maker rather than good ole cowboy coffee. Odds are your camper does not have an inverter, so people will use a genereator to run any of their 120V applicance. Inverters allow you to convert 12V battery to 120V. The can range from $5 to thousands of dollars. You can run a TV off a $50 inverter but will need to spend about $400 to run a coffee maker. The more power the device the sooner the battery will drain.
My MH came with a generator ... I use it when I need to as long as I respect quite time. I don't run it more then I have to because I rather not listen to the noise either. Not all of us have the time and $$ to outfit our RV with solar panels and the rest of the stuff you need to run off the grid without a generator. I'm not full time and for the few days I run the generator, it is cost effective to me. Just my opinion.
I have a feeling a few of the anti-generator guys may feel a bit different if they were camping in the east with high temps, high humidity and low elevation.
We don't go camping to sit in the camper. We are gone nearly everyday all day. Hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, sightseeing, jeeping etc... We are certainly not ones to sit around all day with a generator running.
We have an adequate battery bank and inverter just like the solar guys. We also have a honda 3000 inverter and a high output smart charger. We use it as needed without disturbing most everyone.
The name of the game is flexibility in your RV ... having it equipped so as to be able to deal with any situation. For example, try rockhounding, or fossil hunting, or ghost town visiting in the West in the summer with your RV if you think you don't need remote drycamp air conditioning capability powered by the proper generator. Otherwise, IMHO, you either have somewhat of a specialized RV or have one with full capabilities but are using it at less than it's full capabilities. We like to use ours in whatever way is needed to keep us comfortable wherever and whenever.
That's also what all the big bucks are for that you lay out for a self-contained RV that shouldn't need hookup campgrounds.
We toured the South and East in 2009 for 10 weeks in July and August and did indeed find some beautifull dry camping back there. At 90+ deg temperature and 90% humidity - the built-in generator made it possible to keep from getting heat stroke and made it possible to sleep.
Thankfully our rig didn't have only big batteries, and inverters on board. Solar also would have been of very little use, as many of the Eastern/Southern camping areas are nicely shaded.
P.S. We and any campers nearby couldn't hear our or their generators above the insanely loud cicadas, anyway.
live in the East at low Elevation. I go to high elevation to camp, or to the beach. I agree you need AC, and so electricity to camp in the flatlands of the East Coast. That is what Full Hookup Campgrounds are for.
Full hookup campgrounds are getting way too pricey for many RV folks. But even more important to some - full hookup campgrounds are way too crowded, full of non-generator racket, and un-beautiful for many RV folks.
We prefer full-service camping but doing it completely self-contained in primitive spots. Full-service camping includes such generator things as: Steaming vegetables in the microwave, charging batteries with no daytime sun or at night, cooling off with air conditioning day or night, and drying the dog thoroughly and quickly after she has been bathed to remove the covering of dust. When not using our generators for these things back in camp we hike, fish, photograph, explore, etc., with only the sounds of nature.
Generators make the self-contained RV picture complete. They can be backed up by combining them with solar or fuel cells if one really wants to do it up right for ultimate flexibility.