bagder, your statistics and the comments you base on them certainly prove to me that you can use statistics to back up any point you like :)
In that one year, there are suddenly 746 extra people with a journeyer status, while at the start there were only 313 apprentices. It could be that lots of experienced people hadn't bothered yet to join Advogato, but if you look at the recent joins list, this seems highly unlikely.
So yes, I do believe there is cert-inflation (also because I've become a master, a status I certainly haven't earned). Still, I'm not sure if it is really a bad thing. We certainly shouldn't attach much real value to these certifications, and the inflation certainly helps everyones ego :)
That ego thing is a good reason not to start with negative certifications I think. It might be interesting to have the status a person receives be based on a weighed average of the certs instead of on the higest one he gets from someone who is capable of actually giving that type of certification. Maybe raph will start experimenting with that if the diary certification is a success