It's not a waste of time to leave positive feedback to your buyers, Charley.
'They' can see it.
Yes, this issue has been brought up a bazillion times.
Is Etsy on the side of the buyer ?....of course.
And we, as the sellers who make the money for them?....not so much.
If ONE buyer bought an item that was 'personal' and didn't want the feedback seen, and then Etsy applies it across the board so that ALL buyers feed-backs can't be seen, then, that should tell you something.
I can't count how many times Sellers have asked for a change on this.
And when a seller gets negative feedback....(sometimes unjustified,) and they get upset...(understandably so), and write to Etsy support for help...help is not available. You live with the neg. feedback This is what we sometimes refer to as being held 'hostage' to neg. feedback...because buyers know...they're in the clear.
Is it fair?....well, not really, no.
Will it change?...I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
it's just one of those quirks we learn to live with on here.