the mini-14 hate I've seen has been entirely on the internet from mall ninja's justifying spending 2.5k on an AR.
Well, here is some lack of preference (not close to hate) from someone who has never owned a $2500 AR, isn't a mall ninja and doesn't have to justify anything. I have two ARs, a Rock River Varmiter (bought for $850) and a cheap frankengun I put together from parts that were on sale (total cost around $500). A ranch rifle goes for what now, $650? Both have had thousands of rounds put through them. Neither has had any hiccups.
I borrowed my cousin's Mini-14 ranch rifle because it looked fun. It is the older thin barrel type. It was fun to shoot. I found the ergonomics to be far inferior as well as the accuracy. I won't say the accuracy was horrible, but it wasn't the same as my AR's - not even close. Reliability, as long as you used only the Ruger factory mags, was comparable. For the record my cousin (who owned the rifle) had pretty much the same things to say.
I don't hate the rifle, but I would probably never buy one and I think the AR is the superior weapon. I think most of what people interpret as "hate" is a similar attitude. I see a lot more "hate" from Mini-14 owners going the other direction.