STI/Ergo are certainly more convenient and are the only shifters that are accessible while you are standing. This is not a minor point.
My experience with their reliability has been very good. I've had two sets of 105 8-speed STI's last over 30,000 miles each and have 10,000 miles on my current 105 9-speed STI's. My knowledge of other rider's experience is equally encouraging. The only "premature" failure I'm aware of came after 9000 miles on the bike of a rider I consider abusive to his equipment.
If maintenance is a selling point, Campagnolo's Ergo levers are rebuildable and can be made to work well with Shimano components by using a $35 J-tek adapter.
Barcons are less mechanically complex and offer a friction option if all else fails. They are easier to access than downtube shifters but not nearly as convenient as STI's.
BTW, Fred's comment about barcons being easier for multiple downshifts is not really germane as STI's allow 4-cog downshifts with one lever sweep and two sweeps will cover the entire cassette in a split second. Even the pros think this is fast enough.