Not in the same way. "If you take one item from column A, you must also take one from column E" is vastly different from "If you take fast skimmer land raiders with manticore turrets, you must also field three assault squads with holy hand grenades of antioch."
Its exactly the same.
The way you're describing it, people should have been forced to directly suffer the impact of the negative Traits choices. By that logic, all C:CSM players should be forced to take at least one unit of Possessed or Spawn because they chose the Chaos codex and it has those units in it, and those units are a weakness of the codex. Space Wolf players should be forced to take at least one unit of Biker or Jump Pack Blood Claws because they chose the SW codex and it has those units in it, and they're considered a weakness of the codex. Lather, rinse, repeat with the weak points in the various codices filling in as the drawbacks in the Traits system.
It actually trained people to cheesemonger, even if the results were kept at the moderate level by the overall power level of the codex.
So... people were cheesemongering with the traits and... only achieving the power level that was designed into the codex?
There's 2 reasons to make choices in an army list: an effective, competitive army list and army compositions that fit the fluff. Playing to your weaknesses
in an effort to not be considered a "cheesemonger" fit neither
of those concepts.
Its very close to saying things like this: Blood Angels players have chosen the beneficial Trait to have Assault Marines in their Troops slot, and chosen the draback Trait of not being allowed to take more than 1 Thunderfire Cannon in their list. Therefore Blood Angels players who stack up Assault Marines in their list and don't take a Thunderfire Cannon are cheesemongers.
The traits were a perfectly viable, non-overpowered (by your own admission) method of representing divergent Chapters.
And this is sorely missing in the 5th edition codex.
GW would do well to reinstitute a system like the traits. There are only a relative handful of Chapters described by GW versus how many really exist in the fluff. Special Characters are neat, but being forced to take an HQ choice that isn't customizable in the slightest to get the army flavor you want is distasteful to many players for a number of reasons. Differentiating any particular force of Astartes needs customization driven by player choice over the capabilities and weaknesses of the brand of Astartes in question. The choices need to be balanced, of course, and they need to be balanced better than they currently are. As an example, Salamanders with Vulkan: in giving up the choice of falling back (which is handy in certain situations, but it is hardly a massive drawback to lose it), they gain twin-linked Meltas, Flamers, and Thunder Hammers (which is handy in many, if not all, situations- definitely a large benefit.)