I realize that I'm very new here (only signed up yesterday), but far from new to forums in general. I've learned a thing or two from ten years of participating on forums, helping to operate and moderate a few, and owning my own.
Someone asked, "Is this not a Democracy?" and that is a great question, with what I believe is a simple answer.
No, it isn't a democracy. No Internet forum is. Every forum exists on a web domain owned by someone. Whoever owns it, pays for it, and decides who gets to participate, and chooses those who moderate and administrate it. The fact is, whoever owns the forum has the right to administer and moderate it as they see fit. Period.
This leads me to a second point.
"There is a line we all know not to cross. If you do, you will be moderated."
Well, my response to that is, "No," and "Yes."
The fact is, we don't all know exactly where that line is. Not always. If we did know, most of us would never cross it. Some would anyway, to be sure, but the point is, we don't necessarily know what is okay, and what isn't, until those lines are crossed. Yes, if we cross them, then we know where the line is, because we are then, "moderated."
I don't think the goal here is for us all to know exactly where "the lines" are, and to restrict our comments so as to be certain never to cross those lines, though we may not know exactly where they are. I think the goal is simply to recognize that this IS a public forum, and as such, disagreements are bound to happen. With that in mind, as reasonable adults, we ought to be able to say what we feel, always keeping in mind that somebody may not like what we say, or the way we say it.
Things will, and do, get heated sometimes. So what? If the moderators feel things have gone too far, and should be squelched, well that's their job. This isn't our sight. It isn't our forum. It's theirs.
I think of a forum as a place like any real place in the world, to which we have been invited. I feel forums should be treated no differently than you would treat someone's home or business.
Before you post anything, ask yourself, "If this were Fish's living room, would I say it?"
If the answer is no, don't. If the answer is yes, go ahead and post it. BUT, if after making your post, you are asked to refrain from making such posts, or asked to leave, or even told to leave, think of it as if you were right there in Onkel's living room. What would you do?
Make a fuss, and keep it up, or drop it?
We have all been invited to this place, which is NOT ours. I think the point is simply to respect those who own and run things here. We don't have to agree with them, but we should respect them.
Those who never wonder, never know.