Here is my proposal from that thread:
Well, my thoughts are as follows (and I have been talking about this with the other mods too).
I think Infosaturated is correct, that this place is intimidating to newcomers and, frankly, the amount of hostility and anger here lately is unhealthy. babble culture has expanded to include nastiness, snarkiness, rudeness, hostility, anger, and I also agree that the mods (okay, I'll speak for myself - I, as one mod) have given a lot more leeway for this type of behaviour to some longer-term babblers than newbies or people who don't post as frequently. It has resulted in a complete lack of self-control in some, and defensive reactions in others.
I also agree that long-term babblers who engage in this kind of behaviour get a free pass when it is seen by them, or some others, as "righteous anger". All this "righteous anger" that gets a pass - and that even I as a mod engage in occasionally - is making babble a really scary place for all but the most outgoing, most thick-skinned newcomers and occasional posters. Lately, there is so much fighting and anger. Not pleasant.
I think that, even if people have a good reason to be angry with someone else, we should start really focusing on a "no personal attacks on other babblers" policy that really, really means "no personal attacks".
Not "no personal attacks on other babblers unless you get really mad at someone."
Not "no personal attacks on other babblers unless you do it in a really passive-aggressive, snide way."
Not "no personal attacks on other babblers unless you think someone said something really bad/non-progressive/against babble policy."
Because of the really unhealthy dynamic on babble lately, I think that it should be simply, "No personal attacks on other babblers, period." No matter what.
How does it get enforced? I would prefer to enforce it without any bannings or suspensions at all, except for obvious spammers and really, really nasty trolls. Why no bannings or suspensions? Because I think bannings and suspensions reinforce the culture of anger and temper tantrums on babble by regulars. When the mods regularly use "the stick", people will feel they can engage in poor behaviour up to the point where the mods use "the stick". I think it also encourages infantile behaviour - when you treat people like children with the whole "reward/punishment" thing, then they become conditioned to act like children.
I would say it gets enforced by the mods stepping in and naming the behaviour when we see it, and then, if we need to name it again for the same person several times in one thread, asking them to leave the thread (but not others) if the behaviour becomes extreme.
We would also, of course, step in and name it if we could see that someone was baiting people and hoping for a reaction so that the mods would come down on the people who react (and by that, I mean posting stuff against babble policy, as interpreted by the moderators). But that would not absolve babblers of their responsibility to not respond with personal attacks. We are all responsible for our own behaviour, and no one "makes" anyone insult people, no matter what they say "first".
It would also, of course, be the responsibility of the moderators to ensure that when we do step in, we don't take advantage of our privilege as mods to bend the rules and be snarky about it ourselves (something that I know I do on occasion).
Perhaps we could also have threads in rabble reactions that go back to basics when it comes to interpersonal skills - how to disagree without posting personal attacks, things to do other than a knee-jerk flame reaction to offensive posts, etc.
Would this work for people, at least for a while? I know it will probably feel like a constraint, but I think it's possible to have passionate discussions without tearing each other down and intimidating all but the most thick-skinned of participants / potential participants.