One thing that I've seen a lot lately is people questioning the tone rather than the content of questions and answers. Actually, I've seen it a lot period... recalling a few older debates.
One of the great things about sites like this is the breadth of viewpoints and experiences. I've learned a lot about the differences in ways that changes in culture and language alter the experience of games, and the way that they are played. It helps to give new perspective on old games and old ways of playing.
However, when we choose to take offense at something that might be grating, yet not insulting, we alter the character of the answer, and I'm not so sure that's what we're trying to do. Or is it? Are we after a site devoid of the passion behind the hobby... warts and all? The struggles between RAW and homebrew approaches- those are the things that define gaming and bring up good discussions. As long as its not handled in a flame-like manner, should those things even be on the table?
I'm just trying to get a discussion going about the site's direction and purpose beyond what's in the help as it doesn't really address these types of issues.
A mild example:
Look at Sardathrion's answer and the comments. And then look at the history. Is the part that was added a part of the answer? Or a way to explain around the 'meh'?
A more fractious example:
In this case, mxyzplk didn't budge, and didn't remove the word cretin, though there was a whole meta thread about the use of the word. And I, for one, appreciate that he stood his ground. Look at the conversations and answers generated by the phrasing of the question.
There's a principle that I never thought of that was posted on meta a while ago- how to be more awesome, and generate traffic for the site. And that's by making the site have personality, not just be some dry treatise and resource for answers. But somewhere that people want to come to and participate in; not just when they have a question, but to stay around an participate. This site only works if people participate. It's not a discussion site, for sure... but just mechanically voting down things because they don't sit right with you without any explanation or trying to help the answers be better, or trying to sanitize anything that hit's you wrong seems... wrong. Very much so.
Can't we be civil and ourselves at the same time?