...Yeah. I've always respected you and you've done yourself no harm with this post. It's nice to have your views on the matter like this, and nice to know you do care about making the moderating feel more organic and less... dictatorial. But at least from the outside, I do get the feeling not every mod shares that mentality.
I don't remember the moderations being any less or more lenient when I joined and in the time I've been here, but I don't recall reading as many complaints back in the day. Maybe that's because they were stricter, I suppose, but I don't feel that was the case. No, what I get the feeling is happening, and your comments on the subject kinda back it up, is that moderations now seem to be a lot more objective, meaning you go head on into obvious offences (as you put it yourself, "fanboy" or "troll"), but at the same time it feels like certain users sometimes get away with visibly bad behavior because they can be ambiguous enough about it that it doesn't demand instant action when looking strictly at the rules. That was the case with quickrick, for example: kind of an undeniably toxic person, who continued to be toxic for a very long period before finally getting banned. I feel he wouldn't have lasted anywhere near as long in previous eras, and maybe that's because they were stricter, but I think it's moreso because of how he twisted the rules to his benefit just enough for him to be able to troll, and that trolling inevitably will bait in 'victims' into striking back with more direct offences and thus, getting banned for it.
Whatever the feeling is among the mod team, it's clear that that's created fear of them among regular users. I remember a few months ago when I started questioning pwerlvlamy in a discussion and several people immediately came to me privately warning me that I could get banned for that, despite agreeing with me. In this very post you talk about how I sort of contradict myself a few times, well... I wouldn't fully admit it, but deep down it's because I'm afraid of criticizing the mod team. In the end, I kinda know I'm not getting in trouble for saying that, partly because of this reputation I think I've earned of being a 'good user', but the fear is there and it can't exist for no reason.
Again, very good critiques and compliments!
To the fear thing — nah. Civilized, cordial, and constructive critiquing are all part of this. We need to know where we're not reaching our best so we can try to correct the issues. It's only when people take things too far will they find themselves in trouble.
So far, nothing you've said is anything close to that. Like I said, I appreciate how cordial you've been (in fact, nearly everyone in here has [those who haven't have already been dealt with] and that is actually very appreciated).
Sounds like a plan!