Just dropping my piece on top of what CGI has said while it's still in my head;
Since I've been a mod (Two years now) I've noticed the way in which users and mod interact has sort of been a shifting tide going back and forth, although there's definitely been a progression on how we've moderated, and despite opinions, we're actually a LOT more lenient now than when I first started, and even back then, compared to teams when I first joined the forums in 2010... wow!
CGI has helped introduce new was of getting across to users, the most obvious one, as he's mentioned is PMing them rather than a warning/ban, he's also pushed for us to use more thread warnings/announcements rather than going in on users, basically letting them know their behaviour isn't up to scratch and giving them a chance to correct it first... and we also have additional tools in the works (This is the part where I say "Thanks @TalonMan <3") , one of which is a thread ban, it basically just bans a user from a specific thread, not the whole forums, which is basically a lighter form of moderation that I think you're sort of getting at.
I'm not really sure if I can talk about any of the other features yet, since not everything is ready and I'm assuming we'll have a thread about it at some point, or it'll be posted in the Mod Thread, but yeah... we're definitely working on trying to figure out what's best for the community in terms of moderation etc. and have been for quite a while, lol.