As I understood it, the site will not block folks for using what is considered inappropriate tone, but will rather look to see if the comments are low-level, or off-topic, or plagiarised, or otherwise clearly incompatible with the design of the site. This is what is spelled out in the founding documents.
As I understood the goal, it is to allow blunt discussion with no-holds-barred debate regarding technical matters. This was what I signed up for, it was why I felt this would be a good refereeing platform, because it would be easy in such a format to quickly figure out what is what regarding technical matters.
This form of review is very efficient, because it is so efficient, it is also very scary. It is very off-putting to those who are not used to it, or those who are complacent with traditional types of academic discussion. This is doubly so the first time they make a mistake, as the mistake is quickly pointed out, bluntly and repeatedly, and it is humiliating. I had to get used to it too, except I got used to it early.
Open policy superficially seems to costs you support, but it is the exact opposite in the long run. It is very valuable, because it makes accuracy, and in the long run gets you academics paying attention. This is how Wikipedia operated until 2008, when accuracy rates skyrocketed, and academics were forced to pay attention. Now that it is censored and blocked, it has declining accuracy, and it can be ignored. No-censorship policies remove politicsm and they will offend people, and people will complain, and people will say they are going to leave. But the people you gain over time are better than those who leave, and they are more numerous.
Due to complaints about my own comments in recent discussions, I have been warned several times to tone it down, and to not drive people away. Hard comments drive people to seek censorship first (whether you are right or wrong). This is why you need comprehending moderation, you have to be able to understand when a debate is legitimate, and when it is just hounding and harrassing people senselessly.
Although this site has only had active discussion in the reviews section for a relatively short time, I get the feeling that there there is an effort to make the site less scary to academic folks used to other places, and therefore that moderator action will be taken to restrict users freedom of expression.
To be blunt: I made some effort to help the site get attention, by suggesting the review section and its scoring, in a format I believe works well, and by suggesting monetization of this section which in my opinion is likely to succeed. I also wrote some reviews with some effort put into them. I have other reviews in preparation, and an original submission in preparation, which I hope is of good research quality.
But I am frankly scared of putting up the material now, mostly because of some email that I received regarding my tone in a dispute I had recently with another user. This is the same exact thing that happened on stackexchange, or anywhere else, and I am simply never going to go along with it. I'm sorry, I would rather die than be polite, or materially help a polite forum.
I want to know exactly what the banning policy here is, whether it is going to accept hard criticism without censorship, without niceness, and guarantee it firmly, or whether it is going to be the same kind of authority-based polite chatter you find in pre-internet media. If it's going to be the latter, please decide this now, before I expend too much effort here, because I don't see the point in contributing any original material to a site which is not 100% committed to internet-style openness and freedom from traditional censorship.
The pressure to restrict the discourse is enormous, and only if one is 100% committed to opposing it can one find the fortitude to resist. If there is no committment from the other moderators, I frankly expect to be first stripped of moderatorship and later banned here just as I was at stackexchange. I wasn't banned through an accident, or by misjudgement, I was banned because my behavior would be considered out of line in any academic discussion anywhere in the world, pre-internet. The internet allows a free discussion to develop, but only if it is left alone to develop as it goes, and complaints be damned!
You lose less than you gain, all academics were eventually forced to pay attention to usenet, then to Wikipedia. There is no way to stop openness, but there are ways to destroy it through politics within a site. The politics has already begun here, I want to know where people stand.
I hope I am not in a minority of one on this. If I am, it was a very quick sellout.