Some thoughts from your ol' buddy Kurgan
I agree that debates should be had in the Senate Chambers, it's a very good place to have them.
No, flaming people isn't a good idea, and flaming moderators is an especially bad idea (we have feelings too!).
No, moderators should not abuse their power, and especially not appear to be abusing their power to win debates. Far be it from any of us to do such a thing.
No, the censor is not perfect, and never will be, it's merely designed to cut down on some of the typical swearing that goes on. Ideally people shouldn't type swears at all when making conversation on the forums (what's the need for it, really? it adds nothing to arguments, only to flames, and blanked out we can "know what you intended" easily enough). When something slips out the basic censor should catch it.
Yes, moderators should try to set a good example (not always possible, but that's an ideal to shoot for). Just remember we're human too.
Yes, sending PM's and/or emails with complaints first before publically complaining is a good idea.
And yes, trolling is a bad idea. What is trolling? It's deliberately angering someone by say, posting flame-bait or acting stupid with the hope that they will respond with a flame. The goal of trolling is to upset people and encourage them to do stupid things. It just drags down everyone with the person doing the trolling, and is a waste of everyone's time.
Should moderators stay out of debates to avoid possible abuses? That depends on the moderator I guess. I like a good debate now and then myself, and I hate to think people assume I will use my "position" to win, rather than my debating skillz (or lack thereof). ; )
With great power, comes great responsibility, as a comic book character once said.
Suffice to say, moderators are not tiny gods, rather they are part of a collective of forum "leaders." So if a moderator is abusing his power, he's either doing it without the knowledge of his peers or against their wishes (and will be dealt with). I don't like to say this, but should such a thing occur, it's best to talk to another moderator or admin to see if this is really how they're supposed to act (assuming talking to the mod in question privately doesn't work out).
If one of us makes a mistake, call us on it, but try to do it in a tactful manner, so as not to start a fight. If you piss one of us off, it's harder to think rationally, since a person naturally gets defensive. And let's let bygones by bygones... Who really cares about an argument you had with somebody on the internet? Does it really change your life that much?
On the other hand, everyone should realize that people DO have feelings, and going out of your way to hurt somebody's feelings just makes you a jerk. Is that really such a noble goal in life? How would you feel if you were on the other end?
That said, people can't expect to just flame mods and get away with it, while looking cool in front of their friends. We've got feelings too, man!
And yes, I know I don't hang around here much (not until the game comes out anyway!), but I just had to comment.
Go in peace, y'all...