Steel, I was short with you this week. I'll try and choose my words better next time. My apologies.
You were? I honestly don't remember. And there's certainly no reason to apologize.
As to the board's "tone" in general:
I think one thing folks forget about is that with so diverse a group there will be a lot of different communication styles. Some folks are more amiable, some more expressive, some more direct, and some more analytical.
Those more "amiable" will often see a post from an expressive or more "driver-like" poster and be taken aback by the post's perceived "tone". An expressive might see a passage from someone whose communication style is more analytical and think it's "dry" or "devoid of emotion". A driver might see a post from a more amiable person and stop reading after about one sentence if the post is more than 50 words long.
And then there are trolls. These folks are the exceptions and they'll go away soon enough if one of two things happens. Ignore them or beat them senseless with irrefutable data. I think we all know which track my train runs on in that regard.
Personally, I think that most discussion that spirals out of control is due to either a difference in communication style resulting in perceived slights, or by emotionally-charged rants. Can't do anything about the irrational, so I worry about what I can (the rational folk). Disagreements are going to happen though. It's inevitable. Unavoidable.
IMHO, I think we'd all do well to take a step back from time to time, hazard a deep breath, and understand that we may have to adjust our own communication style to better "fit" the needs of others. I'll be the first to say I'm as guilty as the next guy (or girl) of forgetting that at times, and that's something I'll continue to try to work on.