You nailed it man, imo you're absolutely right and agree fully.
I've expressed this same feeling on a couple of other threads that were a bit related and, that is, in fact the current scenario here concerning the moderation. However, it's also true and i agree with some people in the sense that moderation should include some flexibility when evaluating the cases which could result in a severe ban... like many have stated, there should exist some differences between how things are handled in the tennis related section (GM, etc.) and the NT area. Not saying there should exist totally different rules for each section because that wouldn't make much sense and, on the contrary, could lead to more chaos and confusion, but just a change in how them are considering the context in which things are being said by all of us posters.
I've always tried to battle and get through some of the endless trolling and madness that sometimes takeover GM and wondered how is it possible that so many people get away with the things the say, and that's were your notion clearly stands and makes absolute sense: how is it possible that all that bashing (both player and personal between posters bashing) occurs and 0 action is taken? in many other sites, like it has been said, that would simply never occur and the sanctions are way stricter.
Now, truth be told, that's what makes it even more difficult for the mods here. GM and NT are polar opposites in regards of the atmosphere, context of things being said, etc. for a big big part.
Discretion is a great tool, but it has to be used wisely and only when the time calls for it.
The thing is, if the idea of much stricter moderation was proposed, I think it would be rejected by the majorly, which proves my point. A lot of people come here, primarily to cause trouble, secondarily to talk about tennis. That shouldn't be the way things work. The only way forward is to filter out these people who contribute nothing constructive to the forum AND
do little other than insult people. I'm not suggesting that you should be zapped if you insult someone else straight away, but it would be reasonable to me to permanently ban someone who uses discriminatory remarks more than once. I can accept that it could happen once, 'in the heat of the moment'. If it happens twice, then they person hasn't learned their lesson and they deserve to be dismissed for good.
It comes back to my point about discretion though, if somebody is on the forum and not really doing anything apart from trolling, let's not hang around and wait until they accumulate enough infraction points. Make it known to them immediately that this isn't the place to come and cause that sort of trouble, and people will stop doing it.
For me, permanent bans are handed out too sparingly, and often too late to act as an effective deterrent, because long-standing members still think that insults and discriminatory remarks aren't out of place on here. I suggest the moderators shouldn't be scared to stand up and take more severe action sometimes. I know this rather opposes what many others say, but it's truly what I believe the forum needs.