Wonderful ThompsonPen, I follow you and your forum discussions. I like them. You provoke some innocence and delicassy. So often I do not engage. I am brash and hard on people. I like my crap being called. I learn from it.
Back around 1997 I became active on the internet. They were lists then, not forums until about 2000. We were cutting a swath of cloth to develop reigns and protocols on our new real Internet. I do reckon there were a few around that had compassion and maybe even a few with under 150 IQs. We were nasty and brutal with each other. I was a General Assembly of ICANN chair. That developed the wonderful protocols for forums.
If you would have stumbled upon a debate in those days, you would have had to have conviction and a burning thrust to stay in the game. It was communist against capitalists, and progressive against conservative and techie against polliwogs. Foul words and condemnation and ridicule had to be filtered by human eyes, google could not approach content and the FCC could not regulate. There was no big brother. I by golly damn me we help build one.
I burst on to a political scene in 2001, went to Melbourne, went to Paris and back to San Francisco, and me and my people argued rights to freedom of expression and I reckon many fought to censor and keep polite our airways of the internet.
By about 2004 commercial crap won out. Folks, I suppose like you wanted to stop free speech and replace with "common decency". We fought in the UN, we fought the WTO and we fought the G8. But we lost. Today google and hubpages can censor your work. And censor me, because I run a foul of your sense of dignity. And guys like Epi, and ahorseback and me are curtailed in our speech.
You won. Timid and shy and worried beat out freedom of expression.
You should feel safe anywhere because big brother will protect you so as not to offend their bottom line.