I have had multiple complaints lately from women on our BBS about the tone in this (and sometimes other) forums. Some women feel unwelcome and uncomfortable on parts of the board, due to a very nasty tendency of some men (note the "some") to express themselves in a way that makes women uncomfortable.
I usually don't chime in on issues like this, but I'm a little bothered at how it all seems to be about women being offended. MISC has seemed pretty okay to me lately, except for that one thread about Palin. And the remarks in that thread had more to do with her being an unpopular political figure than her being a woman. People post offensive things about public figures all the time; it took a different (and uncommon) turn this time because it happened to be about an attractive female.
I'm not saying that there isn't sexist stuff said in MISC. But it goes both ways, and it doesn't seem quite fair to single out men in that thread alone. Let's be realistic, there are plenty of things that could make a woman or a man uncomfortable in various threads and forums.
I think in this case the comments did cross a line and perhaps it would have been better to just acknowledge that the thread took a bad turn and perhaps the moderators should have closed it up a little sooner, or whatever it is that you moderators do.
Without dredging private BR stuff into the public domain, I certainly feel able to add my voice in public to those feeling that the idea of extending "flame protection" to public figures is very much a bridge too far in terms of moderation.
I think I agree with this. You don't want the general tone of any thread to be terribly hostile, but it seems unreasonable to moderate comments about public figures to the same extent that you would moderate comments about fellow posters. That doesn't mean a free for all either, of course.
Don't know if any of this makes sense, but as a frequent poster in MISC, I wouldn't want to see any large shifts in policy.