Ideally, this is a place for intelligent and informed discussion. I like reading from the many diverse people who achieve that. But to foster such dialogue, it helps to have some mods tossing the drunken bums out of the discussion when they start getting disruptive. One thing that may have changed lately (or else I just became aware of it) are some repeated spambot attacks. That has to be a drag on the mods who have to delete them. This would seem to leave them less time to do moderating. Another thing that seemed like maybe a covert kind of attack was the rise of threads like this, except raised to tie up the mods in debate over whether a ban decision was appropriate. Mods are people, they have a defense mechanism just like you or me, and can be driven unwittingly into a bad place, by insults, bickering and childish trolling. I like to think of them as generous people who volunteer the time to maintain just enough decorum to promote intelligent discussion. They rarely get any public thanks from the folks who benefit from their efforts. Some people I liked reading have been banned. Hopefully they will be back. I'm not in a position to say whether the bans were just or not. I just know that, once the limits were explained to me, I try to stick to them. I'm as prone to mess up as anyone else and someday I may go off the hook and get banned. But if that happened, I wouldn't blame the mods. Hopefully your friends will be back. My guess is, they prefer this site or they wouldn't have invested the time here. They might say they like it elsewhere, but I suspect they will encounter the same issue--to ban or not to ban, since it affects the quality and diversity of the clientele. The other side is: new folks wander in from time to time, old folks come back, and regular folks occasionally have a great day and lend something really awesome.