I have no problem with site users keeping each other in check. This site went well beyond that for quite some time. With everything there is a balance.
I'm having trouble remembering exactly when moderation was much heavier and inconsistently applied. I came over to rc.com after wreck.climbing was already well in decline in non-spam posts. (Seeing a trend in my patterns?) While I'm not a fan of back and forth squabbling when it's clearly stopped being productive or people being dicks for the sake of it, I'd be much more likely to bail if moderation is too heavy-handed.
On another note, some people have suggested catering to the n00b. Moving away from the cliche "do a search" or "you're gonna die" replies would be nice, but you can't maintain a community around shoe and first rope discussions.