My personal view is that such discussions should be held over at fight club where bare knuckles seems to be the mode of discussion. Whether Cam was right or wrong, and my opinion on it, is not really germaine; I'm not Cam, and not burdened with his responsibilities.
I have found that lack of civility is the quickest way to kill a thread, valid thread or invalid. Interjecting personal attacks and hurtful sarcasm do nothing to advance the quest for knowledge. Those could perhaps be best left to fight club, as in; "meet me over at fight club" substituting for "you wanna step outside?". More often than should happen, a newbie is insulted and disappears without getting his question really answered. If we all know it all there is little purpose for the forum in the first place.
I would suggest that, if you wish to post "sailaway you're an ass and full of crap" you make a note referring me to such a post on fight club and then proceed with your well reasoned and thoughtful explanation of why what I have posted is lubberly. This will allow me to respond to your unenlightened view of my perfectly reasonable opinion and continue the thread towards enlightenment for all. I can then choose, or not choose, to respond to your personal attack on fight club. Very often there are opinions that are not perfectly expressed and it takes some time in the thread to sort out exactly what was meant. The personal attacks tend to short-circuit the thread before that happens.
This forum does not lend itself well to the thin-skinned. Attempts to impose political correctness, i believe, should be resisted. If offense is given, a quick apology should be the order of the day, but too quick a trigger on the "offense" button merely diverts us all into a meaningless battle. I, for one, refer to another member as a Portagee. If he took offense to that I am sure he would PM me and the practise would stop immediately. What would be uncalled for is some self-righteous no-nothing jumping in to call me a racist all the while knowing nothing of the relationship I have with that fine gentleman. If someone is offended, a PM or a diversion to fight club would seem to be the more reasonable approach.
Much more is revealed about a member's character by the tenor of their posts than by the actual content of said posts. There are members that I would love to spend an evening talking with and others I would not cross the street to greet. Usually the difference has little to do with their sailing opinions, but rather the way in which those opinions are expressed.
Now to the thread in question. I thought the original post, with the term abbreviated, was a reasonable approach and Robert Ganier's subtle suggestion of a different term was an improvement on that as well. As a matter of history the term is out-dated and implies an uncouthness in the user who continues to employ it. Whether or not it implies more than that I cannot say; only God is familiar with the hearts of unknown men. A gentle "Ahem" should be sufficient to remedy the situation. Flying off the handle with the verbal equivalent of shooting the Archduke Francis Ferdinand is not the answer. If the member in question is, in fact, a racist that fact will soon reveal itself and a quiet shunning will do more to eliminate him, or at least refine his behavior than anything else. Mounting the ramparts to refight the Civil War is mere puffery designed to only enhance the member's own personal self-image. I suspect that most of those who went off on the topic did not bother to post a PM to the effect that they were offended, prefering the public forum. Puffery.
If I have offended anyone in the past, I hereby offer my unconditional apology for doing so. On issues, I have strong opinions. On persons, I try to be mindful that I cannot know them as I might if they lived next door. I try to treat them, with greater or lesser success, as if they did live next door. I'd hate to think that their first reaction upon meeting me would be a punch in the snout. Mind you, I do relish the give and take of the site and have to be conscious of not crossing the ethereal line. That being said, this is a sea-going site and a certain amount of salty flavor should be expected (and PC does not live in salt water). It's Cam's job to keep the salinity down to a heavy spray and prevent the shipping of green seas. I think he's steering fine in a confused sea and should not be relieved until we drop the harbor pilot.