Carl, I do honestly think that some people are more sensitive to 'harsh' words than are others.
Whatever I have said to you, I have meant, but that doesn't mean that I may never change my mind ~ and I cannot remember specifics at the moment, but maybe you can.
Certainly I have never intended to be harsh or rude to you ~ or to anyone else, for that matter.
I do think that there are frequent misunderstandings on the board and I also think that some people may interpret jokes as serious comments.
And yes, I think that some people don't enjoy debates, and many of the discussions on religion have taken the form of debate ~ which can get heated and to the point, but should still never break the rules.
When you say 'it has seemed like you don't notice even in threads that have been discussed by you', you are completely correct. I don't always notice things ~ even in the threads that I post in. Sometimes things simply don't register, or I read them differently from others, perhaps. And I know that, if they break the rules, and someone else has noticed & been upset, then they will click on 'notify' and I can respond accordingly.
But I cannot be blamed for not responding to a rule break, if no-one has sent a moderator alert.
And yes, private messages are often used, to gently remind someone of a better way to word something. Sometimes I just comment on the forum. Sometimes I do both ~ whatever seems appropriate at the time.