It is impossible to be sure when someone is inventing stories on an Internet site, so I cannot guarantee that no-one has ever lied to the forum. That's just the way the Internet is. But I didn't perceive lies in that thread, and I see no reason to believe that the poster, or anyone else, should have laughed at your post.
It is important that 'notify' be used, if someone breaks a rule ~ otherwise I / we cannot know that needs to be looked at ~ and, possibly, dealt with.
I have noticed that there is less and less debate on the forum, yet you see a forum that has become more caustic ~ so maybe the two don't actually go together.
I don't really know what you mean about 'gentler' areas becoming caustic. I moderate all areas ~ when notified ~ but my personal discussions tend to be mostly in the 'general' area. However, I have seen the displeasure generated amongst some long-term members, about the behaviour of some new members, and, while I think that genuine bad behaviour has to be dealt with, I also think that, sometimes, innocent people may be blamed.
That's my opinion ~ I may be wrong ~ but I don't think that someone should be punished, simply because someone else is assuming
that s/he is 'a troll'. Furthermore, there are times when I, too, suspect that 'something is up', but I feel that I have to give people the benefit of the doubt, until I am sure one way or the other ~ that seems fair to me. I don't want to make false accusations. I feel that it is wrong to ban people, simply because they irritate a certain group of members. There is an 'ignore' facility if they want to use it.
As I said, when there are camps with each 'side' complaining about the other, it is impossible to satisfy everyone. I try to do what is right ~ or best ~ and to explain my actions as best I can. No-one is perfect, especially in unwinnable situations.
If someone breaks a rule, or behaves inappropriately, and I am made aware of it, then I will respond accordingly. Sometimes people simply need the chance to settle down and learn how things work.
Regarding harsh words, I am wondering if, perhaps, I seem to be more accepting of them than others are, simply because I receive so many of them and I try to just put up with them. (Thankfully, I also receive many kind words!) If I do get upset, then my family will say that it is what everyone should expect on a world-wide Internet forum, and that we are lucky that things are generally so friendly.
My advice to everyone is that they should read through their posts, before submitting, to check that they haven't unwittingly said anything, which could be interpreted as rude or unpleasant in any way. And, if they are angry, and the harsh words are deliberate, then they should go and calm down before posting.
Similarly, if someone thinks that a post, which seems harsh in some way, has been directed at them, then I feel that they should double-check, to be certain that their suspicions are correct, before assuming that they have been insulted. As I said, I truly believe that some upset is caused simply by misunderstanding ~ and also as a result of jokes which may go wrong, because they are not taken as intended.
And, of course, people don't know what is going on behind the scenes ~ not just in my private messages, or Lisa's, but in everyone's ~ because there is the public side of the forum and the private side.
Anyway, I try to do my best.