If you're being accused of being a problem in a thread about civility, and you show up to "defend" yourself by telling the person making that claim to go fuck themselves, you're just making their point for them. I don't really know RS and didn't have that opinion before this thread, nor had I made up my mind on it before he came to defend himself, but now I agree, because his immediate response was to reach for the insult battery.
I know it would never fly, so this isn't a serious suggestion, but I'd actually like ad-hominem insults to be banned. They are against the rules, really, but that's not strictly enforced. Telling anyone to fuck themselves, that they're an autist or landwhale or they should go die? Warning or ban, 100%. No-one ever needs to use insults to make their point, and they immediately inflame situations. They're low-effort - it's easier to sling an insult than actually make a point - and low-information, as all they really convey is anger. This isn't face-to-face where you might blurt something out in the moment without thinking - you can always take time to consider your wording before hitting Reply.
That's not to say that you shouldn't get repercussions for provoking people in other ways, of course. But no-one is forced to take it to that level either, and perhaps a clear-cut rule on the matter would force some second thoughts about posting the first angry or inflammatory reply that comes to mind. Of course, this will never be instigated because people will say it's curtailing their right to "justifiably" insult some people who "deserve" it or something, and that it's to protect the thin-skinned who need to care less about insults on the Internet, but I do think that these kinds of things create a broken-windows atmosphere that drags things down.
That might be the case this week, but it's not as if his absence has been particularly noticeable recently compared to nine months ago. I can