I guess the question I'm really asking is, "Does PerlMonks want to be a 'polite society'?" I thought that the existence of a consideration mechanism and the guidelines for consideration seemed to indicate that yes, we do. But the votes to 'keep' the node seemed to indicate that at least a small number of monks think that no, we don't want to be 'polite' if it means we have to limit our free speech out of respect for others. I didn't understand that, and I must admit, after reading all of the various responses, I still don't entirely get it.
I think that we consider someone to be 'civilized' or 'sophisticated' or 'polite' when they are able to interact with a wide variety of people in various cultures without giving offense. I admire people who know the right fork to use in a black-tie dinner, yet are also able to hang out in a bowling alley without seeming uncomfortable. The fact that PerlMonks is a moderated, international community suggests that there are minimal standards of 'politeness' that we encourage in order to be as inclusive as possible. Using the example that ajt raises, I suspect that if qsl had posted a racial or cultural slur, no one would have voted to 'keep' the node.
There seems to be this weird, but pervasive idea that it is OK to offend people whose moral culture is different, but that other groups of people are sacrosanct. I remember when radiantmatrix argued that cultures of moral people are 'fair game' for mockery in a thread that dealt with some similar issues (Re^5: RFC: Acme::BottomsUp) -- I don't think that argument holds any water. If we want to interact with other people, sooner or later we are going to have to take their sensitivities into account (however they came by them) if we want to avoid offending them. Much as I might personally disagree with someone operating from a different metaethical perspective, I try not to say offensive things about them (or their viewpoint) here. I try to use 'reasonable' and 'moderate' language so that others who do not share my viewpoint will not be made into enemies and will still be able to listen to what I have to say. As ajt says, 'I choose to censor myself'. I think that many of us would like PerlMonks to be a 'polite society', and I don't understand those who cannot (or will not) subsume their personal freedom of speech in favor of that goal.