i think i need to clarify some things, so i'm going to be completely open about why we edit posts. you are conflating 3 separate things here.
1. insults towards members
by and large insulting posts are responded to. we either remove it, ask the poster to remove it, or leave it but give a clear message about why that needs to stop. this depends on how the mod sees it, and often on the relationship between the posters.
some posts are not responded to. we can't guarantee that we see everything, that we read every post in detail, or that we don't have days when we are simply too busy. we're not perfect, but by and large we respond.
this is a sports forum, and we expect that people will make lots of negative comments about sports figures. we extend this, in general, to the other types of discussions on this board and step in when we consider things to be offensive. typically this works pretty well. what does not work, though, is a forum where everyone just throws verbal hand grenades at each other all the time. we like rf because a certain level of respect towards posters is expected, and the discussions generally don't spiral into flame wars. we ask you to win the argument by making good points, not by being obnoxious. to me, that's the basic premise that makes this such a good community. i don't really care too much about the insult - hell, most of the time i agree with it - but i don't like what it does to the quality of the discussion.
let me be clear here - it is perfectly ok to say jose is a pylon, but it is not ok to say that miketo is a moron. this is not because moron is a bad word, but because it makes the discussions shitty when people are asswipes towards one another.
2. prejudice and bigotry
we edit posts and remove words we consider to be offensive. like point #1, this is also an issue of raising the level of discourse because words like that are trigger points for people and we want to foster a space free from intolerance. there's a perfect description of how we see this in the forum rules. you can read them here:
Raptors Forum | Toronto Raptors
Forums & Message Boards - Announcements in Forum : Toronto Raptors
3. unintentional or hidden prejudice and bigotry
additionally, there are other words that can be offensive to people, but that are perhaps not commonly known to be offensive. retard is a good example of this. so instead of simply censoring the word, which, for the most part we don't do, i typically send the poster a pm with the request that the read this thread and think about it. they usually go back and remove it themselves.
if it is used to insult a poster, as described above, it would be removed as part of the insult, not because of the word itself.
lastly, all of the above is at the discretion of the mods and admins
. this is an oligarchy, with the primary purpose to reduce dick-heads
and create a space for fun discussion.