I write long replies - that's what I do - so get ready for a book.
Firstly, I'll respond directly to the messages in this thread:
Yes. It was.
No. The replies themselves were not what was being condemned as rude, but the act of jacking the thread. As I understand it, pyro's response addressed a sentiment that was posted in the thread as seen as an extension of a systemic attitude that has been cropping up rencetly. His post addressed the sentiment, but that thread was not the proper place to hold that discussion at length. As you can see, pyro has reposted those replies in this thread. It is not our intention to stifle your concerns, we merely wish those concerns to be properly organized.
In our official capacity, yes, mods lock threads, edit out naughty bits, and generally keep order. However, we are not simply protocol-keeping robots. In our capacity as members, we have just as much right as any other member to express our opinion. Likewise, you as a member have every right to disregard those opinions.
The only questions I've seen shot down in such a manner were questions that didn't need to be asked - feature requests that were already in the Popular Feature Requests thread, questions whose answers are the first result on searchpaint.net, that sort of thing. Do not confuse terseness with rudeness - Rick posts a simple "No" all the time, because that's all information that he has available in those cases.
I think it's eminently clear that pyro jokingly used ALLCAPS as an expression of exasperated hyperbole. It may have been in poor taste, but it did not break any rules.
Now, in regards to the greater problem surrounding this issue. Let it be clear that I speak only for myself, so if you take issue with this, your issue is with me alone. I'm not able to be around as much as I used to be, so I didn't witness the flashpoint of whatever is going on here as it happened, but since you brought it up in your original post, Goonfella, I have gone back and read at least your Pictorium gallery thread so as to acquire a bit of context.
The simple fact is, the reason this forum exists is to field Paint.NET questions, requests, and troubleshooting issues, and to index Paint.NET resources like plugins, tutorials, and localization packs. The fact that we have a community at all is a happy by-product of bringing Paint.NET users together. We value every one of our members: it's your work - ideas, suggestions, answers, tutorials, plugins - that have made Paint.NET what it is today. What I cannot stand, however, is the drama.
I've seen complaints about the lack of comments and critique before, and I believe it's a misunderstanding of the medium. The Pictorium community is fairly insular - new users don't come here to be art critics, they come here to ask how to install plugins for the umpteenth time, or ask how to get their Colors window back without bothering to search. A few users may stick around, and some of those may even create galleries of their own and contribute to that section of the forum, but they are the vast minority. Out of the 20,000+ registered members we have, only a couple hundred are actually currently active, even fewer are active in that section, and even fewer still come back to comment on other people's work, so you're naturally going to see the same faces and hear the same praise.
Quite simply, a support forum is not and will never be the ideal place to showcase artwork and ask for criticism. We discussed this at length when talks of a Pictorium sub-forum started, but the users wanted a place to show their work on the forum, so we put in the work to make it happen. There was a time when the "Pictorium" was a single running thread that everyone dumped their work into. With the Pictorium sub-forum, you get your own thread all to yourself, but it's still just a forum thread - if it's inactive, it moves down the list as new threads are posted. Interested people can use the "Watch this topic" feature to be notified of replies to the thread in general, but that is the best we can offer.
In regards to your concerns regarding politeness, quite frankly I disagree. There are aberrations, of course, but on average, this is the single most universally approachable online community I've seen. Pyro's response in this case may have been an overreaction, but I dare say I get what his frustration is. I cannot speak for him, but I see it myself, and he does a lot more around here than I do. We've had this kind of "I'm leaving! Alright, maybe I'll stay. URGH I'M LEAVING!" drama before, and every time it's just a wearisome. It's not that we want you to go, and it's not that we don't like you, it's just that there's not much we can do about it.
This is the official support forum, and you will always be welcome, but it's not the only Paint.NET-centric community out there. If you don't care for the atmosphere, we encourage you to find a community that fits your style. Our job is to answer usage questions and catalog troubleshooting problems. We appreciate your desire to showcase your work, and we do everything we can to support it, but if you're not getting the response you need, then you may need to find another outlet that can support the level of interaction you require.