The problem is, Jack, who should decide whether or not a snide remark has merit?
As previously mentioned, the original poster
Should the person who starts a thread be allowed to impose his/her own biases and prejudices in a manner which might prevent the discussion leading on to something that others might find useful, revealing or interesting?
Yes. After all, don't moderators essentially do the same thing Ray, namely close threads that others might find interesting?
There is no perfect world, but (of all people) I would imagine that the original poster
has the most right to guide his thread the way he sees fit. And, if not him, then the moderator. Either way, the arbitrariness is the same.
Again, if a particular individual repeately proves to be too controlling of his discussions, then he will quickly lose his audience. By contrast, the more open-minded and sincere he a person is, and the more openly he entertains different views, the more respect he will gain. As previously mentioned, the consequence of unreasonable censorship by anyone is distrust of his viewers, so each OP would have to use his censorship power with that in mind.
But again, "censorship" is not the same thing as giving wise-asses the boot
Finally, even if the power of censorship gets misused on occasion, I don't think anyone will suffer too much if "an interesting thread" gets locked
For example, supposing the original poster owned a small business selling Canon cameras, and the particular thread was leading in the direction of snide remarks about low-noise performance of Canon DSLRs in general, then it might make good sense for the original poster to lock the thread.
I disagree. I think it would make good sense for the store owner to honestly concede
the weaknesses of his product, while standing firm on its strengths. Evasion will never help anyone in the long run, IMO, whereas honestly admitting flaws ... while just as honestly standing firm on strengths ... breeds trust.
The truth is, how a person handled this kind of power and control would go a long way into showing people "who" that person really is, deep down
However, the oringal poster always has the option of ceasing to contribute to the thread or even cease viewing it. Shouldn't that be sufficient?
In some cases, that is sufficient. For example, I have asked for help on threads, gotten it, thanked people for it, and then watched the threads take a life of their own ... and walked away and never looked back. On other threads, however, it would have been nice to just "delete" a few assholes from them