ihunt picking a fight with a woman is a fight you can't win. Trust me.
Excellent point ihunt!
...and where empathy is more scarce than it is inside a doomsday cult.
I'm offended by this... moderators please censor this unfeeling post.
Cmon ihunt, is that what this forum has to become? Whe're P's and Q's are constantly carefully checked and monitored? Currently there already exists a flag button with every post made. If something is really offensive you can report it.
On the contrary, I find that when people show vulnerability here, talk about struggles, lost family, depressions, or health challenges there is an outpouring of empathy. By the time I get around to the thread so many have posted I hardly ever find a spot to add value.
On the other hand, From the small sample of threads I have followed, when someone posts a link to an article, or a half thought-through "reason" why evolution is false, or why the Israelite God is real, or why gun control is or is not acceptable, why climate change is or is not man made, etc, the intellectual points are attacked vigorously. The tone is strong.
The punishing response to posts that other posters find repellent, or ignorant, or dangerous should not be confused with a lack of empathy for people. Perhaps a lack of empathy for where other posters are intellectually, or on their journey past the JW's, or for how they might take the post. But, I'd say that is not universal at all. I've seen people spend hours carefully arguing points and bringing an immense wealth of knowledge to bear on a subject. If they didn't care for the poster I can't imagine why they would exhaust such effort in carrying on a conversation!
I do agree a gentle tone is more persuasive, and that is relevant if your aim is to persuade and not squash. Some ideas people want to squash. (as an example, I've argued, accurately, that recidivism rates for sexual crimes are remarkably low, but some aren't interested in persuading me but in squashing the offensive and uncomfortable point. It is understandable.)
On the belief front, I think we may be talking past each other a bit. Some closely self identify with certain beliefs so they naturally take an assault on a belief as a natural attack. Others have developed a different frame and are able to attack ideas without it getting personal. I think it helps if those in whatever frame understand the other frame and try to take and respond accordingly. A fantasy perhaps.
"I learned in this forum, sometimes painfully, to withstand robust criticism and challenges to my opinions and take it up as a grown up. It's a process, and I'm still in the process of learning to think in a healthy way. But I can tell the difference between that discussion of ideas, and bullying and insult. That's not admissible, not in my life, at least. Nor should any of you tolerate that either - remember where we came from."
Your description of this place sounds like a declaration of the hate forum. You shouldn't leave because of the attitudes of others. The best weapon against the tough guy is pure intellect. The brain is the most powerful device on the planet to train and develop.