In an effort to respond to the post to give us some momentum, let me start off by saying that I appreciate the feedback and your continued participation in meta and hope you'll continue to strive to make this a stronger community.
Remember that MartialArts.SE is your site: you shape its direction, its sense of community, and its overall content by your participation here. It can be easy to look at a problem and say, "This is a problem"; it's very difficult to direct a solution through your example.
Over the past few weeks, a number of the issues arising on meta have been directly related to the overall critical nature the site has apparently been taking. In an effort to help with this, I, with the help of extant meta discussions, the other moderators, and the SE sites that came before, put together three discussions here on meta:
The intent of these posts was to create a guideline drawn in sand – a way to give new users a rundown on the general guidelines of Stack Exchange sites and the approach we've been discussing on meta since day 1. It is not set in stone, and is posted as a discussion to encourage all users on the site to participate in improving the quality of the site. Meta is about having a community, and making this a community moderated site.
To your specific points:
- the downvote is on a hair trigger
This isn't the first time this has been brought up. In fact, it's addressed in Answering Questions on MartialArts.StackExchange.Com for that very reason.
Some people are far more ready to down vote other users than others. The general expectation here is the same as any other stack exchange site: down votes should be used to indicate inaccurate or dangerous information. Often on this site, due to the subjective nature of our topic, we have the issue of cross-style answers creating conflicts of accuracy. When we post answers into another style, we run the risk of getting down voted if we're not aware of, for instance, rules we may be violating. This is a way of either the OP or another answerer letting others who may read the question that it may not be in their best interest to take that advice. It should not be used, however, for disagreement (as it is on meta).
- everyone seems so caught up in the purity of their martial art
Unfortunately, I don't have a response to this; perhaps you could provide an example and I'll edit accordingly.
- questions go from asked to closed very quickly without the chance of reprisal from the asker
Recently, with the addition of the FAQ and some spam posts, we've had to close, delete, and destroy some questions that were not constructive. As an example, a question was posted about following up a roundhouse kick, and references were made to techniques from video games (a violation of the FAQ). Originally the question was closed, but comments continued, so I posted a comment about the nature of what was being asked and why it was closed. I believe that it was because of my comment that you began receiving down votes on your answer. This has been cleared up, the user destroyed, and while you will lose any up votes for that post, you will also lose the down votes.
A site like this thrives with the passion of its users. We can't rest on our laurels and expect the site to magically be perfect; instead, we have to work to make it better. The way to do this is by fostering the community.
I recently moved to a new neighborhood. In fact, it was shortly before I came here. My wife kept asking me why all our neighbors were so stand-offish. Of course, I'm at work every day, so I didn't really have an answer for her. Over the months, I've gotten to meet a few of them, and have been building rapport with a few simply by waving, saying hello, and asking after them. I realized it's really not a difficult thing: communities don't happen because people all occupy the same space, but because they're all sharing their common interests. If you feel that there's no community, ask if you're making the effort to be part of it.
Everyone on this site should be made to feel welcome; sometimes the easiest way for them to feel that way is to make another user feel welcome too. Look at how you and Dave both have found common ground – we're all more alike than you realize.
I want to encourage you all to come and take part in the chat room as well. Get to know everyone, find out about their backgrounds, and share a bit about yours.