Ok, I'll bite. I've been a member on different message boards since Snopes was emerging at "alt.folklore.urban". I've seen a lot of boards come and go in that time.
After a board has flourished for a year or two, the old timers have developed a lot of inside jokes *and* they've put up with a lot of new posters showing up and asking the same stupid questions over and over again. Some new posters will come here and feel excluded bc they don't get the references or feel left out. You can't really do anything about those people--it's generally up to them to try to meet people or figure out the jokes. I've had no problems as a new poster feeling welcomed by other Pinsiders or finding the "LIONMAN!" thread to understand the reference.
The responses to threads is the part that Robin is getting at with asking people to be "nice". On a FS thread, if the price is high, someone may respond with "Only stupid noobs would ever spend that much for that title!" Now the OP is mad and noobs start to feel like they can't trust other Pinsiders--both reasons why people would leave. If the response was more along the lines of "Hey, the last 3 sales of this pin were all about $500 less, and they seemed to be in the same condition. What is different with yours?", it still points out that the price looks way too high, but in a much "nicer" way and the discussion that follows (regional pricing variances, modifications, etc) is way more helpful for everyone. Or the OP is pricing way too high, but it's pointed out without insulting anyone else.
On top of that, humor is really challenging because it relies on a shared viewpoint/experience--if I crack a joke about grinders, how many of you would realize that I'm talking about a sandwich, not a tool? In terms of "niceness", Robin would be well within his rights to say "Pinside is what it is and if you don't like it, go elsewhere." I would support him 100% if that's how he felt, even if I didn't agree with how the site operated and ended up leaving. But he's decided that he would like this site to be as inclusive as possible. Inclusive means all genders, all backgrounds, etc. So sometimes when we are posting, we say stuff that seems normal to us, but means something completely different to someone else from a different background. I get that it can be frustrating, confusing or irritating to try to stay on top of everything that bothers different people, and for sure there are some times when people are *looking* to be offended. But the idea of being "nice" starts with treating each other respectfully. I wouldn't walk up to a person I wanted to be friends with and purposely say something I knew would upset them. I take the same approach here.
At work we use the term "collaborative sparring" to refer to the idea that it's ok to disagree but that it needs to be done in a positive manner. That is the tone that I interpret Robin means when he asks us to "be nice". There will always be debates and disagreements, and to be honest, some of those threads are the most entertaining. I think that Robin is asking us to simply approach our discussions from a baseline attitude that we aren't *purposely* trying to make each other angry or upset.