"On YCM, if you have a different opinion about someone, then you're wrong and you should feel bad" is the vibe I'm getting from this thread.
In regards to Winter as a person, I only talked to the guy maybe once. It was clear he was incredibly antagonistic, and I will admit I have been antagonistic back to him multiple times which has led me to getting in trouble. But the intent that he just kept piling it on and on afterward was incredibly unbecoming. I never really hung out in Debates all that much so I can't say for sure whether he is in the right or wrong in regards to those kinds of threads, but the way his intent coming off was incredibly rude. And I keep bringing up intent because you can be an a****** on this site. No one really gives a crap. I know I'm an a******, and I've gotten into trouble over it in the past. But if you just keep piling it on and on, over and over again, like what Winter did repeatedly with his inflammatory posts, then that's when action has to be taken. It's not about who it is, but what they are doing. I could go into Debates and start s*** right now with "this person shouldn't exist", and I would immediately get punished for it. Would I feel bad about doing it? Yeah, probably. Winter as far as I know never owned up to any of his actions, which implies that he is truly set on being inflammatory and generally toxic and hateful.
In regards to the actual thread as a whole...well, nobody wins in this situation. Winter gets banned, the majority agree while those that actually tried to defend him continue defending him. Winter doesn't get banned, the majority disagree and claim it's the Moderator team's fault for not taking any action. But sometimes, as a Moderator, you have to be willing to make those decisions and to power through all the backlash you're going to get. Personally, this was handled in the best way possible, and the reactions created from the general public are livid enough to warrant attention. Making a giant post about it with the Moderator team saying "so and so was banned" would have drawn a lot of unnecessary hate and inflammation to the thread. Being discreet with the ban and not telling anyone, which should be the proper way to go, created a lot of disposition within the Moderator team and the general public saying "Yo, this isn't cool, why did you do this behind our backs?". If every perma-banned member got their own thread with as much controversy as this one did, there would be a lot of threads with the same message in them: "Our Moderator team didn't do the right thing, this is how it should have been handled."
It could have been handled differently, who knows. The public's reaction would have been different, but there would still be hostility towards them for banning a member behind closed curtains. But even then, you still can't win. There's no real winner in this situation. Which is sad because if Winter had actually changed his behavior this probably would have never happened and we can all get on with our lives.