Let's talk about hate speech.
In the context of this site, it's been defined as "derogatory words which apply to a specific class of people." (Bish, 2018)
What is the rationale in enforcing their non use? Is moderation of hate speech beneficial to a debate site? Does hate speech have any non-trivial consequences? I'm going to make a few points here:
1. If hate speech is banned for it's capacity to offend, then all offensive speech should be banned.
The rationale behind banning 'hate speech' is surreptitiously to protect minority classes from... something. I know I'm not going to face consequences for using the term 'white trash' when referring to Trump voters, or egregiously labeling all men misogynists. Bish has said previously that hate speech can describe anything that derides a class, but mainly applies to marginalised groups (minorities). Hate speech is therefore derogatory words which apply to specific minorities. So why ban it?
The worst effect of hate speech conceivable is that you will offend someone. You calling someone a tranny has no ability to impact their actual lives, only their emotions. The basis of hate speech censorship is therefore to protect the feelings of individuals who identify with a minority. This is a fair assessment of the rationale to ban hate speech.
The issue herein is that the fundamental justification for the censorship is to prevent offense. Hate speech is merely something which easily causes offense. It doesn't always cause offense (not all African-Americans will care if someone calls them a nigger), but because it is expected to cause offense, it's banned. How do we know this standard I've just concocted is true? Because words and terms that are labelled hate speech must simply be derogatory to a certain class of people for it to qualify.
'Hate speech' is a misnomer, as it infers the intent of hate in loaded terms when hate may not exist. If it's the hate part you want to ban, then let's be intellectually honest and understand that it's the offensive speech that needs to be banned. How do we know what constitutes offensive speech? That's for me to decide, and I elect to be offended by the suggestion that hate speech ought to be moderated. Thus, out of consideration to my feelings, you should not censor anything I say lest you offend me.
2. When faced with subjectivity, moderation should reflect group norms (barring Mike's whim)
From point 1, hate speech is subjective, it may or may not cause offense, and it's the offense that is actually the intent of censorship, not specifically the words themselves. If the site does not have any transgenders on it, is there any justification behind banning the word 'tranny?' Maybe, because a tranny might be watching. If the discussion is between two or more members however and both or all participants implicitly consent to using offensive words on each other, what does censorship accomplish?
A group of white kids comes to an agreement that when talking among themselves, they will not call each other 'nigger.' Why? If there is nobody around to be offended by your 'hate' speech, the rationale for censorship sinks. Again, hate speech must be offensive for it to qualify, thus a statement that won't offend anyone cannot be considered hate speech. Subjectivity is inherent in this definition, and on this site that subjectivity is the basis for moderation. Naturally, censorship of speech on a platform intended to promote free discussion is an antithesis to the site's values.
To police something which isn't the same for every person, there comes a point where you are going to have to draw an arbitrary line and declare that any statements north of here go too far. The basis for this should be a product of site culture and consensus. It can also be an explicit declaration of Mike, who as the owner gets to decide the rules irrespective of member opinion. It does not fall to a single member of the community, particularly a mod, to decide for the community where these lines should be drawn.
3. Abuse and harassment rules are better than hate speech rules.
All this can be solved by considering the speech at the individual level. If an individual insults someone with the malicious intent to degrade their self esteem or otherwise emotionally harm them, then that statement is abusive. We have rules in place that prohibit abuse and these are great rules. For the most part they are black and white. When they aren't, mod discretion fills in the gaps. There is no need for hate speech rules on top of this.
"It could be symbolically offensive to others who could theoretically be present in this discussion." No.
"Minorities are harmed by your use of derogatory words." No.
"People exist in class structures, many of these classes are victims of an oppressive system that is perpetrated through the words you use." No.
"Your identity can be threatened by the words others use to describe you." No.
Take all your assumptions listed above and discard them. Not only are they not true, they are harmful subjective opinions that you should keep to yourself. Using them as a basis for policing the behaviour of others is called something very special in the modern political climate: Oppression.