Good points for discussion, Amaryllis, thank you!
Some posted in the Alley and others just read there, and yes, generally most of posts in the conversations, even the heated ones, fell well within the site rules/guidelines. And, to the best of my recollection, no Alley or PiP newcomer or person with thinner skin, presenting as more fragile or vulnerable was ever treated rudely by the “regulars”. Those who got the barbs and stings were the old war horses, those with the thickest hides, all well versed and experienced in defensive as well as offensive maneuvers.
Though many of the recent posts were political in nature, the Alley was not a political forum. You could start a thread on any topic you wished to discuss. You're fairly new to the site so quite possibly you never had a chance to read the threads that did indeed cover topics such as poetry, literature and life issues which are, as you know, the ink for a poet's pen.
There were some really insightful and in depth discussions, as well as "just need to get it off my chest" rants and vents. Though I do have an interest in national and world events, I'm also, and perhaps even more so, interested in learning about people, how they think, feel, react and communicate. Isn't that also part of any poet's basic toolbox, things he or she needs to know about in order to write a meaningful poem? And personally, I would also include in that toolbox, a good basic knowledge of what's happening in the world today. Therefore, it’s my opinion, discussions such as those in the Alley, are every bit as valid on a poetry site as the poems.
Deleting all the posts, all the threads going back years, smacks of collective punishment, or throwing the baby out with the bath water. And why? Was it because the task of moderating a very active forum, and by its very nature a potentially highly volatile one, was delegated to one person? Surely an impossible task! Was it because the moderator was inconsistent, random, simply not available at times, or grew weary of the job and the Alley posters, not "a few bad apples", but rather, members of the circle of "Family and Friends"?
As a person who's main interest is poetry, it may break your heart to learn that PiP at one time had an amazing Critical Analysis forum that was also abruptly shut down, and I would suggest for pretty much the same reasons as stated in the paragraph above. Though the poems, critiques/suggestions that helped many improve their writing skills are still available in the Archives, many/most of those who so generously gave of their time to help others improve their poetry, have left the site. And now, agreeing with Ess, yet another loss for the site and for all of us. A terrible and unnecessary loss.