Without specific knowledge of what was posted, from both sides, it’s hard to come to any conclusions, there are parts of your post however that seem to offer clues as to why this may have happened.
“A friend of mine replied to someone's poem in their normal manner”
“Their normal manner” seems to suggest that the reply was somehow different to the expected norm, is it possible that the reply could have been misinterpreted or caused offence because of this difference?
“First of all, when someone takes to time to read your poem, and to reply to your poem, there is NO reason to be rude.”
There is no reason either to worry about people being rude, people do it all time, if the reply was an attack on the poet it would have been deleted by a moderator as a breach of the rules. Likewise if a reply to a reply was deemed to be a personal attack it would be removed. Were either removed?
If the first was removed then your friend was in the wrong, if the second the original poster. If neither we can presume that the difference of opinion was a matter to be settled by the parties involved.
“If you do not approve of the fashion in which the reply was formed, or something that was said in the reply you email them.”
As long as the reply is within the rules I don’t see a problem replying in the original thread, in fact the obvious thing to do is exactly that, these forums are based upon the principles of communication. That communication is the method by which such differences of opinion are settled.
“Hurting some one's feelings is totally uncalled for.”
Is this also true if the feelings hurt are those of the original poster?
“Maybe I am just over reacting because the person who was hurt in this case was someone I know.”
Obviously you feel that the only person who suffered hurt feelings was your friend, but if the original poster was angry enough to reply in a “rude” manner doesn’t that suggest their feelings were a little bent too? Your defense of “A very sweet soul who meant no harm” is questionable if that person actually caused harm, whether meaning to or not.
As I said, without specifics it is difficult to form an opinion, reluctance to state those specifics, and without input from the other parties, means that we are left with only your interpretation of what occurred to make judgement by. Hearing one side of a disagreement is a dangerous thing to base an opinion on, drawing conclusions from a third persons interpretation of a disagreement is even more so.
[This message has been edited by Shou-Lao (edited 12-15-2001).]