I'm one of those people who believe that the atmosphere of a forum is created rather by a handful of strong individuals, than by the majority of the members or the very theme of the forum itself.
Call me cynical, but I think that if CJ and the top ten "important" members/moderators had all been jerks and n00b-haters, the rest of the community would have jumped on the bandwagon, and this forum would have been just as hostile, hierarchical and elitist as i-mockery or whatnot.
CJ to me is the ultimate diplomat, the very epithome of a good administrator. AGA and Eric are both hardworking and just, and they treat old veterans (friends or other moderators alike) the same way as they treat newbies. I can't speak for myself, but I do employ a lot of self examination after every moderating action I take, and I devote myself to certain dogmas.
If a forum is a "good" forum, it's no coincidence, it's the result of sometimes pretty hard labour.