Like Mike, I also hate to see a good thread locked, and don't want this forum to be "corrected" so strictly that it loses it's value. However, I have seen many cases where individual posts in violation of the rules have been deleted or edited, rather than the thread locked, so what Mike is suggesting does happen already to a large extent. My recollection is that a thread is locked only when the violating posts continue to grow in number after warnings or deletions have not had any effect.
It would seem that in both the Max thread and the Trade thread, we were warned to keep it civil, but some posts that could be considered inflammatory continued. Mods please correct me if I'm mistaken.
As always, the best course (IMO) if a thread or post is pushing my button and I can't be cool about it, is to cease participation in the thread entirely. If we did that instead of firing back (and sometimes I'm guilty of firing back, too), then deleting a violating post would be all that was ever needed. I think the burden is on us, not the mods.