Yeah, I agree. There was a lot of that early in the thread in response to the OP, and that’s probably what got me so involved in this discussion to begin with. “Punishing players” and correcting behavior, and so on.EDIT - Basically the antithesis of the George Lakoff Strict Father model of GMing that I see so often; "Its your game and if you spare the rod you'll spoil the child and you'll never condition your players into 'playing appropriately'...oh and beware of games that are too player-facing because its nothing but rod-sparing and child-spoiling!"
There is a spectrum of diverse GMing ethoi, for sure, but it seems like the one that I see advocated for most vociferously is the model above. I don't agree with that approach (to say the least) and I don't think its good for the hobby for it to be the standard-bearer.
There is of course a social aspect to the game, and I think conversations about all that are key. Any problem that’s not really game related should be addressed with a conversation.
Anything else that’s seen as problematic....well, I think you have to look at why it’s being considered problematic first, and then consider how to handle it.
You mentioned how the declaration of the insult in the OP may have been a valid action declaration...I absolutely agree that it could have been. It’s also possible that the player was simply bored and wanted to provoke a confrontation. Now, if that’s the case, I think it’s up to the GM and players to look at the reasons this happened. Could it be a problem player? Possibly. Could there be other reasons? Absolutely.
A lot of times, it seems to me that when a player decides to do something other than what’s expected, it’s seen as problematic play. It’s too broadly applied.