I don't think it's "clique-y." I think the biggest issue I've seen here has more to do with personality clashes and differences in social norms than going against some clique(s). This is a matter of conventions of communication. If I spoke here the way I speak to my friends I would be banned. The "California Howdy" is a standard greeting for my oldest friends; we regularly insult the hell out of each other, but I would never talk that way to other groups of friends because they would be insulted, no matter how long I explained that they were just jokes. It's a similar issue here I think.
I think some of your language here is a little loaded. Note how you describe ribbing as harmless while the responses to it are childish and animal-like. It's all harmless: it's all words here. The question isn't "who's on what team," it's, "what are the accepted norms and how can we respect the other while holding true to our own values." Where the two cannot meet we have to simply agree to disagree.
Do you mean over sensitivity Matt? I suppose it's like somebody that takes their "painting" to the Louvre in Paris, thinking it's really wonderful only to find out that nobody is bothering to look at it and wondering why? He/she overhears a conversation amongst some art critics who are saying that this not art, it is rubbish.... Whisperings in the back ground upset the the painter..... but alas he/she is not deterred.....Anyways a little while later some "common" folk come along and are all looking at it ooohing and aaaghing saying what a lovely interesting painting it is having no idea as to what "art" is suppose to be all about? They move on to the next painting which is by Picasso and they all say "Blimey my kid could do better than that"
The "Art critics" are disgusted at the "common people" and turn their noses up in horror because these "common people" can't see where the "art" is?
I suppose the simplicity is in the way I think and see as it all is far too obvious, it is just like those "common" people as it is too much to bear for these "art critiques" so they turn their noses up at it and remain in their clique as the art critiques, but are unable to paint or do a work of art themselves.....