I swore that what I'm seeing around here is something I've read about before; and sure enough from a person that's close to the structure here:
The TL;DR of that article discusses how small orgs that grow too large tend to try and codify everything into "the methodology" a set of rules designed to make anyone capable of producing some output X. In the article this is a fast food hamburger, so easy to make that you can learn how in a few minutes with extremely consistent results.
The flip side of course is that "the methodology" tends to push away those with true mastery of the task; master chefs can produce amazing food with varied ingredients and no written instructions. But their skills are not easily replicated to others.
I fear SE is working itself into the anti-pattern presented here. We're slowly driving away the skilled and longstanding members of the community and instituting many new "Policies" (sometimes adding them where the community already had something in place).
It looks like the generalized "Be respectful" and community based moderation is being pushed toward a codified set of rules for any possible infraction; once we write enough rules we won't need human exception handlers.
I hope we can read the writing on the wall... by someone that helped put the wall there.