After receiving his first suspension, ex-moderator Robert Harvey voices this perspective on boilerplate mod messages:
I'd prefer a meta post asking for better transparency in mod messages. I used that boilerplate message all the time when I was a mod, but never understood why people got confused until I was suspended myself. The truth is that boilerplate message is every bit as impersonal as the corporate boilerplate SE has been using on Meta, and it provides no information that would help a user figure out what he's done wrong, other than the admonition "we think you were rude." – Robert Harvey 34 mins ago
Having had the pleasure of receiving a mod message about my behaviour in the past, I've got to say that I share the sentiment.
I suppose there are circumstances where boilerplate will tend to be enough. If a user is wilfully doing things that they know are unambiguously wrong, then there is no need to explain the problem with their actions to them in detail. Or perhaps they're a new user falling into a common failure mode that you've got a great boilerplate explanation of already prepared that you know people generally understand and recognise as relevant to their own behaviour. If that's the case, then, great - roll out the boilerplate!
But when dealing with cases where a broadly well-meaning user is crossing a line without realising it? It seems unlikely, then, that the boilerplate is going to tell them much they don't already know, or give them a clear idea of where the line is that they've stepped over.
When dealing with such murky cases, would it not be better practice in general for mods to err on the side of personalised messages outlining - even if only briefly - the specific behaviours that were objected to and why?