Yes it is intimidating with all the infractions and mods always on your back to a certain extent but that also plays its role in keeping the casual battler that doesn't really want to learn out. If you're really interested in learning how to play this game competitively and play it well you'll stick it out despite how intimidating it might seem. I did back in the day and so do anyone else here. You'll find this attitude on many of the forums that strive to be the best at whatever the specialize in though because that's just the way the internet works. Smogon is not unique in the way it handles things, just unique in the way it handles things in the pokemon community.