Here's a little thought for the day. You probably have interests that are remote from anything discussed on this blog. Perhaps you're obsessed with competitive water-skiing. Maybe you're an aficianado of Serbian politics. Or spy novels. Or ancient Chinese history.
Some of these topics lend themselves to passion and conflict more than others. Sport and politics are especially effective at getting people to take sides and arouse themselves to frustration and anger. But when I surf around the net looking at forums on stray topics that might interest me I see flame wars provoked by all sorts of seemingly innocuous topics.
In fact, there are two very common phenomena on the internet. Get a bunch of like-minded people together to talk about some topic that interests them - and on which they agree because they are that like-minded - and they'll soon be egging each other on to increasingly extreme positions and increasingly fierce denunciations of all opponents. But get a forum where there's disagreement - over, say, the respective merits of two leading Korean movie-makers, or two competitive water-skiers, who are known to be rivals - and you'll soon see a flame war, complete with boasting, namecalling, dubious accusations about other people's motives and emotions, angry threats to leave the forum, and weird meta-arguments about the epistemic status of opinions ("My opinion is a good as yours; you can't say it's false!" "It's just a fact that Betty Foo is the greatest women's water-skiier of all time, and you can't deny it!" "Sorry, fuckwit, if I'd known you were that stupid, I'd have prefaced every comment with the words, 'In my opinion' (:rolleyes:)!").
Part of this is just human nature, and part of it is the effect of anonymity. When I see this happening, I often despair - it looks like there's a lot of frustration and anger Out There, waiting to be expressed in situations where it won't provoke any serious consequences (lost friendships, lost jobs, actual rather than virtual shouting, physical violence, etc., etc.). And there's certainly the phenomenon that human sympathy can be lost when you're not seeing/expecting to see someone's hurt facial expression or tone of voice. The intergnet can be a gnasty place, and this is not something I enjoy about it, though fortunately most people seem to be robust enough to deal with this without serious emotional hurt.
This, however, is why it's pretty pointless drawing conclusions from gnasty comments made by anonymous people in large online forums - on any subject. You'll very likely find that the biggest forums on competitive water-skiing and Korean movies are full of anger, exasperation, personality clashes, feuds, moderators banning people, moderators showing favoritism, and all the other features of the internet that can make it a less than friendly place.
No one should, however, conclude that fans of competitive water-skiing or Korean movies, or folks with particular opinions on these matters, are especially uncivil people.