An overall silly article on yahoo! regarding online rudeness led me to wondering who it is that is rude online? Most of the blogs and forums I frequent are relatively well behaved (with exceptions, of course), but then I click on the comments somewhere like the New York Times or Washington Post and see rather different behavior.
That anonymity brings out the worst in some people is so well established that I don't see it as worth commenting on anymore. However, I find it very interesting that this seems to afflict some people but not others. Are there any shared traits among those that morph into trolls once in front of a keyboard, or who just become plain rude vs. those that maintain their basic civility? Does this correlate with other anti-social behaviors that individuals usually choose to hide? I think there are a number of interesting questions regarding who it is that is showing this effect and what it might mean for other social traits. I haven't seen anything on this, but it is far more interesting to me to question why there is a variable response, and who it is that displays it, rather than that there seems to be a response.