I have never really hung out much on bulletin boards or chatrooms, I guess the closest I have come to it in my net experience is blog commenting and hanging out a bit on Flickr. I don't do the whole facebook thing, or really even post comments on Flickr very much anymore. But of late I have spending quite a bit of time on the knitting social networking/database website Ravelry (still in beta testing and with over 100,000 users, but not yet open to the public).
One of the really active parts of Ravelry are the Discussion Threads in the groups.
Oh my gah.
I've discovered the art of the Flame War. You'd think knitting, that's like really genteel right? Wrong. 99% of the threads are great, and there is a group I love called "Completely Pointless and Arbitrary" where any seriousness is actively discouraged, but the other 1% is amazing. Stuff that makes you want to bang your head on the desk in frustration (or theirs). Threads that started about poor customer service from on-line sellers for example, that degenerate into name calling, legal threats, accusations of bad parenting/poor personal hygiene and even cheap shots about religion.
It's kind of horrible, and I can't stand to read much of it, but it's hard not to. Some of it is so amazingly stupid it makes me sit here with my mouth open. I know this is nothing new to people who frequently read bulletin boards, and it really is only a tiny % of Ravelry, but it's kind of like a train wreck I can't drag my eyes away from.
Of course I've been smart enough not to add to these particular discussions. I don't want anyone attacking my personal hygiene.