While I was at the World Horror Convention talking with Des Lewis our conversation turned to a certain person who had threatened to attend but, apparently, didn't. This person regularly gets himself barred from internet forums and discussion groups and now runs a blog of his own, where he rambles on about what he perceives as cliques and cronyism within our genre. Des came up with the pertinent phrase "internet rage" to describe this person's behaviour online and we agreed that, almost certainly, on a personal level he was probably totally different, even likeable, but changed online - just as some people change behind the wheel of a car.
All of us to some extent probably change too, though few to the same degree.
It is easy, though, to forget that people we are dealing with online are real, have feelings too, and can be easily hurt by what we write. I've seen this several times - and I know, too, how easy it is to get drawn into going further and saying far worse things to and about people online, things we would never even dream of saying face to face.
Perhaps that's something we should think about before saying things here.
And perhaps it would have been better if the individual I mentioned at the start of this had actually turned up at the WHC. Perhaps he might have begun to reconsider some of the things he says about far too many people if he actually took the opportunity to meet them.
Or am I being unrealistically charitable?