It's pretty much inevitable that you'll see flaming anywhere on the Internet that lots of people post their ideas. It happened 20+ years ago on USENET when there were 10 people online and the people actually knew each other offline. Hell, they were down the hall from each other.
It definitely happens more today when people seem to idolize this:Why not be an obnoxious jerkoff to people you don't know who are more intelligent than you for no reason? It's not like they could beat the shit out of you by reaching through your monitor or something.
So, I kind of suspect e-thugs will continue to be around for the forseeable future until reach-through monitor technology arrives (or until I figure out how to kill people using my mind).
How does this tie into why some forums are shittier than others? Member moderators. If you see a forum of modest size that the owners/Administrators can't be bothered to read and/or moderate themselves, it'll be hilariously shitty 9 times out of 10.
Take, for instance, RPGamer.com.
Not that big a forum.
Only a few sections.
Only a few posters.
Yet there's about a half dozen member moderators. Kind of unnecessary considering there's a dozen plus staff members as well. Shockingly, picking your mods by popularity contest continues to not work very well there.
So with the absentee owners who have no idea what's going on you can have:
1) Flaming of someone for not knowing something.
Didn't know what game Tetsuya Nomura worked on last year? Of course it's OK to call you a fucking retard.
The Member Moderators will comment on how stupid you were too, afterwards. Good enforcement of the forum rules there.
2) Flaming of someone for knowing something you didn't.
Didn't know that the Executive Producer of a series says he's not interested in making it appeal to a wider (including grown adult) audience? Of course it's OK to call someone who did a fucking idiot.
Member Moderators will help settle the situation by deleting posts that aren't flames and personal attacks and leave those that are intact.
Why? Probably because their dainty little feelings were hurt by letting them know Final Fantasy 8 sucks ass.