During my "You're a Girl!" talk I usually point out that flaming (deliberately rude emails or posts) tends to turn women and other newcomers away from open source software. When I get asked why people flame, I usually cite a study that found that people are much more likely to be rude online than in person. Unfortunately I could never remember what study that was nor where I read it. Well, the New York Times came to the rescue. Flame First, Think Later quotes several studies and says they've discovered it's the following aspects of online communication that make people more likely to flame:
the anonymity of a Web pseudonym;invisibility to others;the time lag between sending an e-mail message and getting feedback; the exaggerated sense of self from being alone; and the lack of any online authority figure.
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