Why are people more rude and mean online?

It seems that once people get on the internet, they shed off most of their compassion, or what some call the human milk of kindness, and suddenly become bulling monsters. I have read some scathing and hurtful comments on this blog and others that I just said to myself, this person would never say this to someone's face. The few times they were on my blog, I simply clicked delete. The culprits are usually anonymous. So, I'm sorry to those Wordpress bloggers who keep asking if I can allow anonymous or Name/URL commenting, please use OPEN_ID.

The thing I've noticed is that when people have to put a name to their comments, it suddenly makes them more circumspect. I know that opening up comments to such anonymous people can make a blog a very interesting place as disagreements turn to free-for-all controversy-fests. But honestly, I dislike confrontations and can do without such bullies in my space.

You see, I was very active on a message board for about 3years, and I got my fair share of bullies and trolls.  On that site, the online war of words was called rofo-rofo, and I shiver now remembering some of the slurs exchanged. Some people went as far as insulting parents and whole families, as well as outright defamation. I decided to chill out of that site and focus on this blog after it seemed that one such troll became obsessed with me.

Funny enough, I got to know one of the bullies personally, and first thing I noticed was the difference between his online persona and who he was in real life. I finally asked him how he could go so far in being horrible to people online. His answer? It was all a game. He said he couldn't see the others to know their reaction so he just types what comes to his fingers. Also, it helps him burn off his own daily aggravations. Hmmm...talk about transferred agression. Totally not acceptable in my book.

What do you think? Is it simply the anonymity? Would you trust a known bully/troll as a friend in real life? Have you ever been the victim of trolls or cyber bullies?

PS, Just read on TWP that some trolls were harassing Naeto C on Twitter recently and he fired back. Was he right or wrong? As a public person, maybe he should have brushed it off?

PSS, If you don't see much of me around, I'm visiting family in Alabama. This post was scheduled and I only added these PSes to update. See you all soon, and have a great week.