Thoughts On Online Community Drama

I’ve been online for almost 9 years now; well over 10 if you count local BBS days. In that time, I’ve seen enough community blow ups, blow outs, implosions, explosions, invasions, devastations, decay, jihads, and drama to write a novel.
I only blog about this because it has happened again today. Not an hour after I remarked to someone that things were getting really tense and that things were probably going to explode soon, they did in one of the IRC channels I frequent, with an all-out two person flamewar. Banning, deopping, channel swiping, taunts about “a virgin loser” and “the biggest hypocrite anyone in the world has ever seen”, backstabbing, threats of physical violence…it was classic online drama. Well, except for the fact that Minh has set up a CafePress shop to merchandise off of it.
I’m sitting here trying to comprehend a bit of what forces so many of us to not just be a part of drama, but to seek it out as well. Why do we like to be on edge so much? Surely, some of it is because we rarely know the other person in real life, or at least don’t have to worry about seeing them on a regular basis.
I think the majority, though, is because we’re living in a cutthroat society. Look at the political climate. Look at the entertainment industry, where unless one movie/album/TV show/book is going up against another, no one seems to care. Look at the job market. Look at education.
These days, the only way to be heard is to scream. And we all want to be heard at least some of the time.
(Regarding the drama in question – not taking sides. At all. Looking to remain as friendly as possible with as many parties as possible.)