During one unpleasant moment after I was fired from the think tank where I’d worked for the previous seven years, I tried to reassure my wife with an old cliché: “The great thing about an experience like this is that you learn who your friends really are.” She answered, “I was happier when I didn’t know.”
- David Frum
Comments are your real audience, uninhibited. They are your co-worker telling you that your hair looks like crap today. That your idea makes them want to vomit and wonder how you ever got hired anywhere.
Perhaps people can't handle the truth, vulgarity and viciousness online because we're so used to not hearing it in our real life. Is public shaming when people say "Hey dickwad, your idea is horeshit!" at a Q&A after a speech really the only thing restraining people? If it is, that's a sad statement about us as people more than it is about commenting systems.