Good blog here on community http://weblogs.asp.net/betsya/archive/2004/04/19/116430.aspx
I think although flaming really hurts when you are starting out in this wild world web, it doesn’t kill you and does actually make you stronger. Some flames are simple “Hey look at me” and kinda text message equivelant of pulling wings off flys and beating the small kid up for his lunch money. Other flames are criticisms and occasionally do have some valuable feedback buried under the really hurtful delivery. “That sucks” sometimes is a little warning that your message isn’t getting through the way you had hoped ;OP
The most hurtful flames I ever received were not when I started really getting into newsgroups or discussion lists (heh, although a certain Red Dwarf fan by the name Friday was notorious for having a vicious temper on warm days – check it out in your favourite ng archive!). My worst flames came much later when I started writing for http://Aspalliance.com – woooah. Did I underestimate the amount of venom and bad will targetted at people who have the ARROGANCE to publish articles that put forward OPINIONS! I didn’t write any comment pieces for a long while after that. I didn’t write at all for a little bit, I just daren’t.
When I wrote the chapters for the first two books I was involved with some technical reviews were pretty harsh (without any constructive advice). “This is woeful”. Yeah? Really? Why? What should I do to correct it? Give me the benefit of your experience rather than a kick in the nuts. New authors are really sensitive to criticism as their skin is still human thickness, it’s something I tried to remember when roles were reversed.
You know what the best thing is? No one gives two hoots what flamers think and your writing gets better because of it. What goes around comes around, what you give out you get back multiplied, etc etc
As far as communities are concerned, I think small communities take on a lot of the values and character of the founders. Larger communities take on a life of their own, especially when they grow very quickly. It’s unavoidable that the odd twit get in and spoil it for some people, just have to make sure the community doesn’t tollerate it when it happens. Easy to say ..