For those of you who are interested, I put a comment here (it’s the one dated 12/30/04 at 1:35 pm) on how I will occassionally be rude in online discussions as an intentional rhetorical maneuver. A snip:
It’s no secret to anyone here that I can at times be rude and confrontational. I think what generally less known is I’m not *always* rude because I’m a hothead; I’m sometimes rude because I find it’s a surprisingly effective rhetorical device that causes people to focus and clarify their arguments, and occasionally to understand how someone (and specifically, me) might find the formulation of their statements offensive and dismissive.
I think the assumption is that when you’re rude online, people will automatically be rude back, but I’ve found much of the time that’s not the case… Often times when I am rude to someone online, they take a step back examine, why I’m suddenly antagonistic and move to clarify.
You can read the full piece in the comment thread; if you have comments of your own on it, please leave them in that comment thread.
To clarify: Sometimes I’m simply rude because I’m as much a jerk as anyone else. I can’t claim the “It’s all a master plan!” defense every single time I act like an ass online.