Feel a bit bad for posting a link on the Rhizome.org chatboards to a recent Paddy Johnson thread.
Mentioned that she and her commenters had reservations about a project the Rhizomers were high fiving.
So they promptly dispatched one of their worst trolls--a real piece of work--to ask Johnson "how many angels can dance on a pinhead" type questions, to wear her down and punish her for having a contrary opinion.
Arguing on Rhizome has a similar air of futility.
The house style there, especially when one is on the down side of an argument, is to provoke an exchange of personal insults, hoping one's opponent cracks and says something that sounds "too harsh." The one who didn't crack then claims the moral high ground and gets to lecture the one who did about Internet manners. Arguing this way is...challenging...and very little gets accomplished.
A moderator would help.
Underlying some of these battles are real philosophical differences, what could be broadly termed an art-for-art's-sake mindset vs an activist mindset. Also academic vs non-academic, artist vs programmer, artist vs designer, etc.
But mostly it's just people being territorial about their friends and "home turf."