"I visit several messageboards, some computer related, others not. I do find it depressing that there is so much personal abuse on some of them."
Amen to that. I felt I had to leave Bristol and West Off-road Club because of this sort of thing. Complicated mess which boiled down to a misunderstanding, but I decided I couldn't remain a member of the club after the abuse and misrepresentations I received from the club chairman on the forum. I didn't bother arguing with him; it wasn't worth the effort. I just ended my association with them.
Though, depending on the location and subject, sometimes it's hard NOT to respond.