Professor Torill writes an interesting note about griefers -- online gamers who delight in causing mischief, grief, and annoyance for other players.
"It gives the griefers a sensation of power and control when their victim is annoyed or hurt. . . . Since the sport of griefers is to make life hell for others, it becomes very unpleasant to stay where they are."
Griefers (also called snerts) also afflict the software industry, where they convert user communities like Slashdot and VersionTracker into cesspits of misery and grousing. The griefers focus on some small fault, real or ideological or illusionary, and complain venomously and endlessly. The garbage soon crowds out everything else. As Mortensen observes, the costs are real and significant. But this isn't entertainment; it gets in the way of building and using serious tools that would benefit everyone, and it drives people to stop developing software for people and switch to corporate software, or investing, or teaching.