Okay, maybe I do live in a smiley-face world. But though I think we agree that there are important dynamics encouraging more division and more incivility -- driven, as one commenter suggests, in part by what's called the online disinhibition effect caused by computer distancing, anonymity, and the lack of real-world consequences -- I guess the next question is, "So what?" One might suggest that we need government intervention to make people get along -- and you actually suggested some things along these lines, if I recall correctly, in Republic.com, though you seem to have taken a less mandatory approach in Republic.com v.2.0. But it's not as if the increased divisions we're talking about exist only on the Internet. Political divisions seem to have become sharper in general (at least compared to the post-World War II era), and I've certainly seen suggestions that a lot of other divisive trends -- such as the tendency of high-earners to marry other high-earners that is strengthened by the growth of two-career couples -- that tend to magnify rather than minimize economic differences. It's also true that some divisions -- racial ones, for example, and sexual ones -- are considerably less sharp than they used to be. So I'll propose one possible Pollyannaish explanation: That people are hardwired to rain scorn on some outgroup, and that we've replaced Jim Crow and pre-Stonewall era gay bashing with people who say nasty things in blog comment sections. To the extent that this is true, it's probably a good thing, since blog comment sections tend to have very modest impacts on the rest of the world, and are easily avoided by those who dislike them. Plus, it may be that flame-wars are sufficiently cathartic to make more serious conflict less likely. Is this really the case? I hope so, but I'm not entirely confident that it's so. So here's another: The people shouting about politics are not representative. The readership of political blogs overall probably doesn't exceed a few million (it's hard to say how many readers overlap multiple blogs). Of this readership, most are passive, and don't even post comments. Even fewer blog. And most of those reading blogs do so as a way of killing a few minutes' time at work. So the passion level on the screen may not translate into equal levels of passion in real life. But assume I'm wrong, and that the problem is not only real, but actually serious. What do you suggest that we -- bloggers, blog-readers, the polity at large -- do about it?