As I read through the forums, I am dismayed at all of the hostility that exists between members. Why do so many people feel the need to speculate about the mental states of others? Does it really add anything to say "No serious X would do Y." or "That is just silly." or "Your argument is idiotic."? I don't think it does. As a typically impartial reader, I am forced to skim over these kinds of comments because I'm looking only for the meat of the issue, to see who puts forth the best argument based on logic and evidence. I really don't care if X thinks Y is a moron. Also, the fact that X is insulting Y doesn't change the truth of X's position, assuming X is right, or vice versa. However, it does make the entire experience less enjoyable for me.
Many people avoid ad hominems but have no problems with outright insults. I think we should avoid both. One is a logical fallacy and the other is just noise. If you need to vent, punch a pillow, scream at a wall, go play a first-person shooter or find some other outlet where hostility is welcomed. If you care about this community then please do us all a favor by sticking to the issues and leaving the other person out of it. Even if someone is making an obvious mistake or is clearly wrong, there's no reason to be nasty about it. Their being wrong isn't a personal attack on you so don't return the favor.
*title shamelessly stolen from Norman Swartz