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Credit where credit is due... the quote is based on Henry Kissingers' original:

"University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."

http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/1477

As for why trolls exist at all, I think it is because it is so darned easy to be rude and generally small-minded and full of self-puffery when the troll has such near-anonymity and therefore no sense of responsibility. I also think that geek communication tends to be brief, and it is easy to be rude with a few short direct words... in the real world, such behaviour is not tolerated but in forums, the troll can just keep posting, and posting, and posting.

As readers, we also absorb rudeness better, and remember the smallest slights, whereas we skip over the fluffy bunny comments where someone chips in with a happy "me too!" or "hug" and a row of smiley faces.

Andrew.

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