I just had a brilliant conversation with Sam Snyder - extremely smart guy.
We talked about a lot of things, and a few stood out to me - he clued me into the notion that many internet trolls might actually be mentally ill.
It's like, how bad off do you have to be to get satisfaction out of blogs, social news sites, and discussion forums? Pretty bad. As Sam put it, "Bad enough that you can't even get satisfaction out of playing video games."
More interesting, though, is that Sam introduced me to the concept of "emotional contagion" - by getting exposure to others' emotions, you frequently start to feel those emotions too.
So when you deal with people who are hostile and off-balance, it can make you a little more hostile and off-balance yourself. Scary stuff.
Interesting NY Times article from a couple years ago -- "Net Worth, Self-Worth and How We Look at Money."
It gives a brief summary of an academic paper that found four basic patterns around money:
1. Money avoidance2. Money worship3. Money status4. Money vigilance
The first was avoiding money by being worried about its negative effects, or thinking it's dirty to have. People with money avoidance tend to have low incomes, low net worths, and are young.
Money worship means people think that money will solve all their problems, which has its own negative effects. While these people get wealthier (obviously), it places a lot of personal self-worth on having money and leads to risky and neurotic behavior.