Whenever we decide to make an appearance on a public site, we have two options - be invisible, i.e. anonymous or reveal our name. These are two totally different conditions which determine our online behaviour.
People who post intelligent, balanced and relevant comments are lifeblood to any successful forum discussion.
The worst type are anonymous discontented forum users who give vent to their anger or malice. I have seen thousands of comments posted by such people on national websites and it has always made me wonder about the true nature of anonymity. Does it automatically gives you freedom to abuse other people or is it a shield to protect you - from what?
If the forum is closed as in elearning environment, people coming to forums have a certain aim in mind, and usually it is posting for study purposes. They are never anonymous and it preconditions their sticking to the rules of netiquette. However, during a long time I have observed that there are as many patterns of behaviour on forums as there are participants. Active, coherent and responsive people are emoderators' joy. There are the brash ones and there are the considerate, there are the shy and the headstrong, the diligent and the idle. And there are lurkers. Reading, observing, watching, waiting, posting only when they cannot avoid it.
I have known the website Flame Warriors for years. It gives a huge list of roles people play on forums, each role supplied with a picture and definition created by an artist Mike Reed - Rebel Leader, Big Cat, Toxic Granny, Coffee Klatch, Bliss Ninny, Fanboy, Lonely Guy, God, Weenie etc.