Diki and Ian, I looked at some guitar sites late last night after work and, man, you're right!
I saw a bunch of combative, bordering on abusive spats about things that matter so little...optimum string gauge, for instance.
When talking to a guitar player face to face, the conversation is defined by the level of expertise/ability, I believe. I get lots of kids coming up to me at gigs talking about their Ibanez XXX (or whatever) model acoustic. I'm polite but don't stay glued to their every word. But, you'd better believe I'd pay REALLY close attention to Lee Ritenauer, Tommy Emmanuel, George Benson, Rory Hoffman, or people who played like them.
Diki's comment about the nuances of non-verbal communications is right on.
I guess confrontation is just a by-product of on-line places like "the Zone".
But, you know what? I DON'T LIKE that part of the on-line communications process.
It takes so little extra time to be courteous and respectful. And, you learn much more, when the process isn't confrontational. That doesn't mean you don't share your opinion; you just do it in a manner that does not offend people with opposite opinions. After all, that other person is entitled to think whatever he/she wants.
All of this just makes me appreciate those here who have always been great to communicate with, which, by a wide margin has been the great majority of my interactions; even with people who are typically "first in line" when a dispute surfaces.
Thanks to all. There are good reasons why this is the only site I visit on a regular basis.