"I don't know D W, I think it comes in cycles. There was a very nasty gun thread a few years ago - I'm sure you remember it. And before my time there was some nasty thread that caused one person to leave, I don't quite remember what it was about. In the three years I've been here I've seen a number of nasty threads, unfortunately I participated in a few. They're not continuous, thank gawd, but they do come around. Perhaps, though, they're happening a little more often than they used to, not sure"
That's true - actually there have been a couple of gun threads, but thankfully they and the dog threads (which nearly always turned contentious) seem to have been fewer recently. And, mea culpa, I was a participant in the Carbon Flame War. But my recollection is that apart from the issues that were always going to be contentious things were fairly polite - unusually so for the internet.