We do visit forums and discussion groups dealing with our favorite artist, and one thing that I (Neb) have noticed is that the positive vibe of the early days seem to have a harder and harder time surviving.
A lot of the places end up becoming a slowly shrinking watering hole for the original clique. Newbies are at best treated with indifference, and a lot of time is spent rehashing old differences or just abusing each other as the new visitors turn away one by one...
Freedom of speech and a right to state ones thoughts doesn't equal behaving in a way that wouldn't work IRL (in real life).
When singer/songwriter Warren Zevon was terminally ill he was discussed in such a way that the web-based fans got a couple of less than pleasant lines in one of the songs on his final album:
To the green horned chicken hoppers I say: "Get yourself a trade.
Or go back to the chat room and fade in the shade".
Treat people with respect. Online as well as offline.
We've added Warren Zevon's Rub Me Raw. Enjoy.