Been following the US election v closely, even though I am a Brit, living in Britain and not a US citizen.
It just feels as if it is inappropriate to comment. Indeed, as Jonathan Freedland notes, this inappropriateness is often made very and directly clear by certain US citizens.
What strikes me – from reading the online comments about what peeps are saying about the Republican VP Candidate – both over there or over here – is how partisan folk are. How they see what they want to see and not what is said.
Comments are more like expressions of tribal loyalty. They seek agreement or vanquishing those who disagree.
As if the commenter sensed a threat or potential damage to the tribe or its interests…rather than a balanced view of what's being discussed. I'm beginning to feel that this is a large factor shaping the tone of quite a lot of online commenting (of course, anomymity etc help encourage it).
On the other hand, Adriana has pointed out this interesting piece of research from Wharton:
"We focus on incidental emotions, emotions triggered by a prior experience that is irrelevant to the current situation"
How often is this what's going on? Other unhappiness/fear/general grumpiness being played out?
Just think it's important to remember that what folk do and say (online) is often not much to do with the thing they're talking about or commenting on but rather a. their interest group's interest b. how they feel because of other things…(and much of that will be the result of interaction with other peeps)