Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, or comments on a news website like KELOLAND.com, there's no doubt that people post plenty of nasty remarks online. And even if it's downright rude or offensive, people post things online they would never, ever say to someone face-to-face.
Just this month, a photo of a Green Bay Packers Cheerleader was uploaded on Facebook where she was called ugly, an eyesore and much worse.
"It's very nasty. It's scary. Even some friends I have on Facebook, they're very rude and I just can't believe what they say. Would you really say that to someone's face?" Mandy Harsch of Sioux Falls said.
"I would say it's cowardly," Kelsey Senden of Sioux Falls said.
Last month on KELOLAND.com, readers' Facebook comments on a story posted about a man wanted for rape were highly racist and included things like, "Hope they find him before dark." "Somebody hunt this mud species down," and "Disgusting animal, put it in the zoo with the rest of the savages.....Keep the Somali problems in Somalia."
"What would your grandmother say if she knew what you were saying to somebody online like that?" SDSU Journalism Professor Matthew Cecil said.
Cecil says one study found about a quarter of the comments posted on one news media websites are uncivil, with name-calling being the number one uncivil activity online. Cecil says that's much different than disagreeing with someone's opinion.
"The first amendment says you have the right to step up and confront that idea. I don't understand people attacking each other personally online," Cecil said.
"They can be anonymous and the first amendment protects that," blogger Scott Ehrisman said.
Ehrisman is a political blogger who allows anonymous comments on his site.
"If I had everyone come on there using their real name, there wouldn't be much of a discussion," Ehrisman said.
Ehrisman says he knows who's making the comments on his site and does police them, somewhat.
Ehrisman: My rules pretty much on my blog are don't come on to threaten people to harm them and don't be libelous. And I've had to delete mostly libelous. I've never had to delete anything threatening.
Angela Kennecke: But nasty's okay?
Ehrisman: Nasty's okay. That's fine.
"Our moms always would say, 'Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words never hurt you.' Actually, they do sting sometimes at least," former Sioux Falls City Council Member Vernon Brown said.
Brown says bloggers like Ehrisman cross the line and get personal, like when a campaign picture of Brown with his daughter was the target of negative remarks on the blog.
"In one instance, a blogger called me a part-time husband and part-time father. It's really hurtful to family," Brown said.
"I know what he's talking about when it comes to his daughter. That was a political mailing he put out. He used his daughter as a political prop. He started it," Ehrisman said.
It's not just Brown; anyone in the public eye is fair game in Ehrisman's blog.
"I actually told the mayor I have nothing personal against him at all," Ehrisman said.
But Cecil says keeping the discourse to politics instead of getting personal is almost impossible online.
"There's somebody watching me right now who is making fun of my hair or shine off my forehead or my silly glasses or whatever it is; and I cannot explain it," Cecil said.
Could more accountability make people more polite?
"Take away that ability for someone to post an anonymous comment on your site. It doesn't add to the discourse. It doesn't help anyone understand anything. It doesn't improve anyone's life. But requiring people to register with a name and an email address at least gives you the chance you'll get more of a civil discourse," Cecil said.
Brown says he's enjoying one aspect of being out of the political spotlight.
"Wow, it is really quiet. This may open me up to more criticism," Brown said.
According to psychologists, online aggression typically gets the person posting nasty comments attention and that is what they are after, even if it's negative.