Meta stackexchange sites are often the venue for immature rants authored by disgruntled members of the site. The Math stackexchange and meta stackoverflow includes a lot of this behavior. During a recent instance of this, one site member pointed out the unconstructive nature of ranting on meta and the ranter (after calming down) responded a joke that why we do this would be a question for the Psych SE.

  • What do people engage in rants on meta stack exchange site?
  • Is there something about math/computing people that causes this behavior?
  • What psychological theories are relevant?
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting question. I'm just wondering to what extent the labelling of internet communication as a rant is subjective. How are you defining "rants"? And what is the difference between a non-immature rant and a mature expression of dissatisfaction? Eventhough we think we know the different, it might still be useful to first define this distinction $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Sep 12 '13 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ speculation: negativity is more typical on the internet in general, because we don't get the vocal and facial feedback from our audience that we would in a live setting. Negative comments probably still come up in person, but they don't (as often) develop into a rant. $\endgroup$ – Keegan Keplinger Sep 12 '13 at 4:12

rant, n. 1. a. An extravagant, bombastic, or declamatory speech or utterance; (now esp.) a long, angry, or impassioned speech; a tirade. (OED)

Why do people make rants on Meta SE? translates to What makes people get emotionally upset in a social situation and then express their emotions?

I'm not going to go into this, because the answer is at the same time banal and overwhelmingly complex.

The only aspect that differs between social life online and away-from-keyboard is the higher level of anonymity online. Otherwise it is a common fallacy to think of the internet as being somehow not like "real life".

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    $\begingroup$ -1 This answer does not address the question and contains no evidence or reference to relevant material. $\endgroup$ – Gala Sep 13 '13 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ How does my answer not address the question? I explain the mechanism behind online rants (it is one of many normal and expectable expression of anger resulting from frustrating social interactions). If this explanation is not satisfactory to you, please explain what a rant is in your eyes. And why does it need research if I point out that a rant online is the same as a rant offline and can be easily understood through your understanding of the latter? Do you need research to understand why people argue with each other? I don't. The reasons are manyfold, but the mechanism is straightforward. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Sep 13 '13 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ You make some unsupported claim that they are equivalent without any evidence. None of this seem obvious to me and even flies in the face of the little I have heard about research on this topic. In any case, you do not mention a “mechanism” or an explanation of any kind. $\endgroup$ – Gala Sep 14 '13 at 4:52
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    $\begingroup$ Of course they are not the same, just as talking on the phone and talking face to face are not the same. But all kinds of communication, from writing letters and sending them by post to Twitter are fundamentally the same as they serve the same purposes of communicating, establishing personal identity, social status etc. etc. So on that basic level, there are ALWAYS misunderstandings, frustrations of expectations, loss of face, lies etc. etc., and these always lead to the same reactions of offended silences (online: people closing their accounts) or violent and aggressive outbursts ("rants"). $\endgroup$ – user3116 Sep 14 '13 at 5:47
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    $\begingroup$ This logically follows from the definition of "rant" that I quoted from one of two standard English dictionaries. So please explain how we need research and don't make unsupported comments! $\endgroup$ – user3116 Sep 14 '13 at 5:51

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