VinnieFThis is not a tangible medium. This doesn't matter in real life. People don't give a shit what you say on here, and understand that what people are like on an internet forum is not at all what they're like in real life.
I disagree with the absoluteness of this statement. Certainly, there are people who come onto the internet to create characters and play games with people. NS is no exception. However, I expect that a much larger majority is actually representing their own ideas and views on topics.
I like to think that people read the discussions we have in NSG (and other forums) and learn from them. One could learn the popular arguments about mainstream issues and their shortcomings, their counterarguments, and the rebuttals to those. I have certainly learned a good bit on NS - if it hasn't been directly pointed it in an opinionated post, it directs my attention elsewhere to read about it. I've learned to be open to new ideas and to consider new perspectives. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but for me NSG is a community filled with characters with whom I'm familiar, even if just by icon. I have a sense of many members' leanings on many issues, and reading the discourse between these members (and sometimes contributing myself and receiving feedback) helps me shape, reshape, and reconsider my opinions on everything.