After spending a few months on this site, I keep noticing a pattern.
Someone asks a question (which, in my opinion, is well-formed and has content), which usually stems from a personal experience. Most answers are good and helpful; but some small comment will inevitably attack the OP, and those comments are irrelevant to the question. Often it takes one sentence that the OP has written, and make personal attacks to the OP. Some notable examples that I have seen in the past day are here (there's a separate meta thread, even), here (calling the OP "obnoxious", and the general patronizing vibe), and here (being patronizing towards the OP for having said "unfair", which I think makes sense given the context).
I acknowledge that the posters should have thought more carefully about saying certain things, since many things can be taken out of context, but we are not dealing with colleagues or advisors; rather, this is a place to come and get advice about the difficulties in academia that we are facing, and I often sense the holier-than-thou feeling of glee with many, many comments and answers to problems. I am actually fairly certain that most of these posters would think a lot more carefully if they were dealing with colleagues or students, and their "faults" that we are pointing out are actually irrelevant to their daily lives.
I feel that it would be a lot more productive if we suppressed our compulsion to educate the others (it is our jobs, after all!) and answer precisely what is being asked. So I think roughly the following set of guidelines could benefit the community:
Have a strict guideline for what the answers should contain (maybe answers should be hidden or put on hold if the majority of the answer does not pertain to the specific question at hand, like how we deal with questions).
Have a more strict system for flagging the comments. Most comments are not "abusive", which is the criterion that we have for removing them. Rather, they are snide little remarks designed to make the OP feel bad for having asked the questions in the first place, and they are passive-aggressive. There are many comments that do not fit in any flagging criteria, yet is not useful to the vibe of the community as a whole.
To some degree, I think we need to realize that our personalities are not perfect, and more of it will show through on an anonymous online forum than when dealing with your colleagues. So I think it is normal to see more of the "weirder characters" online; so we should try to be a little bit more accepting, and actually focus on helping each other. Even when the fault is too great to be ignored, we could try to adopt a bit more tact, and try to be nicer to each other, especially as a community that aims to acknowledge and address the emotional difficulties in academia that one goes through.
By the way, this kind of behavior should be discouraged for two reasons
This drives away the new users. In MathOverFlow (stackexchange for professional mathematicians), this phenomenon is even more apparent. In fact, half or more of the mathematicians I know stay well away from this website, because of the aggressive nature of the established users there, and many will actually declare this in public. Academia.stackexchange is nowhere near this point yet, but it is a newer site as well.
This kind of behavior often prompts the reaction of the question asker in the form of accepting the answer that is the most palatable to him/herself. However, often this is not the best answer, and this would not be helpful to other users who might stumble upon the post in the future.