When I was in college I worked on a project for Ralph Nader, long before his days as a presidential candidate.  One evening he gave me his own graybeard lecture, from his venerable position as a man who had reached his mid-30s. (A picture from those days at left, though not by me.) He said that a really unattractive personality type was the journalistic bully-coward. That is, the person who breathes absolute fire when sitting at the keyboard, but skulks away nervously if he catches sight of someone he'd so fearlessly denounced from the writer's chair. Yes, this kind of person existed even before the blog age!

This obvious part of the message was: think about how you write. But the other part was: think about how you
are. Nader very definitely did not mean that you should never criticize people harshly or in writing. He meant (to shift ethnic registers -- his background is Lebanese) that you should be a mensch about it. Minimize the gap between "to your face" versus  "behind your back" discourse. Be willing to encounter people you've criticized. 

-- James Fallows