Thank you! I am really hoping people find value in Haters - so far it seems like the responses have been positive, which is encouraging!
Right now I'm in the literature review stage of the thesis, so I am up to my ears in articles and books, some of which I saw in the topic on academic articles. Reading the Comments is high up on my list. I've been funneling my research through a few lenses, starting with studies of uninhibited behavior. Key publications there, although dated, are "Affect in CMC" (Kiesler et al, 1985) and "Contexts of Uninhibited Behavior" (Kayany, 1998) which are seminal texts in the debate about whether online behavior is shaped by CMC itself or by context.
From there I narrow it down to studies of flaming, which is an interesting topic - "Reconceptualizing 'Flaming' and Other Problematic Messages" by O'Sullivan and Flanagin is a good one for understanding the scholarly approach to flaming, although a little infuriating if you don't ascribe to the notion that authorial intent overrides audience interpretation. (They try to apply their framework to workplace sexual harassment in ways that would basically undo 40 years of feminist legal work, if that tells you anything.) Emma Jane's work on the topic in "Flaming? What Flaming?" and "Your a Ugly, Whorish Slut" [sic] should not be missed.
Drawing ever closer to the actual topic of my thesis, I'm working on articles dealing specifically with cybersexism right now. Herring's 1999 article "Rhetorical Dynamics of Gender Harassment On-Line" is a really valuable one, because it deals specifically with discursive strategies that can be used to silence women, both overtly and implicitly. "Sexual Harassment in Online Communications" (Biber et al, 2002) looks at how undergraduates perceive sexual harassment in an online vs. offline classroom setting, but there is some good information in there about the way men and women look at particular behaviors.
Next up is articles specifically on comment sections, which is where Reading the Comments will come in handy, and I'll be looking at a few articles about differences in amount/volume of talk as well. "Understanding Gender Differences in Amount of Talk" is from 1993, but it's a meta-analysis of 50 years of prior research, so that's a great starting point.
And now I'll take a deep breath!
One of the major gaps in all of the above research is a distinct lack of intersectionality. If social and/or rhetorical power are considered, it's almost always strictly along the axis of gender - there's no real consideration of how race, sexuality, dis/ability, or other relevant factors come into play. Those variables might make some types of quantitative research challenging, but the almost complete silence on those issues is really frustrating.