First, thanks again for caring enough to take the time to write. It was nice to see a "short" post though from you!
I find a basic tenant of the Internet is that anonymity allows people to treat others in a way they would never do face to face. I run the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction forum, the largest forum for collectors of screen used Star Trek props & costumes. We all know each other and we get together every year at the Las Vegas Creation Con. We have an incredibly civil forum where we never have a flame war (partly because we don't allow people to even think of being jerks, it is dealt with before there is a problem). But we also all get together when we can. We just had a big party in NJ at a collector's house (Who I bought the original Shuttlecraft Galileo full size set with). It is great to see people you know online and you develop true friendships.
So I agree, sharing a few pints is absolutely useful, but if you hide behind the Internet, you will never get to share those pints and you will be insulated from the repercussions of your words online, meaning having to face someone in real life who you were rude to online. Which is exactly what some people want, no consequences for their actions. The whole "calling you or turning up at your house" is just so much crap. This isn't the end of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back". Get real people. That is an excuse to allow you to be rude.
I am probably the most outspoken person in two different aspects of Star Trek, props and fan films. And I am sure there are people who don't like me in both because I am very opinionated. However, I have never had a rude phone call or a person show up at my door. Seriously. That is just ridiculous. However, I have met people in real life who I had a disagreement with online and we have laughed about things and become friends. I had a huge argument with a collector about authentication and actually had to ban him from my forum. Well, we met and became great friends and now, two years later, he is an admin! We actually worked together to authenticate a TOS Captain Kirk tunic.
Back to the "share a few pints" theory. Actual social interaction provides common ground to develop a relationship. It would be fun to have a L.A. based Trek BBS night at a pub. But I would hate to be the only one who showed up! :-)