An unkind community

Having been on the wrong side of the same kind attacks that David Hailey faced, I still keep wondering how we’ve made so many blog communities that are so unkind.
In my interactions with Kevin Aylward, he’s never seemed like a bad guy, and his blog seems to be compelling to a fairly large audience, but even if he thinks that “when you inject yourself into that debate you’re stepping onto a national stage”, that doesn’t mean that anybody who posts on a political topic is choosing to open himself up to abuse from strangers. I’ve found more and more examples of people just getting browbeaten by the blogosphere, and I’ve written my own how-to describing a plan for using blogs for positive action. I’m not too surprised to find it hasn’t had much impact.
I wonder if there’s any other steps we can take to raise the standards of the weblog community so that we can expect more civil behavior. It’s clearly an issue that can only be solved by cultural change, but I find surprisingly few people who even see this as a problem, let alone any who want to see change.
Let me be clear: I’m using the David Hailey story as a jumping-off point, but I’m not singling out Kevin or any blog community for being “worse” than any other. I’ve seen this all over the web, and I’m wondering if it’s a behavior that we somehow set as a social norm when the medium was being created. And if so, is it too late to change?