Everyone starts out with a clean slate. I've often thought about that since I've been getting to know more and more people on-line.
In a way, I like it a lot because it is a great equalizer. You can't tell by looking at them what they are about. There are no preconceived stereotypes. We are given the opportunity to evaluate each individual by the content of their communication. One can establish level of maturity as opposed to seeing whether someone is "young" or "old". Race is not a factor, unless it is communicated or their name is an indication (but that also is not always an accurate assumption). Gender is even in question in a lot of cases.
We are, in a sense, free of the burdens of subjective opinions, to some extent. Until that person "shows his stuff", we all start out as equals. I like that.
The only difference to me, between cyberspace and the "real" world, is that you can't see someone's eyes. That makes all the difference in how you get to know someone. You can't tell if they are smiling, frowning, shooting you an obscene gesture, or blowing you kisses. It takes a bit longer, for me anyway, to develop trust. But that doesn't mean cyber folks can't be trusted. One just has to be careful.
I have cyber friends who I could trust with my life. Really! I could. I have gotten to know and love them that much. Kind of strange I suppose, since in most cases, we have never really "met". But that hasn't hindered the development of a high trust relationship.
I have a very cynical friend who thinks I'm nuts. Well, ok, lots of my friends think I'm nuts, but this one worries about my cyber friends. He believes the hype that the only types of folks in cyberspace are road kill jerks. But then, he doesn't even have a computer, so what does he know? I have learned otherwise.
After a while, you can spot a road kill jerk pretty easy, anyway, whether it's in cyber space or the "real" world. They show their true colors eventually. Especially on lists and in newsgroups. The wise Cyber Goddess just avoids them. Like a virus!
Overall, my experience is that most cyber folks are just like most other folks. They have their good days and their bad. They are sweet as honey sometimes, and grouchy others. They are rich, or poor, educated, or not, different colors, different occupations, different backgrounds, different everything. But that's because behind each monitor, there's a person, just like you and me. Reaching out into cyberspace for the same reasons they walk out their own front doors each day. Or climb out from under their rocks, whatever. They're just folks, only you can't see them.