Earlier in this blog I reported on some emails I had received from students that seemed "off" to me, where I had responded professionally and in an anodyne manner, sticking to the facts and issues, and not addressing the tone. I did not know what was up, and even later when I posted the emails I did not know what was going on. I finally got some insights in the last week from other students.
I was in effect collateral damage of problems that did not originate with me, and to which I had contributed very little. In that sense, my response that stuck to the issues rather than the tone was appropriate. It might have been useful to deal with the email-ers more directly and personally. My mistake.
More generally, for whatever reason you want to avoid getting splattered with blood and guts, or even worse becoming a target yourself. At least if this is a fight where you have no dog involved.