Ruining other players experiences does not make you a hard ass in real life. It doesn't make you an asshole. You see where I am going with this?
You're right that ruining others' experiences doesn't make someone a hard ass in real life. Quite the opposite. But it DOES make them an asshole. In fact this is exactly the kind of behavior that is the problem with our current, internet-fueled generation:
As some of you may have noticed, there are many of us in this thread, some on both sides of this little debate, that are capable of discussing this issue civilly, while others are more inclined not to talk "with" others, but "at" others. This whole hiding behind anonymity as an excuse to act like a douchebag just because they don't have to stand face-to-face with the person they're verbally abusing, is definitely the fabric of asshole.
On this site I'm Nemesis-mkIX, a completely anonymous avatar, but I, like many others make the effort not to hide behind that, in speaking much the same the way I would with strangers on forums and online as I would face-to-face in real life given the same conversation.
Maybe some people just have such low self-esteem that it makes them feel like a bigger person to wear their avatar mask and troll and carry on like a douche, or maybe it's just because in their minds, they actually are. In either case, it doesn't say any more good about their character in real life than it does about their virtual lives.
So where am I going with this?
If possible, there should be some effort towards social order infused into online communities that separates the anti-social from those who don't use the anonymity of an avatar just to project a negative experience on others.
More importantly, while it's easy enough to just leave the situation, it shouldn't be the victim in these instances who is required to go out their way to avoid such behavior EVERY time. If that's the "grand solution" then what does that say about our generation? Has the Information Age really made us any more civilized? Whoever said that "progress never takes a back-step" certainly never had to deal the social issues it created.
I applaud R*'s effort to try to combat this backward behavior, but in a game that encourages assholes to do their thing as much GTA generally does, I'm not sure it can really be implemented effectively to make "good-sports" happy with it. Especially in the realm of those who would go out of their way to abuse it, and the positive experiences of others.