Examples: expressing outrage at the actions of a co-worker, frustration over a relationship.
Drama: The artificial inflation of small, private issues into Huge Public Issues, especially Huge Public Issues that strangers to the initial issue get actively involved in.
Examples: strangers writing e-mails of outrage to a dunderhead co-worker, friends taking sides with a dissolving relationship.
Legitimate Public Issues: Issues actually of relevance to the general public, that the public could conceivably have an interest in becoming involved in.
Examples: fire, flood, disaster, political issue, holiday, debate/intellectual discussion, public safety hazard/warning/issue, kidnapping, missing persons alert.
Airing Dirty Laundry in Public: Addressing private issues in a public or less-than-private forum, often involving either addressing other parties to the issue in the forum, or venting in the presence of other parties to the issue or people who will let other parties to the issue know that it is being aired, especially when the other parties were under the impression that it was supposed to remain a private issue, or would have preferred that it remain a private issue. Often the start of dramatics. Airing Dirty Laundry in Public is a disrecommended form of venting.
Examples: writing a locked vent about a situation involving another party when that party is privy to the post, writing a locked vent involving another party when someone will tell the other party about the post, writing a note_to_asshat post about someone else who watches that community.
<Edit: adding material I contemplated last night but was too zonked to actually write>
Personal News: Sharing information about one's own life, especially to those who are interested in same. Many LJ entries have a lot of personal news. Personal news is often shared with people who are not immediately involved in the situation.
Examples: daily actions, triumphs, setbacks, goals, hopes, dreams, school, relationships, children...
Gossip: Personal news distributed by someone else other than someone immediately concerned with the news, shared with people who aren't immediately concerned with it either. There are good and bad sides to gossip. It does share news that may be of interest to friends and family not immediately concerned with the events, but it may also share more personal information than the people concerned would prefer to have in circulation. Also, as gossip is passed person to person, generally verbally, it can quickly become distorted.
Examples: digitalambience is getting married on May 15, 2004!! That Woman may or may not be a crack whore!
Slander & Libel: Respectively, spoken or printed untruths that damage the reputation of someone. These are legally actionable items. I do not know if there are any precedents set for damaging someone's online identity's reputation; I do know that damaging someone's face-to-face legal identity's reputation is actionable.
Examples: If I were to make a phone post detailing lies about bradfitz that would damage his reputation, that would be slander. If I wrote an entry detailing lies about bradfitz that would damage his reputation, that would be libel.
Apropos of: ...actually, lj_nifty. I was thinking about serial adders and trolls, because of the Who's Stalking Who? tool, and the new (and newly banned) serial adder who added me, probably in response to my participation in the thread over there. For the record, the only serial adder I actually derive amusement value from is cerealxadder, and I really wish the rest would just go back to Something Awful or wherever they crawled out of. (Yes, I am aware that some of my readers derive great pleasure from Something Awful. Some of the things found there are actually not so awful. A lot of it is. ) Something Awful is a proper forum for awful things. I do not find standards of behaviour suitable for Something Awful suitable for forums such as my journal, or LJ in general.
Why post definitions about dramatics because of a serial adder? Serial adders and drama storms are linked in my mind, because serial adders tend to get their joy out of winding up the easily pissed off, which is what trolls do as well. A good troll can create a drama storm out of even the best-regulated public forums. A naive user can wind up sounding scarily like a troll. A member in good standing of a forum who is also easily pissed off (especially those who have got a few hot-button issues) is an easy target for a troll.
And I digress.