I've found that PvE brings out the worst in people...and dear God, the sheer number of them...meh.
Spend a day PUGing PvP and a day PUGing PvE...there's going to be far more moaning, groaning, elitism, and crap going on in the PvE than in the PvP.
But yeah, folks have this image of PvPers as the worst kind of scum out there...
We're stretching a touch into something that could probably be its own topic, but I'll put my thoughts out there.
1) A lot of PvErs feel that way, maybe they don't voice it.
2) I think there are aspects of PvE that are also social - this game unfortunately does not promote them very well.
3) While I've found quite a number of e-peen wagging bafoons in PvE, I do think what happens is that PvP does, sometimes, attract personalities that are both caustic and parasitic. Players who literally derive enjoyment from the misery of others or who simply enjoy tossing around vitriol under the false guise of "telling it like it is". These are definitely not the norm though.
Unfortunately #3 is very loud, very visible and makes enough of an idiotic stink to ruin the image of the rest of the community.
I'll go out on a limb and say those players also have probably clouded the view of PvP and PvPers for many game developers.
It's nice to see just how many players here have basically come out against that without trying to, simply by showing how important community, friendship and competition are to PvP and PvPers in general.
Internet PVP tends to have a high sample of misfits. This game has a few, the reason it doesnt have more is because the PVP isnt attractive enough to have a significant pool to draw from. A lot of people restrain their builds on purpose becasue you all know each other and want some peer respect, but there is still KDF fleeties in Kerrat sucker-punching low-level Feds who are fighting off a sphere. A lot of people just say effit, and then turn off that part of the game.
What motivates me to PvP these days? Quite simple really: I enjoy the thrill of hunting down others, grouping up with my buddies, maneuvering the target into a vulnerable position, and then proceeding to cause misery and suffering to the unfortunate in a (relatively) permanent way. This is why I'm playing EVE of late, instead of STO.
Too bad the carebears would quite en-masse if they were told that the shiny ship they spent dilithium on is permanently gone now because I blew them to smithereens.
At this point, PvE in STO is boring to me. It isn't challenging at all, nor has it been since launch. At least to me.
I do enjoy the building of ships, trying them out with the various bridge officers, duty officers, equipment, etc. to see how efficient I can make them, but testing those builds vs. the AI doesn't mean anything to me. Only PvP gives the challenge needed for me to improve the builds.
In practically all other games I play, I PvE only. This game is one of the very rare occasions where I PvP. The only games I remember that I enjoyed PvP was in Star Fleet Command (1 and 2), and X-wing vs. Tie Fighter. Outside of those games, I've stuck to only PvE.
Winning or losing, doesn't matter to me. The best matches are those that are close in score, and whether I win or lose, if the game was challenging and close, I enjoy it.
Blowing players up is infinitely more interesting and entertaining than facerolling the same borg ad nauseam, even if looking at the same maps since forever has become a running joke. And it awards a borderline insulting amount of EC, but it's more EC than any other mission awards, and I'm poor. And getting cheesed by other players is a bit less stressful then getting insta-gibbed by invisitorps, if only marginally so.