I am not one to chat much when playing online poker tournaments. I do however go out of my way to say hi if somebody makes an effort and recognizes my player ID. Overall though, you will never hurt your game or your chances by never uttering a word in the chat box.
Chatters tend to get distracted, emotionally involved, and open themselves up to ridicule and arguments with others who are willing to participate. What you should be using the chat box for is monitoring your opponents, not engaging them. By not participating in chat you accomplish many positive things. Not the least of which will be that you will always have your opponents guessing no matter how hard they try. Silence will also keep you focused on your game, while others waste time trying to divulge information from you.
Even the best of players with subdued temperaments can be tempted to get involved in conversations that will likely become aggravated exchanges. You have to admit yourself that most conversations just turned ugly when it comes to online poker. Most players that participate in these types of exchanges are angry, jealous, and heading for tilted landscapes. You’re just not going to feel any better arguing with them, even if you are right. And what would that help anyway? By arguing something that is so right in poker, are you not just giving free training to your weaker opponents?
Negative words can affect your play, no matter what type of idiot in its shooting them do you in the chat box. But they will only affect your play if you get involved. By choosing to not respond to chat, you are more likely to send your opponent to the rail by encouraging his poor play, and holding your head above the fray. If you engage in vicious online poker chat with these players, you may actually be giving them some advantage over you, while distracting you from your own game.
Chat box silence, you may find will be a very calm in fact upon you are decisions during the game. Next time you play tournament, try restricting your total comments to “gg” after your last hand of the game, whether you win or lose.