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Yes I have referenced the loathsome Wikipedia, but honestly, I don’t think Webster has the definition for this one yet.

Flaming is a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of a discussion board, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) or even through e-mail. An Internet user typically generates a flame response to other posts or users posting on a site, and such a response is usually not constructive, does not clarify a discussion, and does not persuade others. Sometimes, flamers attempt to assert their authority, or establish a position of superiority over other users. Other times, a flamer is simply an individual who believes he or she carries the only valid opinion. This leads him or her to personally attack those who disagree. In some cases, flamers wish to upset and offend other members of the forum, in which case they can be called “trolls“. Most often however, flames are angry or insulting messages transmitted by people who have strong feelings about a subject.

I decided that “flamer” is an appropriate noun to assign to one who flames.

I absolutely abhor the person who takes a poorly placed political comment and turns it into a debate. A Facebook or Twitter status of “Uggghhhh massive government spending…Obama better not screw this up” can turn into an all out flame war. Some die-hard Obama lover, now assumes that you are an ignorant, ill-informed, Obama hater and it’s their duty to set you straight via an internet forum.

I’ve had this happen to me so many times. I’m sick of it! Why do these people insist on starting a discussion by pissing you off?? Oh yes, they insist that it’s a discussion and they intend ONLY to have an intelligent conversation.

Just in case you find yourself in a discussion on an internet forum (Myspace, Digg, Facebook, any comment section), and you’re a little uncomfortable but you’re not sure if it’s an all-out flame war…

The tell-tale signs of a flame-war:

  • Reference to a controversial site or that refers to itself as “alternative news” (, alternet, rawstory,, You’ll know the site when you see only severely skewed information – usually praising one faction and bashing another, and usually centered around religion or politics.
  • Flowery language and overstatements. Words that you have to look up.
  • Personal attacks, usually referring to your “overreacting.” Insulting the object of the flame becomes the primary goal and usually the object only sinks to rebuttal in order to redeem himself and prove that he is not the hothead he appears.

If your conversation meets any one of these criterion, you have been flamed.

The best way to exit a flame war is to never enter into it in the first place. Ignore his comment (or delete it if possible), and move on. But, should you find yourself so incensed by his insults that you cannot resist, here are some suggestions:

  • Remind the attacker that you did not invite a discussion, merely made a sarcastic comment that was not intended to be taken seriously. Warning: he will call you closed-minded and unwilling to hear opposition, or unable to make a viable argument.
  • Do NOT sink to his level and resort to insults of intelligence or opinion.
  • When he cites aforementioned alternative news website, do a little research on the site and its reputability, and point out the invalidity of such “news.” Example: is run by a fashion photographer.
  • Catch any tiny grammar or spelling infraction and tear it to shreds. Insist that it is the key indicator of his intelligence.
  • Compliment his zeal and enthusiasm while suggesting that he use it for good rather than evil.
  • When the “woah cowboy, don’t get so upset!” comments ensue, remind him (and your readers) that his obvious goal was to incite a HEATED discussion, and insults are not condusive to productive arguments.
  • Ask how many years he’s served in office, or how large his constituency is.
  • Insist on an apology for the rude manner in which you have been treated.
  • Do not block the user unless the comments are personal, using foul language, or just plain out of hand (your judgement). You will be called immature, narrow-minded, unable to listen, and many other hurtful things. Don’t listen – this person doesn’t know you and doesn’t deserve any of the energy you are putting into this ridiculous exchange.

Here is my opinion on political opinions:

Honestly, I don’t care a whole lot about politics. I have a few opinions, but mostly they’re on general things like abortion, government programs, corporate punishment, etc. I don’t ever outright undermine the leader of our great nation, no matter who is in office. Every leader makes good AND bad decisions (just as all of us do), and cheering the losses of someone you do not like is immature and downright evil. You know who I voted for? Nobody. Yep, so don’t go bitching at me about McCain or whomever else you assume I cheered for. I didn’t get on ANY bandwagon. I don’t look forward to an Obama White House (moreso because of the gloating and over-zealous pride that we are experiencing), but I wish him the best and I hope that his term is successful because I want my country to be successful. I wish for that more than I wish to be right.



  1. Not only is this a good clip because it shows most people don't know what they're talking about when they are fanatics, but the "flaming" that went on under the clip is ridiculous.

  2. HAHA that’s the point of these media outlets. “Flaming” has been happening since the message boards of the 90s, it’s not going anywhere. Besides, If I was a consultant I would want these flames to fire, more tweets = more quantitative data I can take to my client and say “we’re really getting our message out there”

  3. Well, from the mind of a consultant, yes I can see how “flaming” could be helpful. However, as a simple-minded internet user…I’d like to just state an opinion without being attacked by someone who’s looking for a fight. If/when I get flamed again, I’ll send a transcript your way Mike!

  4. Liz, this clip is amazing. Point proven: people are idiot sheep.

  5. you always find interesting stuff online.. i don’t ever find it. what’s your secret?

    ps – i tagged you :)

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