Andrew, that is a stupid question and you must be a very stupid person to ask it! EVERYONE knows what FLAMING is. Where have you been living? Under some ROCK some place? And do we really have to put up with this kind of stupid waste of band width on this list?

There is a dynamic I've observed on a number of mailing lists that I find quite interesting. People sometimes express themselves in a manner which lacks respect for the opinions of other list members
When jumping into a discussion without the standard cues of inflection, posture and expression, the words themselves are being asked to carry a burden we do not usually require of written language, without a great deal of polishing. The 'on the fly' nature of most postings, and the tendency to 'grab' at the language on the tip of your tounge, may account for the hot-headed nature of responses or observations that start disagreements.
Speaking in terms of group dynamics, in places where I have seen flaming go unchecked, I have to wonder sometimes if there isn't a desire by the group to *encourage* the conflict, perhaps to distract from other issues. It is easy (well, it *should* be easy) to simply not respond to a flamer, but often people pick up the bait. They're hooked. I often whether, in private communiction, they don't get egged on by voyeurs.
this question of retaliation is interesting... as it seems to me that whatever piss-people-off type shit is stirred up, it is stirred up here, on the net, and therefore no, i suppose one does not expect several people to arrive at ones door to beat one up.
Oh, don't be so insulting Matt. I thought that at least I could expect my psychobabble to be understood by another babbler
I'm sure hauling your intelligence around with you is hard work, but why exhaust yourself by lugging it around the net as you often do? You must be getting quite tired by now.
Just as in "real life" aggression and pugilistic tendencies are, not just condoned, but highly rewarded and admired when done well as long as they're done in a formal, stylized non-destructive manner (football games, boxing matches, "down and dirty" debates, politics), are flame wars an actual or potential spectator sport on the net?
One of my favourite topics...FLAMES!!!!
Speak for yourself--Bag-O-Wind.
And, BTW, I hadn't realized I was picking a fight with you.
I have spent a great deal of time editing and responding to this one of the many book chapters you and the powers that be have transported to my shack in the western desert. I marvel at the phenomenon. Please try to talk less and say more. Please.
Really Harriet, I doubt if any less strongly put message would have gotten through. I realize you can not change the ways of a lifetime, but I suspect grabbing the podium is pretty much your modus operendi for getting your way.
I think your post demostrates that you are yourself are capable of extremely aggressive behavior. How can others be "safe" from you and who other than a thoughly thick-skinned person would dare invite your wrath?
I could really give a shit if some jerk 2000 miles away thinks I'm an asshole.
I think in order to get anything done here you need 1) a group, 2) a commitment by the group to look at some (not all) things seriously and 3) some type of group unity. When it comes to name calling, I really feel the best thing the group can do as a whole is ignore it and get on about their business. Any comments on such activities, in my view, just compounds the behavior.
I work in a place where being called a stupid hunk of possom vomit is a sign of affection, and the inability to "take it" is considered a character flaw
Dear kids, this is war, anything goes - if something bothers you kill it, ignore it or fry the living bejeezus out of it with your flame module.
I can see that you have learned a few nasty habits. Or are you a calculating nihilist?
Your personal attacks cross the line. The serial, personal nature of your insults are very emotionally abusive and cause pain not only in the direct subjects of your attacks but in bystanders as well. It is sickening to have to witness this sort of thing.
I believe I responded appropriately to an abusive post. It is not appropriate to ignore abuse or pretend it is simply a good-faith message.
AHA! OK everybody, this explains it...Fred's a lawyer... shoulda known...
I never know what's really right. Obviously if you go too far you piss everybody off and the original abuse you are responding to is ignored.
I see very little reason on this list to not fully explore the subject, in practice, as well as in theory.
Here's what flame-bait really looks like:
As to flame wars...two simple observations: 1. Some people seem to feel that flame wars are net.fun, while most list participants watch them with something akin to rubbernecking at a car crash on the highway; you slow down and look even though you are likely to be horrified by the sight. 2. If you can't resist rising to what appears to be flame-bait, signify you are flaming and that you know it.
FLAME ON: PFFFFFFFFHHHTTT!!! (Flatulent sound -- a 'raspberry' or 'Bronx Cheer', depending on your whereabouts). I don't believe a word of this: I sincerely believe you were planning to muscle in on things in a most devaluing, controlling manner and that it is disingenuous of you to suggest now, after the fact, that you 'had it all planned'. Even if you had, it would still have revealed you as insensitive and devoid of the awareness of human relations you purport to hold, and that, sir, is not 'psychobabble'. FLAME OFF.
Makes me think that "flames" may be irresponsibly emoted unconscious activity of the organism [group] by individuals who think they just don't give a damn anymore.
Serious flaming is generally agreed to be an energy pit. I have observed that generally both work and play comes to a screaching halt. This should be empirically verifiable on any list that experiences enough conflict. Also the evil twin of flaming, unsubscribing, should be empirically verifiable
So rather than flame the content of the post or poster, I can see where talking about the "process" of how it makes me feel like flaming would be infinitely more productive to the group as a whole
A flamer doesn't simply generate more and more fury from the group. The group interacts and the situation escalates. How many times have I received private posts from concerned members (not just on this list) and sent posts of the same nature to others saying: "For God's sake, don't engage! If we ignore him/her, they'll stop") Well,that's nigh impossible, as we all know. Some group member will go for the last word, take the last shot, and we're all in for another round.
Then, is the absensce of cues that we often consider a hinderance to communication a lubricant for transference? If it is, do we not have the beginnings of at least one theory why fawning and flaming are more common on the net than courteous and effective communication?
Essentially, I think that the flames happen when primitive anxieties are elicited and when the external environment are unable to contain these primitive anxieties either through understanding or reverie.
What part of "I agree" don't you understand?
All of the net phenomena such as flames, projections, etc. are part and parcel of this (the net) form of relating and so far as I am concerned, the only reasonable way to try to understand it is in "here and now" (meaning through whatever topic is under discussion) exploration of what goes on with our own process. Any other way is just too far removed to be of much use.
I love written discourse, but I don't have the emotional reserves to engage in combative discussions. In my world, Internet time is for relaxing and exploring. I get plenty of conflict working at the UAW-GM interface. (grin)
It's interesting that you mention that "flame wars" involve more than just the combatants. I've seen situations where the antagonists are seeking closure, but the comments of the "spectators" keep the fire going.
There are a slew of 'young 'uns' on the net. They bring an enormously rich perspective to the debate. They are however, in many (but decidely not all) cases still undergoing the transition to a post-formal operations approach to discussion and debate. They see the world in rigid, ideological terms. They confuse discussion with persuasion, and belief with truth. In my experience, the majority of 'flamers' in discussion groups (I've had no experience with BBS's) fall into this age group. They are disproportionately male, and young (under 30).
In certain groups the majority of flame wars erupt when a 'non-believer' joins in the discussion of 'believers'. What is interesting is that this is not about one party making an argument for the sake of 'converting' another party. The fortune tellers won't be reasoned with, refuse to, and, amazingly, neither does the debunker. The discussion almost inevitably devolves to the level of name-calling.

Now, if I was positive that, say, para-normal phenomena cannot exist, why would I go into a group of believers in the para-normal to grind my axe?. …. .This is a real question. There is some emotional kick, some desire for *action* being played out and I've seen highly informed, credentialed and expert persons make an ass of themselves as they tilt against the windmills of the unbeliever. When their 'sober' logical arguement falls on deaf ears they lash out in frustration in a 'drunken' arguement of vitriol and pejoration; the expert's rationalism reduced to the irrationalism of their opponent.

But I doubt we'll learn much about internet communication, flaming, etc. This requires attention being paid to irrational aspects of human behavior, I'm afraid, and irrationality is apparently not a popular subject on this list -- not at present, anyhow.
and now, *i* shall practice *self*-control. cause anything i would write beyond this would rightly be called flaming
"Flame," to me, means harsh remarks, personal attacks, cynical attitudes, and sometimes verbal war. An occasional "screw you" seems more in the boundaries of ordinary discourse.
I was astonished at the tone of my message when it was echoed back to me by the list server. I had thought I had carefully phrased the message to avoid a flame event. However, upon reading it, I realized the contentiousness of the phraseology I chose.
I'm left with but one option, sadly. That is to tell you to fuck off; we're doing the best we know how to do.
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