What are some topics that have caused "flame wars" in the past?
For all the general randomness on the Net, one of the more consistent
things you see if you watch long enough is the annual Posting of the
FlameBait. The way it usu. works is that somewhere around the time a new
college semester starts, an inflammatory posting will appear on the net.
It is usually (but not always) a hateful attack on one branch of the human
race or another, and/or based on linking some undesirable trait
or behavior with some outward appearance. It could simply
be a statement designed to attack the icons of a given subculture.
Or it can accuse the members of a subculture of a multitude of heinous
acts. It is usually (but not always) cross posted to many different
The posting can be recognized easily enough, but it generally engenders
three types of response. The first is a plea to ignore the original
posting. The second type is an outraged counter attack. The third
an outraged counter argument. Usually each response quotes
most of the text of the initial post. In the course of a couple weeks
the original post will have been repeated dozens of times, wasting alot of
time, energy and material. Uncountable thousands of dollars worth of
hardware and software and net.bandwidth are sucked up and consumed.
THE WAY TO HANDLE FLAMEBAIT: Ignore it! If for some reason the FlameBait
is too horrible to stand, then use private Email. If you have to spend
your time attacking or rebutting some fool, it is best done (like many
things) in private. Email to postmaster@hostname and tell her about
this horrible person abusing the tender ears in cyberspace. Some
sys-admins are actually pretty good about these matters, and can get
to the source of the problem efficiently.
EXERCISE SOME CARE : Also remember, there are a large number of techno-
freaks out there who spend hours figuring out how to crack accounts, and
some percentage of them will then post some screed to a network from the
cracked account. You may be spending hours of your life responding to
these horrible mad ravings, to a person who *didn't* *do* *it* in the
first place. Ask yourself if it is a worthwhile way to spend your time
[contributed by Frank Caherty: email@example.com
edited by John J. Wood: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Return to the top of the FAQ.