What does it take to start a really nasty Flame War?

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Ok, everyone has been behaving themselves very nicely (quite like people with working brains), but we all know that a forum never really takes off until a good and hot flaming session gets started.

Has anyone really analyzed what it takes to get a nasty exchange going on a forum? I have my own theories and observations, but I'd be interested in hearing from other people.

What are the required elements to start a flame war? How does the nastiness begin and how is it increased? Who participates in such things?

-- Sherri (Magdalene@aol.com), June 10, 2001


"What are the required elements to start a flame war? "

Lesson One

An opinion combined with an attitude is usually a good start ;-) When I rant about politicians (especially republicans or other right wingers) in the Asylum, I can be sure of receiving a few flames. The Rightwing Posse is very triggerhappy. And usually too stupid to realize it has been taken for a ride. (Yes, little side-remarks like that are very effective firestarters too)

Lesson Two, anybody?

-- Rien (public1@xs4all.nl), June 11, 2001.

Hmmm... challenge Americans about gun control laws?

(Not to mention failing to recognize that some Americans are in favour of limiting gun availablity, thereby enraging ALL of them instead of just the ones I disagree with.)

-- Paulineee (paulineee_@hotmail.com), June 12, 2001.

Interesting idea there....It makes me curious, however. Is the US the only place on earth with liberal gun laws? What about Israel? South Africa? Russia? Indonesia? The Phillipines? Brazil? Argentina? I may have to research that.

I have a fledgling theory that places colonized by Europeans after gunpowder was introduced have different attitudes towards guns than places settled previous to guns.

But the idea -- that of picking out a topic sensitive due to nationality -- would certainly qualify as a spark for a flame war. Probably you could get similar results bringing up abortion, death penalty, drug control, human rights, or whether Elvis is really dead or not.

I'm not familiar enough with politics and social concerns in the various European countries to pick out a topic like that -- could you come up with something that would, for instance, set off someone from Great Britain or France?

Another thought -- is selecting a topic of concern and contention like that similar to picking up a topic based on ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual preference?

-- Sherri (Magdalene@aol.com), June 12, 2001.

Probably... it's difficult to start a flame war while being politically correct.

(I'll respond to the other thread tomorrow.. want to sleep on it.)

-- Paulineee (paulineee_@hotmail.com), June 13, 2001.

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