What's with flaming? I really don't understand it.

For those of you who don't know, in 'net lingo, flaming is the (usually uncalled for) large-scale verbal berating of a person for having an idea or opinion that differs from your own. It usually contains lots of 4 letter words, wonderful mental inagery, and threats of physical harm if the opinion/idea shows up again.

Anyways, this practice often ends up making the flamer look stupid, and making the flamee, usually a newb, or other inexperienced person, feeling angry and hurt. (face it. stuff people on the internet say affects you the same as what anyone else says.)

Flaming has it's roots in the early days of the internet. It takes the place of things like ritual hazing in fraternities and other clubs/institutions. The same mindset of "since i've been here longer than you, i must somehow be better/smarter/more-attractive-to-the-opposite-sex-even- though-i-have-no-life-because-i-stay-on-the-computer-all-day-and-never-see-a-girl than you".

Understand that tearing someone a new one electronically for doing exactly what you just told them not to, or because, even after an hour (or less, drepending on the situation) of explanation, the person can't grasp the fact the, no matter what, you can't put DSL on a gameboy, is not the same as a flame.

Flaming is much less constructive. something like this...

[guy 1] I like pickles. they taste like yummy.

[girl 1] Meh, pickles are gross. Except for bread and butter pickles, those are good.

[guy 2] HOW DARE YOU NOT LIKE PICKLES!!! WHY THE #%$# DO YOU KEEP COMING HERE?! YOU ARE A $#&*) ^&#@*&# AND I'M GONNA *&(* YOUR *&&*)( %@*@!%& WITH A BIG $#*($&#( UNTILL YOU $(#*&$(# YOU (*$#($ ($*&@^!!! ^%&#!(@!!!

This is not acceptable here for ANY REASON.

Be nice to people. The stupid people of today are the (sometimes only slightly) smarter people of tomorrow.

You were once stupid too.

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Flaming has it's place

Flaming is still continued because it's effective if applied correctly. Consider if a new user comes into the forums and asks a question that has been answered a hogjillion times.

Would you flame them right away? Of course not. Simply tell them the answer and point them to the FAQ of whatever knowledge-base that addresses new users questions.

What about a second or third time the same user asks a question that has already been answered in the aformentioned FAQ or knowledge-base? At what point do you stop spoon-feeding the newbie and make him read the damn docs?

[newbie] How do you open a terminal?
[Board Vet] It's in the FAQ that I pointed you to about two weeks ago. Go read that.
[newbie] But I'm a complete retard who can barely tie my own shoes.

This is where flaming comes into play. After a good verbal dressing down the guy will either go bottle-feed off of some other forums or learn to read for himself.

You have to consider that you're not gonna get one uninformed person a day asking these questions, but quite possibly hundreds. When DSL get's so large that nothing new is being discussed, just the rehashing of the same old questions over and over, you'll wish that more tough love was shown in the beginning by making people find the easy answers themselves.