Flame Wars

Image swiped from mobocracy.net

We have all done it.
Something ticked us off.
We have trolled a forum or thread, reading all the tits and tats, watching one know it all braggart spew his opinion after another... until finally we had enough. Maybe he offended our favorite army. Maybe he misquoted a rule. Maybe he called you out directly...

For whatever reason, it is time to throw in our two cents. Next thing you know, we are getting sucked into a flame war to rival the western front! I admit, there is something to be said for the theraputic value of crafting the perfect zinger of an email or post and clicking submit. We savor the moment... rereading our post over and over, then immediately going to the thread and reading it there to see just how it looks. Following the count of readers who have viewed it... It's perfect. We managed to use no less then 30 words that we NEVER get to use in conversation. We managed to use just the right mix of quotes, italics and CAPITAL LETTERS! But most importantly, we managed to prove our point and make the other guy look like a total douche. I mean, seriously, We are right and every one else is wrong... right? Upon reading our masterpiece of cyber flame, the other guy will just completely admit he was wrong... right? Wrong.

The sad truth of it is that all sides involved in a flame war lose because to any one not involved we just look like a couple of bickering grade schoolers. You might think that the Emperor himself has graced you with omnipotence and grace, but in the end, your post is just full of anger. Not to mention double words like "Your mother smells and and she dresses you funny." Or misuses of important words like "Their, you went and made me mad." or "Battle for Salvation? There just a bunch of bible thumpers." Or strings of capital letters, spelling mistakes, omitted apostrophes, and guh... you name it.

Any one of these things are just feeding fuel to the flame war. No matter what you say, or how well crafted you say it... all you need is a single error and the other guy is off on a tangent, taking advantage of your misfire.

What is worse is the use of the "quote". You can write a 30 page dissertation of a forum post pointing out the multiple ways some dude is a douche complete with diagrams and pie charts... and he can invalidate it all and send the thread in a completely different direction by taking an irrelevant quote out of your copy and twisting it around and around. It is enough to make a circus clown puke.

What it comes down to is that there are a lot of guys out there who thrive off hate. They are miserable with their lives and it brings some small amount of pleasure to share that misery with others. They are never wrong, they know every thing, and they can bury you with vocabulary if you try to contest their power.

Getting sucked into a flame war with one of these guys just brings you down. You might think you have expressed your opinion in a clear and concise manner, when actually it is just a bunch of confusing dribble that makes you look like a babbling idiot. Uninvolved readers will just look at both of you and thank the internets for the entertainment.

So I guess you have to ask yourself... are you guilty of this? Are you a douche? Is that what you want to be? I sure don't.

Next time you feel the need to heat up the flame thrower, do this instead. Write your post. Revel in your cleverness. Then call a friend, or better yet, call a work colleague. Read your masterpiece to them over the phone... hear your self speaking the words. Let them resonate in the room for a few minutes... let them sink in... get it off your chest... then click cancel and go cuddle with your girl. You will thank yourself in the morning.

Are any of you guilty of this? What was your worst experience in a flame war? Have you ever written something and immediately regretted it?

More to come...



Kevinmcd28 said...

lol i approve of this message
ie. history channel conspiricy flame war

jawaballs said...

Haha, my history channel conspiracy post is a great example. What started out as a light hearted but fun post turned into a bunch of name calling and hate. I bowed out of the discussion when I wrote up a nice flame but after reading it out loud hated myself for writing it and hit cancel instead.

Kevin said...

jawa, i do that all the time. Write out an epic flame, look at it, and then hate myself for wanting to be a douche on the internet just because I can hide behind a veil of anonymity.

AutarchAndrew said...

who pissed you off jawa?

lastofthedaydreams said...

peace and love... If we would all but have lived here in Amsterdam in the sixties and played the game over a good deal of grass, or whatever at hand... life would have been so nice. Perhaps you would even stop rolling ones and Fritz would no longer take all his invul saves for the sake of being friendly. Nids would be embraced for the creativity of its makers, and everyone would field Dark Eldar and Crons, because the old ways are best, and besides, everyone is welcome to come along. I'm looking forward to reliving those days.

But back on topic, I believe the internet medium, be in through blogs like these, or in online gaming, or whatever, give way for people to show human behavior we prefer not to engage in reality.

So even though the ranting and flaming is not always adding value to the discussing, you can't see the light if you do not know what darkness is.... I rather have people flame and rant on the net, than on the table. That is where the community feel should be about hanging out with people you dig and share a hobby with, after which you go have a beer, and rant on in friendly incohesive manner.

By the way; excellent post on the space marine tank thread. Definitely made me think things over (again) to slowly grown those dragon wings.

Nice blogging again Jawa, preciate the effort.

oni said...

I did it once, hit post, but after a few minutes erased the message and made an apology. The guy never actually got to read the message, but could tell that I had said 'something'.

I'm by no means 'that guy' or a douche. I'm a decent person and well liked, but to be perfectly honest since we're on the the subject... There have been several occasions where I wanted to let loose on you, Jawaballs. Never have and probably never will, because I understand that it's most likely just a clash of personalities and/or ideals. I do have a modicum of respect for you as a person and choose to uphold that respect. Perhaps this comment along with your post will paint the picture of self control a little better.

Jwolf said...

I only get in flame wars with your Mom! :)

These days I type up my flames and delete them. No sense feeding trolls and arguing with the illiterati.

If there is a point I am desperate to have the other guy get, I send him a PM. Almost never works, but it's better than getting in a Nyah-nyah slapfight.

Black Matt said...

Yeah, I was the subject of a whole blog post http://bloodofkittens.com/?p=941
and I didnt know about it for the longest time.
The thing is that tasty taste was just wrong in several of the things he pointed out. His opinion is solid because I am a douche bag but there are several facts that are very wrong! I have thought about countering several times that I see it show up on my statcounter but am proud when I dont each and every time. I guess I should take this time to apologize to him. Let me clear my throat. Tasty Taste, I am sorry for being such a douche bag and you are right, I should take down my blog. If I did it any more publicly than this, it would start a flame war!

jawaballs said...

Andrew, No one at all! I was actually talking with Black Matt about this thing that he just mentioned. I warned him to be careful because responding to something, even if you mean the best, can make you look just as bad as the original poster. That sort of got my fingers typing.

Oni, do we know each other? You are always welcome to disagree or tell me what you think. If it is done like some jackass just tossing off words then I ignore it or delete it.

But if you are respectful, state your position in a clear and rational manor, and keep a sense of humor, I will always respond in kind. I like rational debates. My buddy Ed (Pissclams) does it all the time. He is not afraid to call me out and tell me what he thinks online, but it is in the spirit of friendly debate.

Some one else remarked about the human nature thing. I think he just touched on something. I shall have to ponder this and do a follow up post. :)

vexxedBA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jawaballs said...

For me this stuff dates back to 1998 or so when I was in a guild playing Everquest. We had a forum, and most of the guys, including myself were all very new to board posting. You should have seen some of the dramatic rants! It was amazing. Man I would sit up all night writing the perfect reply to some dudes post, only to have him deflect it by pointing out some minor error.

Then came Star Wars Galaxies and all the dudes who would cry about unfair PVP. Too funny. :)

vexxedBA said...

Its all very strange, after reading the whole thing on bloodofkittens i did feel compelled to leave a message. it angered me because if you dont like someones blog, then don't read and don't judge. However, after leaving the message, i don't feel any different and i won't go back to look at it, so the reality of it is, what was the point?

AutarchAndrew said...

Wow i read that post on bloodofkittens absolute BS someone should like ban that post or something

knightyc said...

how sad it is to be writing something like that. god forbid he goes on my blog lol. I went onto his couldnt really be that botherd to look around a bit confusing for 1am to see what the hell looking at. Black Matt I think your painting is cool. For myself I know mine sucks. As jawa said its fine for someone to sit on the net slagging someone off because youll prob never meet the person. But tbh you must be very sad and or bored to write something that long about one person. someone needs a job and life lol.

keep up the good work jawa looking forward to sunday :)

jawaballs said...

The thing that bothers me about that post is that Matt really cares about his painting. He puts his heart into it and the dude has a lot of passion. If bloodykittens knew Matt, he would be ashamed for writing it. I mean seriously, the fact that the guy wrote it months ago and it still bothers Matt to the point that he was asking advice on how to properly respond says a lot.

There is a fine line between being funny and being hurtful. I can see some humor in what the guy wrote, but since I know Black Matt, it is decidedly unfunny.

AutarchAndrew said...

what i say is as 40k players we are a community and we should treat each other eqaul even if we disagree or dont get along outside or inside the hobby.

Brent said...

I have to admit, it would really bother my if they went after Strictly Average that way. I don't think my blog is the best on the net, but it inspires me and I enjoy doing it. It's funny, something that could never bother my IRL could in the ol' Blogoshere, and I've not met most of these folks face-to-face before.

Regarding the topic, I got into it with Paul over on YTTH over... well, best not to rehash it: point is, I drafted this ugly post and almost sent it, before my wife pointed out how hateful it was. I deleted it and wrote a post 'giving up' and much the whole thing bothered me.

Funny thing is, Paul was very cool about it; from his perspective, it wasn't that big a deal. His response allowed me to let the whole thing go, but also pointed out how wrong I would have been had I taken that last shot.


jawaballs said...

Brent touched on a good point. Usually, something that we have gotten worked up about is not a big deal at all to the parties involved.

Black Matt said...

I will admit that the blood of kittens post
is pretty damn funny! I wanted to respond because I didn't want to be portrayed as weak.
You have to defend yourself at some point.
I probably would have responded if I knew about it when it happened but I just found out about it a
little while ago. It is a funny post though.

lastofthedaydreams said...

just for the record; I like your blog Matt, and think the paintjob is outstanding, for an entire army.

Of course one could do better in painting competitions for single models, but for an overal army your sh*t is funky!

Saab(Greg) said...

Oh Internet 40k Celebs. . .

Chris and Matt:
Do people in your immediate gaming club/store enjoy what you bring to the hobby? "YES"

Do new people who play you for the first time enjoy the game and feel they were respected? "Yes"

Do "outside" gaming clubs/stores extend invites to you because they enjoy your input and presence? "Yes"

Can you make a "competitive game" FUN? "Yes"

I was able to answer all those very important questions(imho) for YOU, myself.

Who gives a rats ass what ONE talking 40k bobble-head said on the internet. Hell, 40K blogs are like A-holes, Everyone's got one and most smell/read like sh*t!

The gamers who matter to you like and respect you, be happy with that. I know I am

Grats on the Baby Chris!

jawaballs said...

Thanks Greg! Hey Fritz and I are looking for a Conflict team....

Flekkzo said...

I've written and said some pretty heavy and stupid shit in my life. The worse is that I know that I am making a mistake as I am doing it but the frustration (sometimes turned to anger) takes over.

Thing is, I am generally pretty nice and helpful. Got a sense of humor and isn't violent (not even when drunk). So it stands to reason that there are others with the same duality. Lucky enough I have learned to not post angry posts nearly as often as I have the opportunity.

So should you fight over the Internet? Let me ask this, will you feel better? Will it get better? Probably not.

If the other guy is a douche, you are up excrament creek without a means of propulsion. No way a reply is worth it. If the guy is nice, try sending a nice email and explain things. It's worth a shot.

Last, the Internet is a mean place, don't put too much stock in opinions from the internet. If someone think that what you do suck, let it go. I am sure someone stumbled upon my blog (that dearly needs new posts) and hated on it.

To Matt: Feeling angry won't make a different to to the poster, but it will affect you. You are only hurting yourself and it will be better if you didn't. Think about that.

Now enough with the serious! I bought a WH40k book about the "Sons of Dorn" today. That is far cooler than hating:)

Saab(Greg) said...

Sounds good to me Chris, just need a 4th person.
Wait until you seen my new paint job and display board. Looks like a totally new army

jawaballs said...

Greg are you the only Grim boy going this weekend?

Saab(Greg) said...

Nah, there's 6 40k players and like 5-7 Fantasy players. Outside of the top 4, none of us have even talked about teams. If I see any of them tonight I'll ask. I know Dave is bringing his Dark Eldar and would probably join us if we asked

jawaballs said...

Just grab some one good! If you and me can take 1-2 again, and fritz will take his usual 4th or 5th, one more guy in the top 6 should put us in good position for it all. :)

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