Posted by Jawaballs at 10:22 AM
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...