Flaming

Flaming, also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of a Internet forum, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Usenet, by e-mail, game servers such as Xbox Live or Playstation Network, and on video-sharing websites. It is frequently the result of the discussion of heated real-world issues such as politics, sports, religion, and philosophy, or of issues that polarise subpopulations, but can also be provoked by seemingly trivial differences. Deliberate flaming, as opposed to flaming as a result of emotional discussions, is carried out by individuals known as flamers, who are specifically motivated to incite flaming. These users specialize in flaming and target specific aspects of a controversial conversation, and are usually more subtle than their counterparts.

Their counterparts are known as trolls who write obvious and blunt remarks to incite a flame war, as opposed to the more subtle, yet precise flamers. Some websites even cater for flamers and trolls, by allowing them a free environment, such as Flame-Wars forum. Flamebait is a message posted to a public Internet discussion group, such as a forum, newsgroup or mailing list, with the intent of provoking an angry response (a ‘flame’) or argument over a topic the poster often has no real interest in. While flaming can occur as a result of legitimate debates or grievances, flamebait implies the intentional posting of inflammatory rhetoric or images.

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