I can't believe the choices that some people make regarding the ways in which they use technology. The Internet is a great way to stay connected with friends, and gain knowledge about everything and anything. Yet, some people spend their time on the Internet harassing, insulting, and emotionally abusing other innocent Internet users. Phillip A. Thompson discusses this behavior, known as flaming, in Communication and Cyberspace. Thompson explains that flaming is both a media use and a media evaluation - he says that "those who feel the medium is inadequate or inappropriate for the expression of emotions would seem to be less likely to craft flaming messages than those who may be more comfortable in expressing emotions in this manner". I'm not sure I agree with Thompson here. I don't think that those who engage in abusive behavior online have actually taken the time to evaluate the Internet as a medium for expressing feelings. I think they are simply bored, mean, selfish, and unproductive individuals who can only make themselves feel good by belittling others.
Last semester I took a Politics and New Media class with Dr. Levinson where we learned how to share our political views through blogging and pod casting. On many occasions Dr. Levinson showed the class how negative people can be when commenting on blogs. He showed the class how he is able to stand up for himself without being nasty. It is very easy, and it makes me wonder why we can't stop the flaming wars all together.
I found these 12 commandments of flaming. They include making up lies about your opponent, psychoanalizing your opponent, and "insulting the dirtbag". Don't these people have anything better to do?