Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flaming wars: what are they good for?

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?


mike's spot said...

Oh Noonz- you find such Internet Gems . I agree totally- there is a definite 'flaming' culture on the internet- and I find it most on message boards.

Usually-(at least in the forums I travel) its someone who is a 'fanboy'

On the gun forums I frequent, 'fanboys' are usually people, occasionally anti-gun people trying to solicit illegal information, but most often some 14 year old tough guy who played counter-strike and has never participated in an actual shooting event in their life.

the most famous in the gun world is probably 'gecko45'

a 'mall ninja' by our standards- which is a derogatory term we in the online gun community use for someone who talks a big game but doesn't know their butt from their thumb.

here is a website dedicated just to this one flamer.

the lingo might be a bit tough for a non-shooter, but the puns are funny nevertheless, and his general incompetence is legendary.

'gunkid' - a real life felon, also used to troll around for a while, until he was arrested for tax evasion or some such. real tool.

mike's spot said...

here's a link to Gunkid's real life arrest.

Anonymous said...

"Flaming Wars" will never disappear. The name will change when the environment changes, but it will always be around, just as it always has been.

Take Jarred Wallace in 2008.

Jarred Wallace’s digital identities that we know of are JW22092, JARwall67, and grizzbear11. With these digital identities, it allows him to explore his deepest of human aggressions in a lawless environment. Like Jarred Wallace, we all have these deep aggressive feelings at times, most of us know how to get a grip on them, others become imprisoned or hospitalized, or dead because of their lack of control.

Lance Strate said...

I would make a distinction, though, between those who are abusive in general, call it cyberbullying perhaps, and flaming which can occur among otherwise civil individuals due to a perceived insult or slight that is magnified by the nature of the medium.