Don’t Get Burned If You Get Flamed

February 2005
by Reid Goldsborough

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If you’ve spent any time in online discussion groups, you probably know that their single most defining characteristic is the prevalence of angry, epithet-strewn arguments, called flamewars.

Distance and relative anonymity make these verbal battles virtually risk free, and the level of online hostility, with flames fired back and forth among participants, sometimes makes these groups appear the ultimate refuge for sociopaths releasing years of pent-up frustration.

Recently, best-selling author Anne Rice made headlines by responding to flames directed toward her and her latest novel, Blood Canticle, in the discussion area of Amazon.com. Among them:

“I cannot stress to you how bad this book is.”

“I have read almost every one of Anne Rice’s novels, and I have to say this is the worst one.”

“I have read short stories by eighth graders that had more thought than this drivel did.”

“Anne, you really should have an editor, or at least someone that would read your book before you send it off to print.”

“Anne Rice is overrated. Her books are long, drawn out and boring.”

Other people attacked her state of mind since the death of her husband two years ago. Ouch.

Flaming isn’t unique to the online world or our times. People debating the U.S. Constitution over two hundred years ago dissed each other mercilessly in letters published in local newspapers, us…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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