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Chapter 7
The Art of Flaming

Although flames often get out of hand, they have a purpose in the ecology of cyberspace. Many flames are aimed at teaching someone something (usually in overstated language) or stopping them from doing something (like offending other people). Flame messages often use more brute force than is strictly necessary, but that's half the fun.

Netiquette does ask that you consider the art of flaming before pulling out the flame-thrower. Any wannabe with an email account can ignite a firestorm of ill-conceived and boring flames. It takes diligence and creativity to pull off an artful flame. Who knows -- if your flame is good enough, you might even make it into the Hall of Flame (see "Flame newsgroups" on page 79).

Choose your flames well

If you must flame, don't flame gratuitously. Choose your target with care. In other words, hold back on flaming the newcomer to a discussion group who asks a dumb question. Or the prophet of doom who posts his "the end is near" message to the entire USENET newsgroup hierarchy. (Endnote #14) In addition, think twice before flaming the gurus on the net. This won't earn you popularity points and, most likely, the guru will

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