Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 72

have the last word. Remember that a poorly executed flame is worse than no flame at all.

Know your facts before you start flaming

Any time you flame you're going out on a limb. Check your facts. Check your spelling. Check your citations if you've quoted someone else. Check that you're sending it to the right group. Submit the flame to a sanity check, remembering that the net never forgets.


It's good form to warn readers that you're about to let off steam. Just write "FLAME ON" at the beginning of a diatribe to let readers know what's coming. That way, they may still be offended, but at least they were warned. Additionally, the "FLAME ON" marker can indicate that you yourself don't take the diatribe entirely seriously. When you've finished flaming, write "FLAME OFF" and resume normal discourse.

Don't respond to flame-bait

Flame-bait is a public statement deliberately designed to provoke flames. Usually those who post flame-bait are looking for attention. You're best off not giving it.

Avoid needless escalation

One sure way to escalate a flame war is to expand the battleground. This can be accomplished by carbon copying the world on your flames or by cross-posting your flame to other discussion groups. There's nothing worse than an escalating flame war that barges into the middle of a civil discussion. Usually the innocent readers didn't witness the beginning of the war and thus don't have the context necessary to pick the winner. The skillful flamer keeps the heat in the proper place and avoids needless escalation.

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