a to z of the digital world
Monday 11 March 1996
A typical exchange might go: "Hello, this is my first time on the Internet. Where can I find out more about interesting Usegroups [sic]?" - firstname.lastname@example.org.
REPLY: "It always amazes me why you losers from unknown.com even bother to breathe; you're such a waste of space. Do me a favour and STOP RIGHT NOW!!" - email@example.com
Flames are often more elegantly delivered (not always), but the effect is the same. Insults are delivered with an impunity that would be unthinkable anywhere but a hot Friday night after throwing-out time. However, unlike Friday nights, most of the participants never meet, so they have no reason to hold back. A "flame war" can ensue, lasting weeks or months, but usually fizzling out with nothing proved. Apologies are rare.
The term's origin is unclear. Maybe such messages were described as inflammatory, or their subtlety likened to a flamethrower's.
With flaming so common, some people amuse themselves by starting "flame wars" with postings calculated to annoy a newsgroup's regulars. An example would be "Feminism is just an excuse for women who are bad cooks" in, say, alt.political-correctness. This is called "trolling" - and to flame a troll is considered the biggest social boob on the Net. Just remember that before you flame.
Life & Style blogs
Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
GTA 5 Online spring DLC updates bring heists, new super car, multiple apartments and 'non-contact' option for races
Leading doctor calls for inquiry into NHS treatment of whistle-blowers
Kim Jong-ale: How did Ushers brewery of Trowbridge end up in North Korea producing Pyongyang's number one beer - and what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker Dylan Tombides has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 5 PFA Player of the Year: Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard all nominated as Liverpool dominate award shortlist
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