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Why do we seem to have so many flames on forums?
Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 @ 03:18:10 CST by guskek

Worth County, Georgia Kent writes
Here is a definition from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
"Flaming is the act of sending or posting messages that are deliberately hostile and insulting, usually in the social context of a discussion board on the Internet. Such messages are called flames, and are sometimes posted in response to flamebait. Flaming is said by some to be one of a class of economic problems known as The Tragedy of the Commons, when a group holds a resource (in this case, communal attention), but each of the individual members has an incentive to overuse it. Flamers usually call their flames justified attacks." Watch out for Trolls.
We tend to think that it is just folks from Sylvester that use the forums but this is not the case. Users come from other locations outside Sylvester. Here are some suggested reason for flaming and I would like to add a fifth.
"There is no general agreement on the causes of flaming, although a recent study has led to somewhat conclusive evidence. Some common hypotheses are:
1. Ego-centrism causes us to think we know a writer's tone 90% of the time, although we only are correct about 56% of the time. This leads us to misinterpretation of the writer's intended meaning, causing flame wars.
2. The lack of body language and voice inflection make it difficult to show emotions in a nuanced way, and the relative anonymity means that it is felt less dangerous to use heated language.
3. In forums and chats, there is usually no other way to express your opinion than by writing. Not writing can be interpreted as "giving up". And opinions and ideas stated a long time ago can be forgotten, causing a need to repeat them. According to this view, a good system for Computer Supported Argument Visualization (CSAV) might help to clarify the issues without repetition. Sometimes, however, there is a disagreement on so fundamental criteria, that it is not even possible to agree on a structure of the issues and arguments.
4.It is reasonable to consider that some forms of flaming can be attributed to deeper social or psychological weaknesses, probably from lack of exposure to a broader spectrum of disciplines that result in self-control issues.
Wired News: "The Secret Cause of Flame Wars" http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70179-0.html?tw=rss.index.
5. Unable to identify the age or the emotional age of the flamer. I believe we might not attack or retaliate as much or in the same way against children's flames. This suggestion could be part of number four if the statement about exposure included maturation.
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