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Saturday, April 17, 2004
An Idiot's Guide To Flaming People

People are really stupid. They have so many sacred cows that it's a wonder they don't get stampeded. Take, for example, internet flames on forums or IRC. Apparently, you can call the other party whatever you like (if the forum is not moderated, that is) and no one gives a shit. The moment you start on someone's parents, however, all the other forum members/spectators get all shocked and horrified and go "ooh, you should leave his parents out of the picture". No one ever says that to me, because I'll just start on their parents, heheh. But we digress.

See, the point here is that bringing other people's parents into the picture is almost universally acknowledged as childish. So why let childish behaviour bother you? Just because some anonymous idiot on the internet says your mother is a slut, doesn't mean that your mother is one, so why get angry? If your mother is really a slut, then the bugger would just be speaking the truth, so again, why would you get angry? Only idiots get angry when flaming, and that's why they always lose arguments. Anger removes your focus and your capacity for biting insults. Nothing amuses me more than to watch the replies of some moron who actually dared to oppose me get progressively less coherent and more childish. 'Yo mama' insults are just another tool in the armoury of the seasoned internet warrior. Being such a swell guy, I shall favour you humble readers with some tips on internet flaming gleaned from long years of experience and countless victorious battles that you fucking chumps would probably never be able to figure out on your own.

1) It's about winning and losing.
Never lose sight of that. Don't be naive. Whether you're right or not doesn't matter. The spectators are not interested in that. They're interested in seeing blood. This is a mentality that has been with humankind since the very beginning. An internet flaming session is very much like a modern version of two gladiators facing off in an arena in ancient Rome with the spectators baying for blood. It doesn't matter whose blood is spilt in the end, so long as blood is spilt. No one likes to see a peaceful resolution either. Everyone just wants to see someone get so badly smacked down that he leaves the forum in shame, his metaphorical lifeblood gouting onto the metaphorical dirt floor of the metaphorical arena. It's not about who's right or wrong because whatever you're arguing about usually affects fuck all in the real world. I've been wrong before, but I still kicked my opponent's ass. Actually I was just kidding. I'm never wrong because I'm perfect, but if I had been, I would have kicked ass anyway because I'm a fucking awesome fellow.

2) No man is an island.
Yes, you've heard it. An average flame warrior may usually flame another person and have a reasonable chance of emerging triumphant. Some of the more powerful can take on two or three, maybe even four and still win the day with skill to spare. Then there are the godlike ones, like yours truly, who can take on entire forums and bend them to his will. Attacks bounce off such a one like bullets bounce off Godzilla. However, people like me are rare. Actually, I think I'm the only one. Ordinary chumps like you had better stick to the "divide and conquer" strategy. Never antagonise more than one person at a time. Get more people on your side. Woo potential allies, even if you detest them. Their time will eventually come because everyone makes mistakes. Except for me, of course. Anyway, get rid of opponents one at a time. Be patient and before you know it, the forum will only consist of your henchmen and cronies who are either stupid enough to agree with you on every fucking thing, or who are too terrified of you to ever disagree with you. Then your work will be complete. You will have recreated the forum in your own image and can therefore move on to other forums.

3) Whoever gets angry first, loses.
This is actually very closely related to the first point. It's about winning and losing. If you win, you're a winner and if you lose, you're a fucking loser, regardless of whether you're right or wrong about the subject being discussed. The subject is no more than an excuse to flame, really. It's peripheral to what's really going on: the fight for survival. The problem is, people usually like to think of themselves as being smarter than they really are. They like to think of themselves as rational beings rather than as the fucking bundle of nerves responding automatically to external stimuli that they are in reality. So they like to see the combatants in a flame war make the token genuflections towards the altar of objectivity. So whenever a combatant loses his temper and is reduced to mindless insults, it's like when a gladiator receives a mortal wound and flails about desperately with his weapon, not knowing that it's already over. The triumphant one may now coldly and surgically cut the fucking loser to pieces by deftly and easily parrying his clumsy strikes and employing devastatingly sarcastic ripostes. In most cases, when a combatant loses his temper, his opponent can just sit back and watch the spectators use the cudgels of "you're-not-being-logical-about-this-anymore" to bludgeon him to death. This brings us to the fourth point.

4) It's only the fucking internet, for fuck's sake.
This cannot be stressed enough. Have no sacred cows when you're flaming, or you'll probably end up being served as roast beef on a platter to the rest of the fucking forum. Whether you're a Christian, a filial child, a loving spouse or a devoted parent in real life, lose that shit when you're on the internet. Experienced warriors will, after some probing thrusts, find your Achilles' heel and ruthlessly stab it repeatedly until you're mortally wounded, tripping over your own entrails and incapable of anything beyond brandishing your keyboard in a vaguely threatening way. The Tao of the flame warrior is emptiness. Nothing must get to you and all illusions must be stripped away. Only when there are no emotions in your mind will you be invulnerable. Be like the wind, untouchable and elusive. Be like the praying mantis, still and deadly. Be like the cobra, swift and venomous.

And there you have it, my guide to successful internet flaming. Don't be mistaken, humble reader, following this guide won't make you me, but it will hopefully change you from hopelessly inept to merely woefully incompetent. That should be enough for you to deal with all the other retards surfing around aimlessly on the internet these days.
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