Friday, June 24, 2011

When Did "Flaming" on the Internet Pass For Argument?

"Flaming, also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of an Internet forum,  Internet Relay Chat (IRC), use net , by e-mail...and on video sharing websites. It is frequently the result of the discussion of heated real-world issues such as politics, sports, religion, and philosophy, or of issues that polarise subpopulations, but can also be provoked by seemingly trivial differences."--Wikipedia

 

I found myself checking out my You Tube website this morning, to see if any messages I left weeks and months back thanking or commenting on videos had elicited any responses. I only do this once every few months.

 

  It turned out I had several responses back to my past comments. A couple of them were nice--people acknowledging my thanking them for posting some rare video clip or something. I never expect that but its a nice gesture.

But the majority of comments on what I thought were simple corrections or reasonable rebuttals backed up by facts as I knew them, were  hostile. It was suggested that (a) I must be on drugs (b) a brainwashed idiot who takes orders from a cable television news station and (c) simply brain-dead.  A couple of the other comments were backed up by the kind of foul language I personally reserve for when I accidentally fall off the roof while mucking out the gutters.  

If you've been around the Internet, visited You Tube or a small to regional newspaper "comments" site or any website where politics, sports, religion, or any debate-able matter is open for discussion, you'll know what I mean.  You Tube itself has started to cut off commentary on many videos if they have a glut of these angry missives. Other still open have page after page of this junk that passes for "debate." I went through a couple sites today and was disheartened to see there was no end to some of the crud that passed for argument. Is this what has become of the  greatest personal communication  system since the invention of the telephone?

By now many experienced hands on the 'Net are saying "Well, what do you expect, Doug?"  Same old, same old as they say. Well, frankly, I think things are getting worse out there, not better.  And that's my point.    

 

Shouldn't more web users be getting the knack of this by now?  Why do more sites seem polluted by rancor and nastiness.  When did typing "you suck" (and that's just the lowest level of abuse) become a clever debating gambit?  What is It about the anonymity of the web that causes people to sink to the verbal level of a childhood schoolyard, or at the worst a prison exercise yard?    

CNN's Tod Leopold interviewed a communications professor on this subject for a November 2008 article. Here's a portion of it: 

  

"One reason for the vitriol that emerges on the Web, experts say, is the anonymity the Internet provides. Commenters seldom use their real names, and even if they do, the chance for retaliation is slim.

"'In the [pre-Internet era], you had to take ownership [of your remarks]. Now there's a perception of anonymity," said Lesley Withers, a professor of communication at Central Michigan University. "People think what they say won't have repercussions, and they don't think they have to soften their comments."

"'Contrast that with a face-to-face conversation, or even a phone conversation, where you can judge people's moods from facial movements or vocal inflections, observes University of Texas psychology professor Art Markman. "It's hard to be aggressive when you're face to face," he said.

"Moreover, he points out, aggression often carries a subtext of power.

"'A lot of times, real anger is an attempt to get control over a situation where the person doesn't usually have it," he said. In that respect, comments to blog posts are attempts to strike back.'"

http://articles.cnn.com/2008-11-03/tech/angry.internet_1_web-sites-blog-posts-nonverbal-communication?_s=PM:TECH

 

Let me first off say that I am not talking flaming from any of my regular friends here on Multiply.  People seem to be able to disagree here and there and get along okay. Those who want to spew  some kind of personal attack on me can have at it here--to a point.

Those strangers who come along to my site just to raise ire for the sake of drawing anger---well, horseman or woman, please gallop on by. 

 

Criticism I can handle.  Most people can.  But what I'm seeing on under-monitored sites is appalling. I'm curious what if other people have experienced this flaming lately and if they think this is getting better or worse?    

48 comments:

  1. Perhaps this is where things got off on the wrong foot. Or maybe not. Or maybe so. Or maybe not...

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  2. You have addressed one subject which has and is now being studied within many areas. I have always seen your blog Doug as one which is profound within the way that it's more like a website. Here I begin my weekend with what may be a series on Canada. Yet within the fabric of blogs. One has choices. There are some things which are obvious to see but then again there are those which it's a posture and not so obvious of what and of whom people are saying. Within your writes you have always had a think tank. It's a learn from all arrays of people. Now I see here this argument clinic lol of Monty Python. But unless there is something I don't know I think you have always had a great blog one which I read through in the evening and I am at awe which the people and there thoughts as they say what they feel with discretion and it's a collage of thoughts.

    In a good way I have always seen your blog as one more of class if I may say.

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  3. Love the Monty Python vid. I agree that it would be nice if more web users would get the hang of debate and/or discussion but I think that comes with education, and as right wing governments around the world (or at least in the US and in NZ now too) seem intent on dumbing down education to us ordinary folk, I expect that abuse rather than discussion will continue the downhill slide.

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  4. Monty Python to the contrary, there are people nowadays who'll 'argue' in much the same manner ('....no it isn't....yes it is...no it isn't....') -- because the nation's probably as polarized (and in some ways even-more-so) than it was in 1859.

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  5. Will, I just came back here as the manner that I see it is there are some that fancy to fondle around within words. Some are all yes people and what I like most of all is that there are no games. It's something that is productive within a collaborative manner. I as many do like to have a collective globalness. Yet what I am finding is that you place it right out as you desire and if they don't like it so be it. For a long time I have pondered on you. Yet I find that there is something to be learned and ironically by way of yourself as you are straight to the point and could care a less what other think. You have rendered something as has Doug and for that matter we all are different but each of us have our own areas in which we do know. My rebuttal would be that some don't understand of where I live but there is a thread and yet there are differences. I remember Doug once mentioning how he would love to travel to many different countries. I see you as understanding America in a fashion which is all onto it's own. I guess this all come down to dialogue and the shares.
    I find that amazingly productive. And we all have choices, but I would hope that people globally are not so polarized....

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  6. I can safely and regretfully say that you're right, Iri Ani. Even in states that are not controlled as much by conservative governments here, like Oregon, the legislature is so starved forr revenues that the tuition at public colleges and universities just goes up and up. It's creating a permanent group of people weaned on television and radio talking heads spouting their party lines over and over agian to an amen crowd in their audience.

    Good points. To be in a debate, one has to have respect for the other side. In the vacuum caused by deep cuts in education, my ignorance is as good as your knowledge, to paraphrase Issac Asaimov.

    Barring a serious liberal arts grounding in how to reason, what takes its place for young people? Videogames? Pundits in the media who resort to abuse and name-calling when they face an opponent they don't like? It's a trend not likely to change soon I'm sad to say.

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  7. Yes, I am of the opinion that bad times do not make for good politics Will. Besides the isssue of too much corporate money in politics, creating our "Wall Street government" we have a system that rewards polarizing by getting state legislatures to put "safe" districts together for Congress-people. The middle of the GOP has gone away, so there is no one for the moderate Democrats to come to terms with. The budget battle going on in Washington right now is a prime example--Red State representitives know they can get money galore from the millionaires who bundle it up for them to do their feel-good television commercials. As long as they play the "bad government" card, they can siphon offenough votes from the rural voters to stay in office by playin to their fears that Mexicans/gays/phantom socialists are coming to take their guns or granny's double-wide trailers away from them.

    If we could somehow wean people off the culture-war stuff and get them to vote their wallets and bank accounts....then we'd be able to break this polarizing.

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  8. I arrived on here and I do mean that Doug, I find that there is more to be learned as well as you know me. I love to write on many things I thought this weekend in Canada was Canada Day but when I arrived home I had it all wrong so by no means am I perfect. But the key of some blogs such of the likes of yours is SUBSTANCE.

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  9. Maybe we tolerate too much these days rather than the opposite. If the abusive comments were deleted and the person blocked perhaps the offenders would run out of places to be creeps at. You have a great page here at MP Doug and I always enjoy your thoughtful posts.

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  10. I had never previously come across the term 'flaming' except in the form of a minor expletive commonly used by my parents.....as in..... 'it's a flaming nuisance'...'turn that flaming music down' ....'what a flaming awful din' etc.

    I did not realise that the intemperate use of unkind language is what is known as 'flaming' Doug, but then again, my own contributions to the internet are so uncontroversial and pellucidly true that I have never experienced this sort of dissent, it must be horrid!

    I did once have someone say...."you strawberry flan, tinsel topped, mink toed, cabbage eared, steam driven, moleskin mannered vexatious son of a cross eyed winkle washer" but I took no notice, we must rise above that sort of thing I think.

    My advice is to always avoid contentious issues Doug, that's the best way I think, its never done me any harm anyway.

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  11. Y'know Doug I think I've been flamed today by a raving mad tax collector...what is there not to love about synchronicity ....it was on my most uncontroversial post ever as well lol

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  12. Interesting and thought provoking blog Doug, as usual. Flaming seems to be the social equivalent of being a stealth-bomber pilot. One can potentially cause real damage without much danger of a significant comeback.

    I think there is a simple rule that we should all follow. If people are serious in their comments we should take them seriously. But if they are childish, arrogant or abusive we should then cease to grant them our time and energy.

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  13. Re, the MP video. Very true! We Brits cannot countenance a serious argument unless it has been previously arranged with appropriate limits and a set of fair play rules.

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  14. Never heard of "flaming". And, without exception, I find all my contacts on Multiply to be courteous and thoughtful. Perhaps, I don`t get around enough.

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  15. I just saw that - can't help wondering if you followed up on his suggestions hehe

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  16. Too exhausted to type thanks to that bum steer Iri :-(

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  17. I think you do me more justice than I deserve Jack. Your blogs cover an wider range and you seem to get out and about more.

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  18. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  19. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  20. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  21. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  22. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  23. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  24. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  25. I see your household was a cheerful as mine growing up, AA.

    Yes, I realize that you are not accustomed to any of this sort of negative feedback. I realize the sedate world of an English activist, bon viant, friend of royalty, and gentleman-rioter would preclude you from this type of controversy. I think the fact that some ruffian referred to you as "steam driven" and you did not reply in kind is a tribute to the good breeding and stoic bearing that is the hallmark of a British education.

    I am not even sure if you supported Tory or Liberal in the last election, such is the measure of your careful steering from all topics that might give any offense. You are a true gentleman of the old school.

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  26. I'll have to check that one out.

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  27. A good analogy Oakie.

    Yes, attention is what these louts crave--people with little substance love it.

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  28. And the combatants both bear letters of introduction? :-)

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  29. You're much too nice Jeff. But don't let that get you upset. :-)

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  30. You're much too nice Jeff. But don't let that get you upset. :-)

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  31. You're much too nice Jeff. But don't let that get you upset. :-)

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  32. You're much too nice Jeff. But don't let that get you upset. :-)

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  33. lol One for each combatant and another to file with the Home Office?

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  34. lol One for each combatant and another to file with the Home Office?

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  35. The great thing about though is if I hadn't read your blog a matter of hours before I wouldn't have known what was happening, I wouldn't have realised I'd been 'flamed'.

    You've Been Flamed' is now going to be Aardvark TV's sequel to the massively popular British TV show called You've Been Framed'.

    The programme began in 1990 and is now an institution and icon of dumbed down light entertainment with faked videos in the "Named, Framed and Shamed" bit that is the epitome of crass stupidity raised to almost an art form.

    If you ever get a chance to watch it Doug, don't is my advice.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27ve_Been_Framed

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  36. I wasn't quite sure I had exactly the right word myself, AA, until I did some more research.

    I wish you luck launching this new series. Tony Blair's not doing much lately I hear; perhaps he could host an episode or two of your show, gratis of course, until a more suitable lady or gentleman guide can be procured.

    Since your link indicates "You've Been Framed" was a spin -off or inspiration for the "dumbed down" cultural disaster that is the long-running "America's Funniest Home Videos", I wish I could say I avoided it.

    I've managed to watch a minute or of the North American version of this tripe from time to time, mostly while searching for the channel changer.

    I always despair for the future of English-speaking civilization when I read of its continued success in both USA and its Canadian version which I believe is called "Can We Be As Stupid as Those American Hosers?" or something to that effect.

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  37. I'm thinking that a lot of folks nowadays need some critical thinking classes and anger management skills. Problem is, those who need them get angry when you tell them!

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  38. LOL! That's a conundrum for sure, Jacquie. :-)

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  39. It's a good title as well as blog Doug and there was some consideration even up here as to what may be judged to be allowed on the internet by the leader of Canada. Yet if anyone thinks for a moment that they are not under some small sort of observance within key words - they must be small minded. Yet again freedom of speech is in accordance to the individual. Thus many are avoidance to blogging and the stats ever more prove this. Yet I do believe in that think tank as mentioned.

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  40. That's an important issue, Jack: the gathering of intelligence and all that. It's worth a whole different blog.

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  41. Flaming seems to me to be a good recipe for high blood pressure.

    Come on folks, don't wait until you are middle aged, get your dose of stress on the internet with flaming. Hahahahaha, I'm only glad I have a real life out socialising with friends.

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  42. Teehee, how time flys disconcertingly by when one is being contradicted!

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  43. Yes, I think socializing is something these profane and plain super neuroic types on unfiltered Internet chat sites seem to lack.

    These on-line candidates for therapy are so angry one wonders how any of them function at all! If I got that mad at someone I hope I would have to sense to type what I have said to others. "You're entitled to that opinion, but I have to disagree." This usually prevents anyone tryingto break my nose with a shovel.

    Or I just say "I'm right---you're crazy" and cover my nose with a spade. Either way the point is made ;-)

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  44. Haha! Most disconcerting, Cassandra.

    Mr. Palin should have signed up for the 30-minute argument. "The Five Minutes" is just asking for contradiction.

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