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03 November 2004 @ 04:24 pm
If You Want to Flame Me, Here’s How: Help for the Apparently Hopeless  
[Note: this is a fannish LJ, not a political one, so no election comments will be found herein. If you're curious about how I'm feeling, email me and I'll tell you.]

First, I have to say how disappointed I am that I even need to write this, but it is entirely clear that I do. I have in my possession a small collection of flames regarding the content of this LJ. They all have one thing in common: they are pathetic. I mean, there was a time in this world when a flame meant something. I grew up grinding my teeth as I chanted, "Do not feed the trolls" like a mantra. It used to be difficult to move on without responding. And do you know why? Because those trolls were actually good at what they did. They wanted to piss me off, and they succeeded.

From this LJ, though? The very best flames have made me laugh. Most have just left me worried about the future of bitter rhetoric. So it's apparent to me that if I want flaming as an art form to be preserved for future generations, I need to act now. Thus, I'm offering the short course on "Flaming for Dummies." Because evidently some people out there really need it.

  1. Don't paint the target on your own forehead. So, for example, if you're responding to a rant about poor spelling, grammar, and usage, don't make copious tragic spelling errors in your email. All you're going to do is reinforce my beliefs. (Well, and make me giggle, which was likely not your intention.) I'm really not going to give up on the English language just because it's too hard for you.

  2. Say what you mean. Sure, meaning what you say is important, too, but it doesn't matter how sincerely you believe your statements if no one else can understand them. I can't be angry and hurt and insulted if I'm too busy trying to figure out what it means that you "het"* me. Do you hate me? Do you heart me? Do you get me? Do you want to have heterosexual sex with me? (For the record, if it's the last one, don't hold on to your hopes. I don't have sex outside my space-time continuum, and it's clear that you come from Alternate Earth #437, where they speak Genslih, that strange language that has some things in common with English, but doesn't make a lick of sense to English speakers.)

  3. Know your target, part I. Before you write me hostile email, take four minutes to review my user info and read one of my posts completely. It will greatly enhance the success of your flames. Because, see, when you base your flame on the assumptions that, for example, I come from New York City (or Europe), I have a penis, and I am a teacher, I'm not going to be wounded. I'm going to be wondering if there's a website for mis-directed flames where I can post this so that perhaps the proper be-penised Manhattan-based educator will someday see it.

  4. Know your target, part II. If you're going to insult me, then insult me. Please. Do not simply state the truth and expect that I will understand why it's a bad thing. For example, if you tell me that I like boys, or that I like girls, my reaction is going to be that yes, I do, at least in some specific cases, although I'm working every day to make my misanthropy all-encompassing, so be sure to check back later. If you tell me that I shouldn't think I'm better than other people just because I "write good,"* I'm going to focus on that last part first. I do write "good." I write it all the time, because this is a LJ about good fan fiction, but I wouldn't call it an ability of which I am particularly proud. Or do you mean that I write well? Because in that case, um, you've just complimented me, which is not going to enhance the burn at all. So by the time I get around to the first part of your sentence, which was the supposed insult, my only possible response is, "I don't think I'm better than most people. I just think I'm better than you, but only because you can't flame me for shit."

  5. Sarcasm is not for everyone. Specifically, it's probably not for you. I mean, you got offended by that comment I made because you didn't get that it was sarcastic, right? Well, if you can't recognize it, honey, you sure can't use it. Stick to insults you hear in daily use on a kindergarten playground. Or, you know, if that's too much, I could probably dig up some links to form flames for you. Just let me know how I can help; I want to make flaming me as easy and successful as possible.

  6. If you caused your problem, don't come crying to me. Let me emphasize that you are welcome to read this LJ even if you don't read slash; I'm happy you're here, and I do post some stuff that won't bother you. And I have received email from people who are looking for non-slash recs in one of my fandoms, and I have helped those people, because they were balanced and polite. In other words, they didn't send me feedback saying, "Slash sux and you sux and slash is sick and you are sick you need help."* Please note that I am not the one reading a LJ named after and filled with stuff that, by my own account, makes me sick, so I have to suspect a misdiagnosis on your part.
-Footnote-

* Quotes are mostly sic, but I did correct capitalization in certain cases so as not to strike readers blind. A secret message from me to people who need it: while I appreciate your desire to implement capital letters, they are not something you can simply toss into your writing at random. They are really only appropriate in certain locations. If you are unaware of that, please stop writing, for all our sakes. Thank you.
Tags: [rant], flames
 
 
 
¿es eso un libro de besos?: hero worshipdarthfox on November 3rd, 2004 05:13 pm (UTC)
[loves]
tried to eat the safe banana: Pedantthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 06:25 pm (UTC)
*bows*
BUT HARRY STYLES: CIGARETTEestrella30 on November 3rd, 2004 05:43 pm (UTC)
I'm going to be wondering if there's a website for mis-directed flames where I can post this so that perhaps the proper be-penised Manhattan-based educator will someday see it.

*loves on you like, WHOA*
tried to eat the safe banana: Kiss methefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC)
Wow. I'm feeling very loved, here. Which is not the result I expected from a helpful how-to post on flaming.

I love you, too. In fact, I'm going to get drunk tonight solely so I can make a weepy, alcohol-steeped post expressing my sincere love for every single person on my friends list. There will probably be offers of loans, the spare room, my left kidney, and surrogate mother services, too.
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(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 09:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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I Wanna Dress You Up In My Snarkadjectivegirl on November 3rd, 2004 06:00 pm (UTC)
hold on, I'm sure I can draft the Platonic flame
OIMGdo i het u, u *stupid* snoti professerman pple from NYCITY suck slash is soooo gay u suck i hop you r happi being sho dumb

I think I hid most of the talking points. Damn that was hard.

tried to eat the safe banana: Heartbeatthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 06:33 pm (UTC)
Re: hold on, I'm sure I can draft the Platonic flame
Nooooo! It's my arch-nemesis, the One True Flame! Curses, foiled again!

*flatlines*
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JaneDavitt: gilessquishbypenwiper26janedavitt on November 3rd, 2004 06:17 pm (UTC)
So beautifully put :;admires:: Wasted on them, of course, but still elegant and witty.
tried to eat the safe banana: Namastethefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC)
I admit I'm not expecting most of them to follow my advice. But if I can reach just one future flamer with this, my effort will not have been wasted. My motto is: Fixing Flames, One Moron at a Time.

(Hell, who am I kidding? I mostly wrote this because I desperately needed to get it out of my system; I got the Flame That Broke thefourthvine's Back today. And I also wrote it 'cause seems like lots of other good people are getting flamed right now, and I thought maybe my cathartic post would help them, too.)
(no subject) - fanofall on November 3rd, 2004 09:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 10:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fanofall on November 5th, 2004 08:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
luxshineluxshine on November 3rd, 2004 06:42 pm (UTC)
Isn't it sad that there aren't good trolls anymore?

In a spanish forum we had one who was, if not good, at least resistant. He lasted two years in just one thread, and he wouldn't shut up. It was hard not to answer to him.

Anyway, my question was...

Do people still write "Slash sux you're going to hell for destroying so and so characters/muses/reallifecareers/futureworkwithspielberg" emails?

wow.
tried to eat the safe banana: Black Canarythefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 09:19 pm (UTC)
Do people still write "Slash sux you're going to hell for destroying so and so characters/muses/reallifecareers/futureworkwithspielberg" emails?

One person does. Well, one person still sends such an email, anyway; for all I know, perhaps he or she wrote it years ago and has been sending it to every single slash-related site on Earth. Maybe it was just my turn.

Wow. Destroying future work with Spielberg? I had no idea slashers had such power. I feel - strong, yes, so strong. With slash I can destroy the world!

(Side note: you totally made me laugh with this. See, my Best Beloved works in an area with a tragically high population of entertainment industry folk and also a high population of nutballs, so "project with Spielberg" is somewhat of a joke in our household. It's amazing how many people think that line means something.)
(no subject) - luxshine on November 4th, 2004 07:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dzurlady on November 4th, 2004 04:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - luxshine on November 4th, 2004 06:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 4th, 2004 09:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ineke on November 4th, 2004 01:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - luxshine on November 4th, 2004 07:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sienamystic: lurtz in phoneboothsienamystic on November 3rd, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC)
*falls at your feet in worship*
tried to eat the safe banana: Dancethefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
*waves a hand graciously and bids you rise*

Scary icon, by the way.
uncrowned beggarsine_que_non767 on November 3rd, 2004 07:17 pm (UTC)
*giggles like mad*

This is just what I needed to read. And be-penised is the best new word EVER. You rite so good... ;)
tried to eat the safe banana: Clawsthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 09:25 pm (UTC)
Hee.

I think everyone should use the word "be-penised" at least once per day. A boyfriend: be-penised! A math professor: be-penised! Angel: well, it'd be penis-deficient, actually.

Still, it'd work for most men.

(Glad I made you laugh.)
peeps wanna see peeps boink: bofqmusesfool on November 3rd, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC)
I miss the days when people knew not to feed the trolls. That's fallen by the wayside in the LJ-ification of fandom. And yes, the quality of trolls has fallen, too. sigh.
tried to eat the safe banana: Clawsthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 09:35 pm (UTC)
You know, the world has come to a sad place when we have to sit around lamenting about the quality trolls of yore. (But they were so quality! I wasn't in fandom then, but I fondly remember, from one community, the guy could not be silenced on the supposed faking of the moon landing. And Mr. Circumcision-Obsessed, who explained that circumcision caused homosexuality. In every single thread. Oh, and the guy from another community who truly believed he understood women, despite all evidence to the contrary. Good times, good trolls.)
"I don't care how delicious he is, he's EVIL!"shrift on November 3rd, 2004 08:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, darling, I'm so right there with you.

Do you get flames because you're not representing certain fandoms equally? Because nestra and I often get lambasted because we don't do RPF. Even though we're not... interested in RPF. Even though, at last count, we cover over 100 fandoms. And even though we add to that number every update.

It's a losing battle. Luckily, we're not terribly upset by the flames. ;)
tried to eat the safe banana: Elektra is angrythefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 11:14 pm (UTC)
That is totally ballsy, bitching at you and nestra for not being multi-fandom enough. Or perhaps I should just say insane, because you guys are as broad spectrum as it comes in the fannish world.

But, no, I don't get that, probably because I'm not so very, very multi-fandom that people expect me to cover everything. Or at least I don't think I get that; frankly, I've had a few that were so incoherent they could've been discussing the 95 Theses.

Actually, I enjoy the people who try to expand my fannish horizons; they're helpful and kind and not at all insistent. I've acquired a lot of new fandoms thanks to dedicated pimping, but I've never had anyone persist in pimping after I said I didn't want it. And, I just have to say this again - I'm stunned that anyone would elect to send you two email complaining about insufficient fandom coverage. That's sufficient evidence for involuntary committal right there.
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(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 5th, 2004 01:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - fairestcat on November 5th, 2004 12:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 8th, 2004 07:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - shrift on November 6th, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
zing_och on November 3rd, 2004 10:18 pm (UTC)
Now I feel compelled to flame you real good. Heh.

If I just could think of something to flame you for.
*walks away muttering*
I'll come back when I have something. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Black Canarythefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 11:25 pm (UTC)
See? This is why I don't get the quality flames. People who can write good ones just don't commit to full-bore insane ranting.

Wait. I am the only supply of insane ranting in this LJ. I may be my own worst flamer. Must think on this.

Actually, no. Must avoid thinking about this, because ranting is too much fun to give up. Denial time!
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Sharethefourthvine on November 3rd, 2004 11:45 pm (UTC)
Believe me, the feeling is mutual. I het you more than I can say. And I'm glad you liked the post; I do try to address my (totally unsolicited) advice to the people who have shown themselves truly in need of guidance. And my flamers are pretty much exhibit A at this point.

(Side note: your icon has made me profoundly hungry. No, let me rephrase. It's made me profoundly needy of chocolate-covered strawberries. Nothing else will do. Send me chocolate-covered strawberries immediately.)
(no subject) - delurker on November 4th, 2004 01:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 4th, 2004 09:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 4th, 2004 09:34 pm (UTC)
(You know, the slogan on your icon makes me think I should add text to this one. "Reading slash in bed," maybe.)

I think flaming comes from a combination of impulse-control disorders and the myth of internet anonymity. I don't think most people who write flames would say those things in person; they do it because they want to, and because they feel safe doing it. And because they can't think something and not say it.

And you're quite right; there's very little point to it. Especially when people are as bad at it as my flamers are. I think it's, like, the first rule of world domination: you can't influence people if they can't take you seriously.
obsessive-compulsive squirrelacari on November 4th, 2004 04:36 am (UTC)
We should all come together and share our most amusing flames. I didn't get flamed for so long, I've almost forgotten about them all.
tried to eat the safe banana: Reaching girlthefourthvine on November 4th, 2004 09:45 pm (UTC)
Ooo! Do you have good flames you'd share? I would love to read someone else's.

(It's been a thousand years since I knew any German, but does your icon say something like "all stars are filled with flowers?")
(no subject) - acari on November 9th, 2004 09:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 9th, 2004 12:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Empress of All I Survey: Cate (2)gornishka on November 4th, 2004 05:08 am (UTC)
Sharing in your disappointment, and adding my small bit of adoration to the "loves like WHOA" contingent.

although I'm working every day to make my misanthropy all-encompassing

Heh, me, too. A truly admirable goal.

I don't have sex outside my space-time continuum, and it's clear that you come from Alternate Earth #437

Excellent. *makes note for future use*
tried to eat the safe banana: Smirkthefourthvine on November 4th, 2004 09:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, a fellow Budding Misanthropist. I'd say we should form a community or something, but that of course that would be antithetical to our misanthropic lifestyle. Still, it does my heart good to know that others are also pursuing this all-important goal. Together, we'll make the world a better place, provided your definition of "better place" is "a place where everyone leaves everyone else totally alone, except for occasional dirty looks." God knows that's my definition of it.

Excellent. *makes note for future use*

*wonders what, precisely, gornishka intends to do with said note in the future*

*wonders if she ought to be worried about that*
(no subject) - gornishka on November 5th, 2004 01:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
And now a word from our sponsor...: Smile like helltoscas_kiss on November 4th, 2004 05:33 am (UTC)
LMAO! Will ensure I send all future flamers via this post.
tried to eat the safe banana: Brainsthefourthvine on November 4th, 2004 09:50 pm (UTC)
Yes! Thank you for helping me to meet my goal of educating flamers. (God knows we can't stop them from flaming. But, with luck and hard work and dedication, we may be able to stop them from abusing the English language while they do it.)