Flamewars and Flamelives

There’s a reason I don’t go to the Usenet anymore for any spanking related discussion. Then again, I don’t go to the Usenet for any discussion these days because as far as I can tell, you find very little of it there.

I’ve previously mentioned the Usenet and the newsgroups alt.sexuality.spanking (ass) and soc.sexuality.spanking (sss). Before the Web became all that it has, the Usenet and IRC were the primary places on the Internet that I frequented for spanko talk. I won’t go into the back history of my time there again but I will say that last year, I tried to dip my toes back into those waters and see what I was missing if anything. Perhaps there were people to meet and discussions to be had that I did not know about. What I learned is encapsulated in the cliché, “You can’t go home again”.

Although the stories and discussion were still there on sss, I found that the tone of the group had become decidedly nastier. Maybe it was my bad timing to show up just as a flamewar was igniting but it showed me that over the years, my tolerance level for this sort of thing has dwindled to zero. I mentioned the fact that I don’t like drama for the sake of my own mental health but I also don’t desire to do things like “choose sides” which it seems people involved in flamewars often desire. It’s this us-or-them, with-us-or-against-us attitude that is really what turns me completely off to what might ordinarily be an amusing car crash to watch.

The problem is that there are people who have what I call “flamelives”. These people are chain flamewarriors, igniting another flamewar with the burning embers of the last. Either they like this sort of thing or they see it as their way of carving out their corner of the Internet by engaging in a constant state of war, seeing all outsiders as either “with them” or “against them”. This is the person that really rubs me the wrong way because they are not just arguing with someone they have a disagreement with, they are seeking out any remarks, anywhere seemingly just to be pissed off.

I’m often neutral in personal fights especially when I don’t have all the information required to make a judgment call. As far as most arguments go, I really don’t care who is right and who is wrong because it does not rise to the level where I need to include myself. What’s really most off-putting about these “flamelives” is that they are so fervent in their belief that they are right, they cannot accept neutrality from disinterested parties because, to them, the neutral person is also against them because they are not with them.

Anger, paranoia or persecution complex — whatever the reason for the behavior it is what turned me off completely to a place I used to enjoy frequenting.


8 Responses to “Flamewars and Flamelives”

  1. forewarned is forearmed…
    That was good.
    Been there, done that ..still trying to get the horrible taste out of my mouth….

    it’s all just so not worth it….largely inconsequential in the end….

  2. True that. I haven’t been on a uesnet group in years but you do see some of the same dynamics on the yahoo lists, etc. My main issue with flame wars is how very boring they always seem to end up I’m all for lively, even heated discussion and debate, if it’s intelligent and original. But it always seems to be the same people arguing about the same thing. Or, even if it start off on an interesting topic, some presses on of the lame old debate panic buttons and it devolves into yet another iteration of an ages-old dead horse whooping.

  3. For what it’s worth, things have settled down in SSS since your last visit, but the embers definitely remain very close beneath the surface. It’s a bit of a minefield.

  4. Tony: I just don’t like the idea of choosing sides in an argument I’m not a part of. Yes, I will defend my friends if they need to be defended but mostly I think people are capable of handling their own problems.

  5. I like your term, Rad: “flamelives.” I don’t have a name for it, but my imagery of this type of message board personality is like a hurricane. They wreak destruction wherever they go, and they suck anyone, who is not thorughly grounded, into their vortex of needless conflict. Needless conflict: that’s what it boils down to, doesn’t it?

    I would also like to add:
    Happy MLK Day!

  6. Thank you, Jake. As they say, “MLK…it does a body good”

  7. I am grateful to SSS because it was the first forum in which I found friends. However, that being said, I have not visited there in ages as the flame war tradition really rubbed me the wrong way.

    The funny thing is that I briefly thought that maybe SSS was on the upswing because I saw Rad there, but I was wrong. Thankfully, I have found other venues in which to socialize, and I’m sure that more will emerge as I learn how to network.

    So, Rad, you just reminded me that I need to cancel my newsreader subscription!

  8. I have no need for anything but Fetlife and ” up close and personal”….

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