The Flamer’s Bible

Revision 1: Dec. 2, 1987 by Joe Talmadge

In the time I have been posting to net, I have encountered flame wars of epic proportions (Brahms Gang vs. Tim Maroney), and flame wars of a more modest nature (MIT vs. CIT). Flaming has evolved into a highly-stylized art form, complete with unwritten rules and guidelines.

Here, I have attempted to document the Art of Flaming, in such a way as it will be interesting to old hands (flame masters) and novices (virgins) alike. Without a further ado, then, I present:

The Twelve Commandments of Flaming

  1. Make things up about your opponent: It’s important to make your lies sound true. Preface your argument with the word “clearly.” “Clearly, Fred Flooney is a liar, and a dirtball to boot.”
  2. Be an armchair psychologist: You’re a smart person. You’ve heard of Freud. You took a psychology course in college. Clearly, you’re qualified to psychoanalyze your opponent. “Polly Purebread, by using the word ‘zucchini’ in her posting, shows she has a bad case of penis envy.”
  3. Cross-post your flames: Everyone on the net is just waiting for the next literary masterpiece to leave your terminal. From rec.arts.wobegon to alt.gourmand, they’re all holding their breaths until your next flame. Therefore, post everywhere.
  4. Conspiracies abound: If everyone’s against you, the reason can’t *possibly* be that you’re a fuckhead. There’s obviously a conspiracy against you, and you will be doing the entire net a favor by exposing it.
  5. Lawsuit threats: This is the reverse of Rule #4 (sort of like the Yin & Yang of flaming). Threatening a lawsuit is always considered to be in good form. “By saying that I’ve posted to the wrong group, Bertha has libeled me, slandered me, and sodomized me. See you in court, Bertha.”
  6. Force them to document their claims: Even if Harry Hoinkus states outright that he likes tomato sauce on his pasta, you should demand documentation. If Newsweek hasn’t written an article on Harry’s pasta preferences, then Harry’s obviously lying.
  7. Use foreign phrases: French is good, but Latin is the lingua franca of flaming. You should use the words “ad hominem” at least three times per article. Other favorite Latin phrases are “ad nauseum,” “vini, vidi, vici,” and “fettuccini alfredo.”
  8. Tell ’em how smart you are: Why use intelligent arguments to convince them you’re smart when all you have to do is tell them? State that you’re a member of Mensa or Mega or Dorks of America. Tell them the scores you received on every exam since high school. “I got an 800 on my SATs, LSATs, GREs, MCATs, and I can also spell the word ‘premeiotic’.”
  9. Accuse your opponent of censorship. It is your right as an American citizen to post whatever the hell you want to the net (as guaranteed by the 37th Amendment, I think). Anyone who tries to limit your cross-posting or move a flame war to email is either a communist, a fascist, or both.
  10. Doubt their existence: You’ve never actually seen your opponent, have you? And since you’re the center of the universe, you should have seen them by now, shouldn’t you? Therefore, THEY DON’T EXIST! This is the beauty of flamers’ logic.
  11. Lie, cheat, steal, leave the toilet seat up.
  12. When in doubt, insult: If you forget the other 11 rules, remember this one. At some point during your wonderful career as a flamer you will undoubtedly end up in a flame war with someone who is better than you. This person will expose your lies, tear apart your arguments, make you look generally like a bozo. At this point, there’s only one thing to do: insult the dirtbag!!! “Oh yeah? Well, your mother does strange things with vegetables.”

The Golden Rule of Flaming

My flames will be witty, insulting, interesting, funny, caustic, or sarcastic, but never, ever, will they be boring.

Here endeth the scriptures.

The Flame Form Letter

For those that apply, please fill out the form below, and return it immediately to your local state representative, congressman, grocer, or recently fired postal worker ….


[ ] Clueless Newbie
[ ] Lamer
[ ] AOLer
[ ] Me-too-er
[ ] Pervert
[ ] Geek
[ ] Spammer
[ ] Nerd ] Elvis
[ ] Fed
[ ] Freak
[ ] Scientologist
[ ] Socialist
[ ] Bible-thumper
[ ] anonymous coward

You Are Being Flamed Because:
[ ] You posted a “test” in a newsgroup other than alt.test
[ ] You posted warez in pieces LESS than 5000 lines
[ ] You posted something asking for warez sites
[ ] You quoted an ENTIRE post in your reply
[ ] You continued a long, stupid thread
[ ] You started an off-topic thread
[ ] You posted a “YOU ALL SUCK” message
[ ] You said “me too” to something
[ ] You suck
[ ] You brag about things that never happened
[ ] Your sig/alias/server sucks
[ ] You made up slang then used it in a message
[ ] I don’t like your tone of voice
[ ] I think you might be a fed
[ ] You posted to more than four newsgroups
[ ] You were imposing your religious beliefs on others
[ ] You posted something really stupid/depraved
[ ] You tried to blame others for your stupidity
[ ] you incorrectly assumed unwarranted moral or intellectual superiority
[ ] you are posting an anonymous attack

To Repent, You Must:
[ ] Be the PR person for George Michaels
[ ] Give up your AOL account
[ ] Bust up your modem with a hammer and eat it
[ ] Jump into a bathtub while holding your monitor
[ ] Actually post something relevant
[ ] Read the FAQ
[ ] Be Senator Exon’s love slave
[ ] Be the guest of honor in alt.flame for a month
[ ] Post your tests to alt.test
[ ] Print your home phone number in your adverts
[ ] Slam your fingers in a desk drawer repeatedly
[ ] Become a Satanist, sell your kids to Michael Jackson

In Closing, I’d Like to Say:
[ ] Bite me
[ ] Get a life
[ ] Never post again
[ ] I pity your dog
[ ] Yer momma’s so fat/stupid/ugly that etc…
[ ] Take your crap somewhere else
[ ] Learn to post or sod off
[ ] Do us all a favor and crawl into some industrial machinery
[ ] See how far your tongue will fit into the electric outlet
[ ] All of the above

p.s. Lighten up people – it’s just a joke 🙂 Before you dive for the Reply
key to bang out a nasty flame, keep in mind…. “sticks & stones”