Does Flaming = Being a Jerk?

Over my lurking time in the SMDB, I’ve read a great many threads in many forums regarding controversies between posters. Excuse my failure to put some cites in, I think you know what I’m talking about.

One of the purposes of the BBQ Pit, according to its description, is “if you have to flame, do it here”. Yet, the SMDB registration agreement states “Don’t be a jerk”.

My assertion is that flaming anyone, especially a fellow poster is the same as being a jerk. The ad hominem attack that is a flame does nothing to fight ignorance, it only increases it by evoking emotional discourse in place of rational discourse.

So, is there really any rational basis to permit flaming at all on the SMDB? I recognize its a fixture of message boards, but it seems to me that there’s no equivalent to it in real life. In real life, out of decorum, most people do not issue scathing personalized statements against others, especially not in public-especially not if they expect to continue a relationship with another person.

Here we see people flamed and the reply from the flamee frequently being “I thought you were my friend”.

The flamer’s response then is “I am your friend, you just deserved to be flamed”. Again, no real analog for this in real life.

So, the question I’m posing is: does flaming equal being a jerk?

This is right up there with the chicken-egg paradox. I think it is always a judgment call, the “jerk” test, but sometimes it is obvious–which is nonsensical, I know. Often it’s not obvious to the person being banned or warned. Sometimes people lose perspective. Getting upset about typing on a computer screen is not always warranted.

I’ve found it’s better to just leave things alone in many cases. Sometimes I’ll break my rule and point out a funny typo, grammar glitch, or misspelling. Then I whack my head against the desk, metaphorically. I don’t want to be that guy. Gah!

Personal insults are better saved for self-defense. I have a stockpile for deterrence purposes, but a no-first-use policy. Dropping insults early on in threads is one sign someone is a jerk. A pattern of same is almost conclusive proof.

So I’d argue that you can’t judge a poster under the jerk test unless you look at the poster’s overall pattern–which I think the staff does.

Sometimes breaking one rule will get posters banned, over and over for some people. Spam, spam, spam is one example. Fake names, another. The jerk appelation is more like a lifetime achievement award, IMO. Not to say I’ve agreed with every banning. [sub]Damn mod Nazis[/sub]

Flaming a person might equate to being a jerk, but not flaming an attitude.

RandomBubba is an ugly puppy-kicking asshat who rips the tags off of pillows!”

Well, yeah, that’d be dumb.

RandomBubba, the ugly puppy-kicking asshat, needs to stop acting like 3-legged pygmies are superior to everyone else and swallow a giant dose of reality.”

Not quite so jerkish, RB might actually learn something. Nothing forces one to examine one’s own opinions like having to defend them.

Hey Queeny, Don’t be dissin my dad!

and he never kicked me.

:smiley:

Bubba

Can i just say that 9 posts in 22 months is some pretty impressive lurking?

Sometmes, as i’m sure you’re aware, flaming in the Pit comes in response to someone being a jerk in another forum. In cases like this, flaming serves a real purpose, as it allows people to pile on the asshole (or defend him/her) without derailing the original thread.

And it’s often lots of fun to watch. :smiley:

I dunno. I lurk a lot, myself, and I mostly just pay attention to the Pit. I’ve found that nearly all ‘personal’, poster-to-poster Pittings come about because they’re well-deserved. The Pitter isn’t the jerk, the Pittee is one that’s generally getting what’s coming to them.

Now, there are times when people are Pitted for no real reason. That’s when the Doper mentality kicks in and ridicules the OP for being an idiot. Either the OP learns from the mistake, which is always admired, or they don’t learn and keep doing the same crap. Those are the supposed jerks, and they typically don’t last too long.

But not once can I remember a thread where the Pittee said something to the effect of ‘but I thought you were my friend.’ Given the caliber of people here, I’d like to think most of them would take a Pitting by a friend more seriously than otherwise, and consider it an attempt at constructive criticism, not outright flaming. 'Course, it depends on the situation.

Back to lurking for me…

If a doper is pitted without sufficient cause it could be called jerkish behavior.

It seems that the pit is a place where the doper community can hold its own members accountable. If someone is being rude, breaking rules, or comes off like a bigot, you can count on a pit thread.
Sometimes it seems that if the poster has been a long time member, the folks they have offended will pile-on. The folks they have befriended will post in support. I am sure there are a large number of dopers that focus strictly on the issue at hand.

The pit offers a forum for the flame which keeps the other forums on mission.