"Flaming is the act of posting messages that are deliberately hostile and insulting." - from: Wikipedia about Flaming
Flaming is an internet phenomenon created by the lack of face-to-face cues and the ease with which an immediate and not necessarily thoughtful response can be 'fired off' into cyberspace.
Flaming is not good list etiquette - period!!
Flaming is neither allowed nor tolerated on any of the DragonRiders mailing lists. We come to Pern via the DragonRiders of Pern Writing Club to enjoy ourselves -- not to get caught in a flame war. Such behavior could drive away members who might otherwise have had a productive addition to the discussion.
If in doubt, don't post it. If you find you can't control yourself from just saying something, then restrain yourself to a personal/private reply instead of a list reply and try to stay civil. Remember, you are sending your email to another human being, not a faceless machine with no feelings.
If you receive a flame, don't flame back and never respond in public. That would only make things worse and offer the flamer a chance to blame you for starting trouble. If you have been publicly flamed on the mailing lists, you can log a formal complaint with Council and the flamer will receive a warning.
Council will get involved only if/when someone brings up the alleged flame to Council. That person may be the recipient of the flame, or an innocent bystander who strongly feels that that post was inappropriate, insulting, or hurtful. The Council will then discuss and decide if the alleged post counts as a flame. A Statue of Limitations will exist in that protests over emails more than a month old will no longer be entertained by Council. Private emails and IM conversations are none of the Council's business; only emails that go to DRML and DRCC will be deliberated upon.
First Offense: The member will receive a warning from Council regarding the offending email, and his/her email will be moderated by the list mum for one (1) month before being released to DRML or DRCC.
Second Offense: The member will receive a stronger warning and lose one (1) ranking/premium persona. If the member does not have a ranking/premium persona, he/she will be ineligible to receive such a persona for six (6) months after the incident. Emails will be moderated for two (2) months.
Third Offense: The member will lose the remainder of his/her ranking/premium personas. If the member does not have any remaining ranking/premium personas, he/she cannot have a ranking/premium persona for six (6) months after the incident. If the member is currently on restriction from obtaining ranking/premium personas for six (6) months, he/she cannot have a ranking/premium persona for twelve (12) months after the incident. Emails will be moderated for two (2) months.
Fourth Offense: The member will be removed from club membership and banned for one year.
Good Behavior Clause
A first offense can be wiped out by three (3) months of good behavior. A second offense can be wiped out by six (6) months of good behavior. A third offense can be wiped out by twelve (12) months of good behavior. Leaving and rejoining the club before this time period is over cannot nullify offenses. The rejoining member will be subject to the Good Behavior Clause according to the restrictions that were placed on the member before leaving the club for a maximum of twelve (12) months from the quit date. However, absence from the club for more than twelve (12) months can nullify offenses. (E.g., If a member returned two years after leaving the club with an offense on their record, that returning member should be treated as any other member in good standing.)
** Council reserves the right to nullify the Good Behavior Clause for a member if it perceives that there is a deliberate pattern on the part of the Club member concerning offenses/good behavior.
Points to Consider
What counts as a flame? It's almost impossible to give an objective definition, but most have similar opinions as to when an email is a flame.
- Disagreements do not count as a flame; personal attacks do.
"Nope, check the books. Dragonsdawn, page 154 -- Faranth was NOT the first gold to be hatched." (This is clearly not a flame.)
"Dragonsdawn CLEARLY says that Faranth was not the first gold to hatch. Geez. How hard can it possibly be to the check the books first before you start talking about things you obviously know nothing about?" (This would count as a flame.)
- Writing critiques. If a member asks the Club to honestly critique their work, then basically, they should be able to take the bad with the good. Of course, there are exceptions.
"Your writing sucks!" would be a flame.
"I think you need to make your characters more three-dimensional because *list of reasons and suggestions follows*" would not be a flame.
A possible option would be to send the comments to DRCC if the comments are good; if the comments are negative, send to them privately.
- The last word. Some people just have to have the last word in everything which simply prolongs the flaming on the list(s) and tension in the club. Therefore, if two or more members become involved in the flame war, all involved will be disciplined regardless of which member started it.
- Apologies. If, after sending an antagonistic email to the list(s), the member spontaneously decides to apologize by the next day, then that apology will counterbalance any protests lodged against that email if that was his/her first offense.
However, if the member consistently sends out a flame and then apologizes, the apologies can no longer be believed to be sincere and will be dismissed accordingly when Council evaluates the email.
- If a member files repeated protests which are interpreted by Council as an attempt to cause trouble, especially against fairly innocuous emails, this will be viewed as an offense and count toward their total.
Types of Flames
There are three basic types of flames:
- the accidental flame - the flamer did not intent or foresee that the recipient would feel offended by his or her message
- the reactive flame - the flamer reacted impulsively and sent the message off while under the influence of a strong emotional response without thinking
- the warrior's flame - the flamer's ultimate weapon of destruction, designed to cause the most damage possible to either the victim or the mailing list or both
These are most easily forgiven and often merely a result of a misunderstanding. Please be aware that it is very easy to misunderstand the intent of an email message. If in doubt, assume that the other person did not mean to insult you and be forgiving of what you receive. Know the difference between flaming and constructive criticism. Not everyone who is pointing out mistakes to you means you harm. Sometimes people just want to help you to stay out of trouble or to become a better writer, but they do it in a clumsy and unintentionally hurtful way.
When sending messages, make sure to put some extra effort into proofreading your emails and putting in those few extra words and smilies that can transform what would otherwise have been a rude message into a sound argument or funny comment. In face to face conversation, there are many subtle cues provided by body language and intonation that let others know what we mean. These cues are completely absent online, so strive to be concise, clear, and polite in your writing.
Please be careful when you use humor and make sure your readers know you're joking. Without face-to-face communication, attempts at humor, irony, sarcasm, and wit are often misinterpreted as criticism or flames.
This flame is almost always a quick angry response to someone else's flame or stupidity - be it a real or perceived one. To avoid these flames, try not to respond right away to anything that angers you. You can type your flame, but don't send it off, and don't send it to the list! Go outside, do something else, sleep it over, whatever it takes to cool off your head a bit, and then reread your message. You'll likely find it sounds offensive and you'll be glad you haven't sent it.
Never forget that the person to whom you are sending mail is another human being, with feelings and beliefs that may be very different from yours! This can be easy to forget when you are writing someone you have never met in person and know very little about.
When you receive a flaming reaction, try to apply the same rules as listed above: Calm down first instead of shooting off another flaming reply, thus perpetuating the email exchange into a full-blown flame war.
These nasty weapons of destruction have been insidiously composed to do the most damage possible, either to perpetuate a flame war as long as possible or to utterly devastate the flame target. Flame warriors rarely apologize sincerely. Instead, they will attempt to place the blame on others and emerge innocent.
Flame warriors will not be tolerated. The listmum can and will remove you from the list. Council can and may ban you from the Club. If you want to remain a member, don't push the line.
The only creatures allowed to flame Threads on our mailing lists are the dragons!
Last updated on 22-Aug-05.
Dragonriders of Pern: A Fantasy-Fiction Writing Club - www.dragonridersclub.com
The Dragonriders of PernŽ is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.