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The folks here who think that the disagreements and difference of
opinions are flames and flamewars are people who just haven't
experienced a real flamewar.
As I said to others offlist, I'm in rec.pets.cats, which has gotten a lot
of publicity for its flamewars (many of you are thinking "huh? cat flame
wars? Are they arguing about whose cat purrs loudest?")
The newsgroup was invaded by alt.syntax.tactical several months ago.
("invasion" is another net word, like flaming). The postings and flaming
were incredibly obscene and vulgar; they were deliberately intended to
provoke, harass, and ridicule. Fake postings, counterfeit postings, etc. A
number of people were thrown off the net by their service providers;
threats of lawsuits and counterlawsuits were made, etc.
Many users aren't accustomed to this: either they are on AOL or one of
the mainstream online services, where the sysadmin would not allow such
postings and pranks, or they are on coporate networks, where supervisors
may see such postings.
What goes on here in TechWriter list is sometimes a bit strong arguing,
but it's certainly no flamewar. Most of us are long time professionals,
and we have our experiences and set ways of looking at things. I may
disagree with, eg Steve Fouts sometimes, but agree with him other times.
It seems to me that it is mostly along gender lines: the women pleading
for us to get along and the guys sneering "mine is faster than yours." The
women may feel hurt or insulted, but for us guys, it's just part of
talking. (mine does happen to be faster, so there! :)
Andreas Ramos, M.A. Heidelberg Sacramento, California