Flaming is a big nuisance on the internet, anybody can fall victim to it without cause and can easily start a flame war. Here's what, why, when, how, what a flame war is and some ways to prevent it from happening to you and if it does, ways to deal with it.
What Flaming is:
Flaming is when a person goes into a chat room, forum, discussion or email and deliberately causes offense to someone by personal attacks and insults, not just their opinions but everything, their personality, their lifestyle, their family and friends even if they have never met the person or know anything about them.
What Flaming isn't:
Someone placing their views, opinions on a discussion even if they disagree with another's point of view. A simple way to put it is if the disagreement is about the person views on the specific topic and not an attack on the person in general, it is not classified as flamin.
Why people do it:
For a number of reasons usually because some people think it is fun to insult people and get great entertainment out of annoying or angering them or even starting a flame war where others just are mad at the world and will take it out on anyone in their path, usually they just like show their authority.
When and how:
People can personally insult another anywhere and at any time on the internet whether it be by email, instant messages, web forums, chat rooms, discussion boards and anywhere else you can possibly think of and it usually ends up in a flame war.
A flame war is usually a throwing of back and forth insulting messages from one or more persons. Sometimes a whole forum or discussion board can get into it and all hell breaks loose. Flame wars usually start when a person makes an insulting comment to another (flame bait) and waits for their aggravated reply. Some people who take part in flame wars find it amusing and there are actually many web sites out there hosting techniques on winning though many who fall victim to it unwillingly and feel that they must retaliate and stand up for themselves.
Ways to prevent flamin:
There are a few ways to prevent yourself against an attack of flaming. If someone posts flame bait never reply to it no matter how much it offends or angers you. Avoid discussions that are prone to flamers or flaming wars. If you are posting to a topic that is controversial say it tastefully and as politely as you can as this will deter people from attacking you.
Dealing with flaming:
If you fall victim to flaming as with prevention try to ignore it, go do something else for a while, read a book or something and go back later when you have cooled down and nine times out of ten the person who was insulting you would have got bored and moved on, this goes the same for flaming wars, try and ease yourself out of the discussions and go back again later when things in there have cooled down or go somewhere else that isn't so easily hostile, there are plenty of sites out there that cater for any topic of conversation.
Flaming is one of the major down points of the internet, but when you understand what it is, how it works and how you can prevent it, it can make your time on the internet that much more enjoyable.