The Barack Obama Flame War

You know what a “flame war” is, right?

It’s when things get out of hand on an internet forum. You know — hostile, insulting, overheated, and real ugly.

I remember a few years back when I watched three or four fans on a Star Trek forum get all bugnutz over who’d beat whom in a Klingon-Romulan smackdown. The forum moderator hadda expel ’em all.

Well, on the night of the president’s speech last week, I innocently posted this on Facebook:

“I don’t think I’ve ever truly watched a State of the Union speech.”

True statement. (I figger the next morning’s headlines’ll tell me all I need to know — if indeed anything important is said.)

Anyway, when I checked Facebook some 12 hours later, I found a string of 46 “comments” on my little post.

Nasty, horrible stuff, directed not at me but exchanged between just three people. And interestingly, none of it was directly related to my original remark.

It was a lot of back-and-forth between people who couldn’t just agree to disagree.

Everybody wanted to get in the “last word.”

When I finally mustered the courage to chime in, here’s what I posted:

“Fair warning to FB ‘friends’: I’m pretty loose about whose friend requests I accept. But my posts and comment threads are MY playground. You shit there, you’re gone. Have a nice evening.”

Fifteen people “liked” that post, by the way.

OK, there’s a reason I’m bringing all this up.

I want to mention the importance of civility, especially online.

You can quickly ruin your reputation by engaging in mean-spirited flaming.

I’ve witnessed some rude and cruel behavior on forums before, then had those same flamers try to sell me something online a week or so later.


No sale.

I don’t like doing business with hotheads, whether offline or online.

And I don’t care how long they’ve been in business, or how highly recommended their products are.

I like good manners, and I work hard to keep my nose clean. I think twice — usually more, actually — before I dash off a snide comment or bitter remark on Facebook, Twitter, or on an internet forum.

And then I don’t do it.

Tread lightly, friends. And good things will happen.

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