What Is 'Flaming'?

Flaming: to verbally attack someone oline
Flaming: to verbally attack someone oline. Getty Images

Question: What Is 'Flaming'? What Does It Mean to Flame Someone?

Answer: 'Flaming', or 'to flame', means to attack someone verbally online. Flaming is about hurling insults, transmitting bigotry, name-calling, or any outright verbal hostility directed at a specific person. Often, flaming is a result when there is a heated difference of opinions on a topic, and it has devolved into childish bickering.

Flaming is particularly common when the discussion involves hot-button topics, like politics and the presidential election, abortion, immigration, climate change, police brutality, and anything involving religion.

Flaming is also common on YouTube, where blatant bigotry and hate is spread throughout user comments on videos. People are happy to ridicule and verbally attack others on YouTube over minor things like differences in music tastes.

Related Terminology: 'Trolling' - in those cases where someone is a repeat flamer who insists on regularly attacking others as a habit, we call that person an internet troll.


Flaming example: Donald Trump engages in an online flame war with the Pope


More examples of flaming and flame wars from the 2016 presidential election:


Here is a dramatized example of YouTube users flaming each other over music videos:


    Related examples of flaming and incendiary hot-button topics:


    Excerpted examples of flaming in an online discussion forum:

    • (excerpt 1) "Why are you flaming me? All I said was that you didn't support your argument with any facts."
    • (excerpt 2) "Look, there's no need to flame the original poster - he was just trying to make a point about the health care bill. Everybody just relax, and let's try to be civil again."
    • (excerpt 3) "Ryan0844 just flamed LogDog really bad in the Open Forum. Somebody should talk to him about his temper."
    • (excerpt 4) "Whoa. What's with the big flame war? This is supposed to be an adult community."
    • (excerpt 5) "The moderators will not tolerate any attacks on members in this forum. Any flaming or trolling will result in suspended accounts. If you don't like these private forum rules, then please leave."


      Why is there so much flaming and hate online?

      In a free society, people are encouraged to express their thoughts. And when you factor in that online anonymity makes people that much braver, you are bound to see blatant hate and viciousness wherever there are open comments invited.

      Our suggestion: grow a thick skin and get used to seeing nasty conversations on the Web.


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