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Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 74

The problem flamer

Although flaming isn't necessarily bad Netiquette, a flamer can sometimes get out of hand. For example, say you participate in the ultra-friendly newsgroup rec.pets.cats. Somebody posts a message to the newsgroup suggesting that all kittens should be "buried up to their necks at lawn-mowing time." What do you do?

Your first impulse may be to respond to the culprit -- either publicly or by private email -- casting aspersions on his/her morals, intelligence, ancestry, etc. Don't do it. People who post flagrantly offensive flames like this are either flexing their net.muscles, or desperately crying out for attention, or some combination of those things. Many (perhaps most) such flamers are college students who have just discovered cyberspace, and whose social skills haven't yet caught up with their technical abilities. A return flame may be just what they want, and in any case probably won't change their behavior.

Some better suggestions (offered by the friendly folks on rec.pets.cats): (Endnote #15)

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