The Reformation Alliance
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little lea valkyrie

One of the things about life is that you run into people you don't always agree with. Here, all of us will most likely run into a flamer at some point or another. This little thread is for all those people who have been flamed, however mercilessly, and how we've dealt with and overcome these thoughtless, senseless people who think they have a right to tear us down like they do.

12/14/2010 #1

Flaming Guidlines - feel free to edit&add!

When replying to a flame, sticking to the following is the most effective: -

1 - Don't get mad.

Seriously. Chances are, if you reply with something lacking capitalisation and grammar, you'll just get ignored, or if the flamer is as immature and rude as they come across, a reply just restating the flame. IF YOU JUST CAPITALISE EVERYTHING, AND USE EXCLAMATION MARKS, YOU'RE GOING TO LOOK REAL STUPID!!! You see? If this set of guidelines was written out like that, in a rude tone, would you take us seriously? Of course not.

2 - Incorporate the points they've made.

This point depends on the flame. If the person flaming is giving you actual points (like Project Aero are likely to do), then you should try and incorporate them into your reply, otherwise you'll just get the flame straight back in a reply. If they've mentioned capitalisation, then use capitalisation. Grammar? Use it correctly. Description? Give them a nice old spiel describing their flame most imaginatively. Point is, the flame is rude, horrible, and you don't deserve it, but if they've brought up specific details, then you'd do well to consider them when writing your response.

3 - Don't sink to their level.

Insulting the flamer straight back isn't going to do you any good. How do you think the flamer will react? In the end, it's likely to turn into a war, and FFnet isn't going to be somewhere you sign on to read and write fics any more. If they've just insulted you personally, and not even brought up the story, then is it even worth replying? At the end of the day, the subject at hand is your writing - not your personal life, or theirs. Keep it on-screen, folks. Don't let them drag you down - if you can't help but reply, make it clever and witty, and if you can't manage that, then the universal 'So what?' is likely to get the point across just fine.

4 - Be polite.

So you've probably had one of three responses to this flame you've recieved - 1) you feel absolutely gutted, and just want to burst into tears and give up; 2) you're livid, and feel like ripping their head off, or sending a good few choice insults of your own straight back, or 3) you just don't care. Honestly, they don't deserve politeness, or a well-written response, and sometimes all you want to do is throw a badly-written, insults-ridden reply, and tell them to stick that in their pipe and smoke it. But you owe it to your self to rise above all of that - is any flamer going to expect you to thank them for their flame? Of course not. They expect you to be rude - assume that you're going to be, even. Surprise them. Be polite. And if your vision is just so obscured by red that even that seems like a mountain to climb, be civil.

5 - Keep it in the message.

Okay, you've read these guidelines through, and you've sent a well-written, clever, polite reply that sticks to the subject at hand - your writing. But you're still angry; who are they to tear you down like that? You don't deserve it! They don't deserve a nice reply! Why should you be the one left feeling terrible? You can't get it out of your head. So what's the next step? To make it public, of course! It's not like their flame was private - why shouldn't they feel the humiliation of being beaten down publicly? So you post it on your profile, you shove it in an A/N on your most popular fic, you make sure everyone who follows you knows all about it. But really, is that the way it should be? Come on, you've already done the right thing! You've kept calm, you've done it! Don't go and mess it all up. Keep it in the message - there's no need to make it bigger than it really is. At the end of the day, they're just another flamer, there for kicks - they don't deserve the time or effort. You've already beaten them with your reply.

6 - Empathy.

If you get a flame with good specific points, sometimes you have to realise that all they're trying to do is genuinely improve your story. They've gone about it the wrong way, that's for sure, but if, as suggested above, you take their ideas into consideration, and use them to improve your writing, then they've got nothing to flame about, have they? And, at the end of the day, you've improved your writing, even if it's all for the purpose of replying to their flame in accordance with these guidelines. There's nothing big or clever about flaming, no matter how well-written or clean, and in most instances it's just there to tear you down, but sometimes you do have to consider the aims of the flamer. Look at the little things - is it long? Have they taken the time to highlight specific areas? Have they suggested places where you can get help in improving your writing? Think about it before replying.

Not sure what's a CC flame, and what a pure flame is? Check these out.

CC Flame

Excuse me, but the what the HELL is this? Have you ever HEARD of punctuation? Commas and full stops? No? Yeah, it shows in this piece of s***. What's with the lack of capitalisation, anyway? You need a capital letter at the start of a sentence - who DOESN'T know that? You, obviously, since you're a poor excuse for an author. Get rid of this s***, and learn to use the shift key.

Pure Flame

Hahahahahahah this is soooo stupid!! you're stupid and fat, who wants to read anything written by YOU?? your penname is freaking stupid! hahahahahahahahah

No one deserves to get flamed - it takes the fun right of FFnet. Remember, even the elites make mistakes sometimes! But if you get CC flamed, respond badly, and continue to write just the same way? It's just gonna happen again, because the fundamental points in that flame remain the same. Pure flames just aren't worth your time. Consider the flame and how it's written whilst writing your response, and remember that there are forums - just like this very one! - ready to help you out with even the most basic of writing skills. Don't let flames get you down!

1/16/2011 #2

Awright, here's a little personal testimony and advice from an... someone who occasionally leaves Harsh Words for really bad fic.

1. Ad hominem is a fallacy for a reason.

What is ad hominem? Here's an example:

A: "Well, your plotting is quite good and I like your characterization of X, but you could really work on your grammar. Also, I saw a few flaws in areas 1, 2, and 3."

B: "You're a f**."

In essence, ad hominem is insulting the person you're arguing with rather than going to town on the argument. This does not make you look good at all, no matter if you're flaming or responding to one. Tell me why you think I'm wrong.

2. Remain calm!

FFS here. Be mature, be polite, if I the flamer was rude to you tell me so. Some people flame just to get you to flip out -- I flame because I have a sharp tongue and fast hands and a bad habit of hitting send before I think everything over.

3. Related to that, wait before you send that message.

Let it sit for five minutes at least. Tab away and look at some cats. Calm down. Then come back and look at what you've written. Revise it. Touch up your grammar and spelling. Take out most of your exclamation points: unless you're quoting out dialogue from something for some reason, they're often unnecessary.

Tab away again, give it another five minutes. Think about it: what do you want to tell me? Think about what you're writing. Maybe revise it again. At least read it over a couple of times.

Now send it.

4. "OK, OK, you sent me a flame saying you hate how I characterized Y. I think he's totally in character and you're just whining."

Admittedly, I am -- I'm a fanboy too, and I take things a little personally from time to time.

So the point to this one? Your flamer may be wrong, especially on issues of the structure of your writing or characterization. As long as you can hew to some basic standards (unless it contributes to the story, for instance, you should at least write in an intelligible manner -- whether that's long sentences or short ones, your choice; characters should adhere to the basic core of their character: Maximum Ride is headstrong and has a crush on Fang, stuff like that), there's a lot of variation to play with.

If you think someone's wrong, call them out on it. (And again, remain calm and revise before you send.)

Annnnd that's basically it :)

1/17/2011 #3

CZ wishes everyone followed this advice. It's amazing how a nice reply will get CZ to respect the person more, even if CZ just harsh CC-ed them and didn't flame them.

Steps to get CZ to respect an author she has previously flamed:

1. Never use the things that the flamer has called you out on in your reply just to irk them. (bad grammar, too many exclamation marks, etc.)

CZ once got a reply like this--with too many exclamation marks to count and bad grammar. Her reaction was to LOL.

2. Look back at your story to see if the flamer is right.

Which they are usually. Flamers don't usually lie if they are giving advice. For example, they will not say Max is out of character unless she really is out of character. The only things they will really say that can be construed as lying are comments like, "You're obviously still in kindergarten."

3. Don't play the sympathy card.

"I cant believe u were so mean!" Honestly, that just makes me barf a little. Fix the story, don't grovel.

4. If you believe the flamer has to elaborate on something, please reply.

You will never improve if you don't know exactly you need to fix. Flamers may be more susceptible to respecting you if you take the time to read their flame and think about it a little

1/19/2011 . Edited 1/19/2011 #4
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