If you’ve taken a look at an internet forum recently, or browsed down to the comments section on a YouTube video, you might have noticed that people on the internet get into fights. They get into fights a lot. Thankfully, this seems to be behavior only displayed online, otherwise we’d be walking down the street screaming at people for no apparent reason.
Something about the anonymity offered by the internet seems to make some people unreasonably aggressive, and this is where flaming comes from. ‘Flaming’ someone on the internet quite simply refers to an unpleasant verbal exchange, usually characterized by hostile remarks and aggressive insults. When two or more people ‘flame’ each other back and forth as part of an argument, this is referred to as a ‘flame war’.
Although flame wars may start naturally with two or more people who simply hold wildly different opinions and very little restraint, there are also individuals on the internet who start them on purpose. The Trolls who seem to be present on all internet comments sections and forums often flame other users for their own enjoyment, simply to see the reaction they get.