Flame War

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We didn't start the flame war'

Peeps were hatin' on it 'fore I left my comment

Something about the anonymous nature of the internet makes people behave in ways that they wouldn't when face-to-face with people. What starts as a minor disagreement like "how to ship two minor characters," or "what constitutes Canon or Fanon," escalates until the users are insulting each other, flinging expletives and profanities and shouting at the top of their virtual lungs. Inevitably, someone will be compared to Hitler.

After a time, the flames may abate, but usually more because of exhaustion than anyone actually getting a point across. Once everyone has recovered their stamina, all it takes is one innocent (or not-so-innocent) person bringing the subject up to start things all over again.

In fandom related communities, a lot of the flame wars are the result of a Broken Base, Fandom Rivalry, Fandom Heresy, or other Fan Dumb behavior—which, in turn, is the result of people regarding the fandom as Serious Business. In a way, it can be even more bothersome than dealing with trolls who come onto the community to bash the entire fandom. Sometimes a fandom Flame War can reach such levels that it becomes a Holy War, a massive, prolonged battle of insults. The Console Wars and PC vs. MAC debate are good examples of these prolonged, fortunately rare Wars.

God help you if you actually start discussing politics or religion.

This trope is also known as a Holy War. Not to be confused with epic wars where Crusaders kill each other with fire.

See Misplaced Nationalism for a specific form. See Internet Backdraft for more specific examples of ways to start big ones.


Examples of Flame War include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The original Anime Flame War: "Anime is just Japanese for "cartoons" vs. "Anime is a special artform all its own and utterly and completely different from Western animation".
  • There is an ever present opinion that though you may draw in the style of manga, though your comics may read from right to left, you can never call your comic a "manga" unless you are Japanese but if you make an animation in that style or any other you can call it Anime because to the Japanese it's always named Anime.
  • Animation Age Ghetto can often rile up Flame Wars, especially when it comes to Anime.
  • Subbing Versus Dubbing. The issue is aggravated by the fact that some DVDs are released as sub-only.
  • Character names when a series is being translated from one language to another. (Raito or Light? Ahiru or Duck?)
  • Asking "Why is Naruto such a crap Anime" on any anime forum gets 3 different responses; non-fans saying it is, fans saying it isn't and a 3rd group that actually look at the question and point out its foibles and short comings, and try to answer it logically and factually. The 1st and 2nd group will fight, and the 3rd inevitably joins in, and can take either side.
  • Dragonball Z ... so many to count, but simply ... Frieza Saga VS Cell Saga VS Buu Saga.
    • Calling Dragon Ball GT canon to someone who disapproved of it, due to its splintered relationship to the past two Dragonball series.
  • Fansubs (and by extension, piracy): Good or bad?
  • Hellsing Anime VS Hellsing Manga/OVA. And, may Alucard have mercy on your soul if you mention you like both.
  • Dissing the great Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann brings swift destruction upon you.
  • Discussing One Piece vs. Naruto (and sometimes Dragon Ball, Bleach, and lately Fairy Tail added in) has been a legendary conflict for fans of either series for the past 14 or so years they've been running. It's a battle of what "character type" the fans like most, One Piece being Pirates, Naruto being Ninjas, Dragon Ball more-or-less being Aliens, Bleach being Samurai, and Fairy Tail being Wizards.
  • One of the most offensive heresies you can use towards an anime is calling a 4Kids dub of one good.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Comicbook forums have very extensive wars over what is Canon.
  • The incessant "Who can beat up whom" arguments. Superman vs. Thor? Batman vs. Wolverine? It's all been done.
  • Go to any comics related imageboard and make an original post and type in the magic words: "THEY TOOK OUT THE SQUID!" accompanied by the appropriate spoiler pic. The original poster will then see the resulting thread grow into a bitter, flaming hot discussion between fans fruitlessly debating on whether or not Zack Snyder's controversial decision was a good idea. The debates just parallel the regular discussions about Ozymandias' controversial decision!
  • Ask a group of Marvel fans who they like more - new Captain America (comics) (Bucky Barnes) or old Captain America (Steve Rogers) - then get out the marshmallows.
    • Then there's fans of lesser-knowns, such as Isaiah Bradley, John Walker, William Naslund, Jeffrey Mace and Scott Summers as Cap from an alternate future reality...
    • Ask any Marvel two fans who was right in Civil War, Iron Man or Captain America (comics)? Then duck.
      • Even better, ask whether Civil War was idiotic Character Derailment that should be retconned and forgotten, or a legitimate storyline that should continue to leave its impact on the Marvel universe. The flames will fly, and the only thing that comes close to a consensus was that the event sucked (and that is a source of a debate between some factions).
  • Try and ask comic fans who a superhero's true love is. You will get a long, twisting thread of responses screaming that Catwoman is the person Batman is meant to be with or Wonder Woman is the only one who deserves him; declaring either that Jean Grey and Scott Summers are OTP or that people should move on and accept Emma Frost; or fighting over whether Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's retconned-away marriage can be salvaged in the future or is Ruined FOREVER. Then there's the heroes who don't have alternate potential love interests, who some fans will insist should not have any love interests at all (yes, even supposed untouchables like Clark Kent and Lois Lane). And don't even start considering the personality changes and deleted characters and relationships between Pre Crisis to Post-Crisis continuity if you're talking about DC. It is impossible to please everyone, no matter what you do.
  • Take a panel from any Big Two superhero comic, from any era, and ask fans what they think. You will be beset by arthouse snobs insisting that everything before the Modern Age is crap, Silver Age nostalgists complaining that a scene has the wrong character dynamics (or characters), Marvel fans whining about DC characterization, DC fans whining about Marvel narration, old school fans complaining about modern continuity, new fans whining about four-color artwork, people insulting thought bubbles, people insulting the lack of thought bubbles, people hating on a character, people hating on a different character, irrelevent complaints about the writer/arc/future continuity/past continuity thrown, etc, etc, etc. Superhero comics doesn't have a Broken Base. It has a shattered base where each shard represents one single fan's opinions.
  • DC fans have a division over the New52 relaunch. One side loves it, one side unreservedly loathes it and all it stands for, and the Silent Majority likes certain aspects. Dan DiDio noted that most the hate comes from fans who have favourite characters replaced or benched. Wally West/Barry Allen, old Teen Titans/ Lobdell Titans, old/new Starfire and the Batgirls issue are notable fan schisms, with Earth 2, Power Girl's costume and Action Comics also inflaming fans. Tellingly, series that have been better received by fans have smoothed out prior schisms.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Many flame wars have resulted from people asking if Godzilla could defeat the following monsters-Gamera, King Kong, and the Cloverfield.
    • The less said about the In Name Only remake, the better...
    • Which era was the best-Showa (1955-1975), Heisei (1984-1995), or Millennium (1999-2004)? No one fan can fully agree with one another on this.
  • What's the qualification for a film to become a cult film. Should huge mainstream successful films with cult followings qualify? (like Star Wars) Or should cult only apply to obscure failed films that are remembered years after the fact?
  • The flames burn hot in the debates between the original versions of the Star Wars trilogy and the special editions. Likewise with the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy.
  • The IMDb Top 250 list. There are a few films that didn't make the list, and had their fair share of Fan Dumb, Hate Dumb and Fan Hater in their forums, but when a film actually makes the list, or worse... the Top 10, expect the worst.
  • Highlander. The broken and divided fanbase of this series is purely LEGENDARY; take ANY issue and you'll be met with about 6(+) different factions of fans who all stick to their own individual continuities and will flame anyone who dares disagree with them/think their version is better/think differently/come up with their own take/etc.
  • Tokusatsu FlameWars
  • You are only allowed to like either the Pre-Lord of the Rings films Peter Jackson made, or only the films he made after Heavenly Creatures. You are not allowed to like all of his films, under any circumstances. Ever. Yes, that's right, there are flame wars between Peter Jackson fans over whether only his early work was good or only his later work. And neither side is willing to see eye-to-eye.
    • This baffling attitude comes from his older fans thinking that he "sold out", and that the Lord of the Rings films are long and boring and don't showcase his talent well. They're also prone to calling his newer fans 'kids' or 'noobs' during debates over which of his films are good.
    • Also, his newer fanbase may be more fond of the Splatter films he made early on. They tend to think his older fans are snobs.
      • Either way, you have to pick a side. Appreciation for all of the man's work is unthinkable and blasphemous.
  • Avatar. Now let's all calmly walk away and move on with our lives.
  • Awards. Academy Awards mostly. Even announcement of nominations sparks a flame war whether someone deserved it,or whether someone was snubbed.
  • The Avengers vs The Dark Knight Rises. The possibility of liking both movies? The very idea...
    • In fact, the mere mention of The Dark Knight, regardless of your opinion, is enough to start Fan Dumb and/or Hate Dumb tearing at each others throats. Casual comic-book movie fans could never be more embarrassed.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Ship-to-Ship Combat seems common... all too common.
  • Any fansite devoted to One Piece will burn to the ground if someone says the forbidden word: Zolo.
  • Want to see mushroom clouds erupt all over the area? Go to a Daria fan board and type in the following words: "I like Tom Sloane."

Literature[edit | hide]

  • JRR Tolkien's Balrog, and whether its wings are literal or metaphorical.
    • Also, whether Legolas had blond or brown hair.
  • Pick an event in a Harry Potter book. Any event, major, minor, irrelevant, plot-related, character-related...any event, in any Harry Potter book. It is guaranteed that someone, somewhere, at some point in time, has had a flamewar over something about that event.
    • One of the most notable events: the Epilogue.
  • Discussion on any Expanded Universe. On the official Dungeons & Dragons forums, discussing any of the novels is an offense punishable by an instant ban, because of what appears to have been one of the worst flame wars in recorded history. The admins and mods did a VERY thorough job of making sure that the posts comprising the Flame War got deleted, and if a mod even hints at the cause of it, they are fired immediately.
  • Shakespeare: greatest playwright of the Reformation, or complete fraud? And if Dear William didn't write his works, then who did -- the guy who died of chills contracted while stuffing chickens with snow? The secret agent of the crown killed in a bar fight? (incidentally, this makes this trope Older Than Steam, as the discussion has been going on for some time now)
  • Twilight fanatics vs. haters.
  • Please, never ask anyone what their favorite Warrior Cats character is, or it will lapse into a never ending debate of Jayfeather vs. Hawkfrost vs. Harry Potter.
    • Go on the official forum and mention that Cinderheart is the best character ever and not a Mary Sue, or say she is a horrible Mary Sue. Alternately, mention Lionblaze's mate. Hey, they burned down my house!


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • White Collar fans have been known to come to virtual blows over Hilarie Burton's character Sara Ellis. Half of them think she's a strong, independent woman who is just too much for misogynist fangirls who hate seeing Neal Caffrey locking lips with another girl. The other half think she's an annoying cliché who only exists to give the main character a love interest. Don't want to take my word for it? Just check out the comments on this thread.
  • Kirk vs Picard is a classic that shows up less often now. If only because people prefer to complain about Archer and Janeway.
    • Then there are those who think that Sisko was the greatest captain EVAR and refuse to accept any and all Star Trek that isn't completely serialized like Deep Space Nine was.
  • A specific example from Doctor Who: the Flame War that resulted after it was announced that Christopher Eccleston was only doing one series as the Ninth Doctor got so out of control the entire Outpost Gallifrey forum had to be shut down for two days. Matters weren't helped when prominent fan Ian Levine, in what can only be described fairly as a moment of hysteria, elected to describe Eccleston as 'lower than a cockroach'.
    • In general, discussions about whether the New Series is better than the Classic Series or vice versa have a good probability of ending up as one of these.
    • Another common, yet pointless debate common on forums is whether the first name of the protagonist is 'The Doctor', or 'Doctor Who'.
    • Really, anything about Doctor Who will result in a flame war. Old series v. New Series, shipping battles, best Doctor, best companion, best episode, best season, best writer, best producer, worst Doctor, worst companion, worst episode, worst season, worst writer, worst producer, romance in the TARDIS, too much emotion, not enough emotion, stand alone episodes v. arcs, the TARDIS interior design, the TARDIS exterior design... and that's not even touching the Expanded Universe.
      • And perhaps most vehement of all - discussions of whether the Doctor is really "half human on his mother's side"...
        • Word of God smashed that one in Series 4, the Meta-Crisis Doctor being referred to as the First Half Human/Half Time Lord.
  • God help you if you even DARE to mention the Joel vs Mike argument from Mystery Science Theater 3000 fandoms. The sheer amount of flames you will receive can be used to toast marshmallows.
    • Interestingly, study of one of the most active boards during the switch (and, more importantly, one of the few to have archived their posts), Usenet group alt.tv.mst3k, reveals comparatively little flame warring over Joel/Mike. It seems that, for at least one board, much more anger and vitriol was spilled over whether certain elements of the show were sexist and if Jim Mallon had been instrumental in "forcing" Joel out.
  • Visit a Supernatural fan community and mention that you like Ruby 2.0/Lisa/any chick that's been within 50 feet of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, up to and including their wives. Every hair you have will be singed off.
  • Glee fandom has this in spades—just trying getting into a "Kurtofsky" (Kurt/Karofsky) vs. "Klaine" (Kurt/Blaine) argument. If you prefer the former, you will be told that you clearly support bullying, hatred and sexual assault in Real Life. If the latter, you will be told you have no taste and only like boring Mary Sues and have just jumped on the Darren Criss bandwagon to seem cool. It's like the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan, except a lot more gay.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer was well known for Buffy/Spike vs Buffy/Angel ship wars that got into flame war territory on occasion.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Name any genre of music and associated subculture, any, and flame wars will ignite. Particularly volatile topics are: what is acceptable as heavy metal, which school of blackmetal is true/kvlt and how to 'define' goth.
  • Old school rap 80s and 90s vs. The new stuff. The discussion starts off civil enough, then everything goes to hell. Exemplified by fans of the new stuff calling the other group a bunch of old out of touch whiners with a Nostalgia Filter, and the former calling the latter group a bunch of white kids pretending to be black over the internet, or a bunch of suburban/dumb girls/uncle toms etc who like popcorn Glam Rap cause they can't hack real serious Hip Hop. It has gotten real personal in some cases, even outside the internet.
  • Whether or not Soulja Boy is real Hip Hop...So many poor souls.
  • Korean pop is quite notable for having several different opportunities for flame wars. Did SNSD or SJ deserve to win the Daesang? Maybe it was 2NE1? Is 2NE1 better than SNSD/4Minute/Miss A/etc.? Is this singer/group talented or just a bunch of useless plastic sluts?
    • Are Yoona, Yuri, Sooyoung and Hyoyeon useless or do they provide flavour in SNSD?
    • Are idols like Dara, Yoona, Sohee, Hwayoung, etc. useless in their groups or do they simply have "fresh" voices?
    • Is 2NE1's CL the "baddest female Seoul City ever had" or is she a shouty, nasal-voiced tryhard who could never compare to the likes of Tasha?
    • Just how much should a female idol weigh? Should male idols show their abs? How much skin is too much? What's too risque?
    • Did Rania actually bring something fresh to the k-pop scene, or were they too over-exposed and "slutty"?
    • Is 2NE1 more about the music or the style?
    • TVXQ. Do you support JYJ, Homin, or both?
    • SONES vs. STAND. There's also any of the fanclub wars, which have a tendency to go supernova very quickly.
    • How many members of Super Junior should there be?
    • There's also what inevitably happens if a male idol gets a girlfriend - one side will flame her, send her hate letters/death threats and hurl abuse at the male idol. The other side will say "Hey, why not let them be happy?" The flamers will then retort "Well, you're OBVIOUSLY not a TRUE FAN", and things will degenerate from there.
    • Plastic sugery. Does this invalidate a singer's talent? Are the male idols who get it better than their female counterparts?
  • Comparisons of Opera singers, especially dead ones, can spawn enormous flame wars among enthusiasts. Ask an opera buff on his opinion of Maria Callas vs. Renata Tebaldi or Mario Lanza vs. Jussi Björling. Or just read the comments to some opera clips on YouTube.
  • My favorite violinist vs. yours. Period! Go to any Youtube video on any virtuoso and just see the comments unfold below.
  • Justin Bieber's "Baby" video had been flamed by an internet group The "Metal Militia" on September 1, 2010. Bieber himself has taken a lot of fire for his popularity, and, in the eyes of some, mediocrity.
  • In the Vocaloid fandom Kagamine fans are known for really long arguments over whether the two are twins, lovers, both, or each other's reflection in the mirror.
  • Jazz. The entire fanbase more or less split wide open in the 80s, with one side embracing the more commercialized aspects of jazz-rock fusion and smooth jazz introduced in the 70s, while the purists vehemently hating them. These days, smooth jazz generates ire from either side of the fence, but the purist debate on what jazz is supposed to be rages on.
    • Jazz split many times before the 80s. Bebop was controversial when it first came out, and Bossa Nova made jazz safe again for the mainstream. Then you have free jazz, which still has its detractors. And jazz fusion...
  • Indian music - Tradition vs. Innovation. Religious vs. Non-religious themes. "Authentic Performance" of ragas and compositions. Commercialization. Raise any of these and you're just asking for it.
    • Far worse in the previous half of the century, although debates still flare up on any subjective topic.
    • Tradition vs Innovation is staple of any form of classical music.
  • Any genre of classic music - Four words. Historically Informed Authentic Performance. Opinion wars have been known to end up more hysterical than historical.
  • Nightwish has HUGE flame wars over whether Tarja or Anette is the better singer, despite the fact that Tarja left over six years ago. The war is still going strong.
  • One band: Linkin Park. To wit, "Old Sound vs. New Sound", "Manufactured Boy Band vs. Badass Nu-Metal", "Fort Minor vs. Dead by Sunrise", "Linkin Park vs. Deftones", "Linkin Park vs. Limp Bizkit", "Singles vs. B-Sides", etc.
  • Green Day: Either anything after Dookie is bad, or only their new stuff is good, or anyone who likes American Idiot is a noob and a sell-out, or anyone who likes 21stCenturyBreakdown is also a noob and a sell-out, or if you like the band period, you're a fag who doesn't listen to "real" rock music.
  • Pop-R&B vs. straight forward R&B. Some thinks that regular R&B doesn't even exist on mainstream radio anymore because of Pop-R&B. The flames come from arguments on whether or not the former pop artists are good singers, and or manufactured. Alternatively does that even matter and are the complainers out of touch?


Software & Computers[edit | hide]

  • Some truly ancient flamewars, all of which have been around for a couple of decades at least, some as long as half a century:
    • Unix vs. ITS. Yes, ITS is in the dustbin of history because it was written for a platform which nobody has seriously used in something like 20 years. ITS grognards, however, will still go into a foaming rage at any hint that Unix might be a better choice. And Unix grognards will go into screaming hissy fits at any hint that perhaps the "innovations" they attribute to their favorite hack might have existed long before it.
    • EMACS vs. VI. Wanna disrupt any technical forum you like? Wait for someone to mention EMACS or VI and then casually say one of the following (depending on which is mentioned first): "I really don't like EMACS. Alt-Meta-Shift-Bucky-Bucky-One is just not a user interface." "VI really lacks anything to recommend it as a developer's editor. Between the anemic scripting capabilities and the hideous, irritating modal setup, you can't get anything done without your editor biting your fingers off." Then just sit back and watch the flames leap up until either the forum is rendered absolutely useless or the mods step in and start kicking butt. While expressing their own preference. (Bonus points if you can get the mods fighting each other!)
    • C vs. C++.
    • Lisp vs. a lot of C-derived languages. (Smalltalk as well—and they have historic ties to the LISP community. This is not without justification, on both sides—Lisp is conceptually different—and cleaner, more powerful, etc.--than most C-derived languages, however, as it is older than many of them, it is criticized for its (parenthesis-heavy) syntax, and as its spec hasn't been updated since 1994, many claim it is obsolete (which it isn't--it's aged pretty well), as well as insecurity from smug lispers).
  • Operating systems:
    • "Which Linux distro is better?" or "Linux vs. Windows" or "Microsoft is evil/no it isn't/yes it is" can generate epic flame wars sometimes.
    • There's also Mac vs. PC, or Elitist fags vs. Moronic man-children in the fanatics' eyes. Linux fans tend to be too dismissive of Mac and "macbook users" to argue with Mac fans, though OS Mach still being *NIX sometimes makes an alliance vs. the Windows crowd (see Alt Text here).
    • But since we have a choice, which desktop environment? Gnome, KDE, LXDE, Xfce, Compiz? That wasn't too hot, but things got much more lively when freshly baked Unity dropped in the middle of Ubuntu. Unity is very much Love It or Hate It - is it the desktop environment revolution or a pile of widgets glued with Mac love, not fit even for LiveCD?
  • Mac vs. PC. Est. 1981.
    • Macs first appeared in 1984.
      • Unless you count the Apple Lisa, which predated the Mac by a few years. Or the Apple I, II, III, etc., which were driven by CLIs instead of the now-standard GUIs.
  • CLI vs. GUI. Command line users trumpet the superior freedom and customization options of a CLI, while graphical users like to have things like a window system and a mouse.
  • iOS vs. Android. Used to be vs. BlackBerry to a lesser extent, but the other two are the primary combatants today. This one's only been around a few years, because smartphones have only been around a few years.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • "Edition Wars" have become a special version of this with regards to Tabletop Games. Particularly vicious arguments come from comparing New World of Darkness vs. Old World of Darkness or any two versions of Dungeons & Dragons (especially any previous edition vs. 4th).
  • In many communities, discussing game mechanics or strategy at all has been known to incite shrill rage from players who feel the focus of these games should be on "roleplaying" to the total exclusion of mechanics.
  • "Traditional" role-play games (generally speaking the ones with a Dungeon Master) vs. the new "Narrativist" movement. Don't dare to say that "Everybody should choose the way of playing he likes the most". You have been warned.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 fandom, this may apply to the two missing Primarchs or to whether or not the Emperor is really all that great. Most of the newer Codexes (particularly the Blood Angels, Grey Knights, Space Marines) and anything about Matt Ward have been causing a lot of cries of "HERESY!" Necrons, surprisingly enough, less so. May the God-Emperor help you if you ever mention female Space Marines.
  • Character Alignment. Applies to alignment of given characters, what alignment system to use, and how to use it.
  • An experiment you can do at home, but probably shouldn't: start discussing morality or Lunars on an Exalted forum. Odds are good within thirty posts everything will be on fire. Thirty posts after that someone will come and burn your house down.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • PC gaming vs. console gaming. If the two are even brought up in the same paragraph, it always has to be a competition.
    • Is the Wii, the Xbox 360, or the PlayStation 3 better? Please don't answer that.
    • In a similar vein, Downloadable Content for video games. No one can agree if they benefit gamers or rip them off.
    • Almost anything involving Final Fantasy, such as which one sucked, which one was awesome, whether they're the best thing since sliced bread or the sign of everything wrong with the game industry today.
    • The Final Fantasy main series is controversial enough, but if you bring up any of the spin offs (such as X-2 or any of the Final Fantasy VII compilation) on a forum about one of the main games expect an all out Flame War.
    • You get the gaming equivalent to classic rock elitists that pine for the days of Nintendo Hardness and vehemently declare that everything made after X era is "stupid faggy casual bullshit that takes no skill".
    • Calling any Final Fantasy character Emo, but especially protagonists like Cloud and Squall, is asking to be burnt to ashes, just to be put back together so you can be burnt down again and again.
    • Kefka Vs. Sephiroth.
    • Another sensitive issue is whether or not a few people pirating games really hurt game developers. Topics also somehow get morals involved.
    • DRM is the new big one, unique in that there are very few people actually supporting it, yet the Angry Internet Men somehow manage to start a flame war anyway.
      • (in a carefully innocent tone): What's with "Direct Rendering Manager"? [2]
  • Say anything about Sonic the Hedgehog. Really, almost ANYTHING. Good, Bad... it doesn't matter. The haters and trolls will burn anything positive and piss on the ashes, and the Fan Dumb loyalists of the franchise will not only feed the Trolls by commenting back, but they'll burn the slightest negative comment too- even constructive criticism of the more mediocre games of the series.
  • Go to a forum with lots of fans of Mega Man, Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, and Mega Man ZX, and talk about Mega Man Battle Network. Go on. I dare you.
  • Team Fortress 2 is one of the most popular team-based online shooters ever. Beyond this, there is no aspect of the game that is not subject to actinic flamewars. There is no action Valve can take that will not spark flames on the forums. This war will end when the world ends and/or the last copy is deleted.
    • Who would have thought hats could spark that much controversy?
    • The Mannconomy Update (trading, item set advantages and the ability to buy items (you can still get them free)) can be thought of as Valve pouring a tank full of gasoline out and waiting for the community to blunder in with a lit match.
  • Fallout 1 and 2 fans vs Fallout 3 fans. No, you're not allowed to like both at the same time.
  • Behold, the inner workings of Kinoko Nasu's fans:

Poster A: I'm going to objectively state how I feel about Heavens Feel.
Poster B: Fuck you, I feel the opposite of you and like Unlimited Blade Works better.
Poster C: Shiki can kill servants. Discuss.
Poster D: He can not. Nasu agreed, don't dig him about about it.
Poster E: There is no Tsukihime anime.

    • Repeat ad nauseum.
  • Please don't ever mention Derek Smart. Especially in any relatively popular gaming-related forum. Especially especially on popular UseNet gaming forums.
  • Common Super Mario Bros. Flame War Subjects:
  • Persona 3 vs. Persona 4. Not as huge as the others, but it's there. Which has better characters? Which has a better plot? OMG, Persona 4 sucks because it has a happy ending! ...etc.
    • And it all comes crashing down when fans of Persona 2 or, better yet, more traditional Shin Megami Tensei games enter the fray. Like Fallout, you are NOT allowed to like them all.
  • One of the more famous subjects for a flamewar is: "Which is better, Halo or Call of Duty?" It's a particular favorite on YouTube. Hilariously, the flamewars between Halo: Reach fans and Call of Duty Black Ops fans are already starting... even though the games aren't actually out yet (Although Halo: Reach did have a multiplayer beta, which many fans are using as a somewhat credible excuse to base opinions on).
  • Star FOX: Love Krystal or Hatedom Krystal? It's the Holy War that never ends.
  • Within the Pokémon fandom, there's fans of the first few generations VS fans of the later generations. Those who can appreciate all generations are often ignored in ensuing arguments.
    • Likewise, people who think Ubers/Legendaries are perfectly legit to use in battle VS people who think using Ubers/Legendaries is cheating or an unfair advantage.
    • Don't ever ask the Pokémon fanbase what their favorite generation is, unless you want to be in the crossfire of 5 different teams trying to slit each other's throats. All you have to do is mention Generation III (II in some camps), sit back, and watch the comments of "THE NEW GAMES SUCK THEY RUINED THE SERIES THERES ONLY 151 POKEMON" and so on fly.
    • Many members of many Pokémon Special forums are extremely jaded to Ash Ketchum; considering who they get to read about kicking ass, it's no surprise. Do not, even in jest, imply that Ash would make a good replacement for Red. If you do, your computer will have a nuclear meltdown from the sheer combined volume and intensity of the flames headed your way.
      • And now we have a new one concerning whether or not Lyra's cutsey new outfit is appropriate for super-serious Crystal, and whether or not Lyra should've been a new character.
    • Millions upon millions of flame wars have resulted from the following question-"Is Rotom a Legendary?".
      • The same thing can be said about Lucario...especially in the wake of the 8th movie.
      • In both cases, the official answer in the games is no. (Both can reproduce, though Rotom needs the assistance of a Ditto to do so, being genderless. Legendary Pokemon cannot reproduce.) The 8th movie certainly makes Lucario look legendary, though.
    • The "genders" of Legendary Pokemon (despite most of them officially being genderless) is the source of many a flame-war...especially when it involves poor Mew.
    • Whether certain Pokemon belong in the uber tier or not - almost every single one there has been subject to fights as to just whether or not it deserves inclusion.
  • RuneScape:

"Poster 1:" *Insert recent update here* sucks!
"Poster 2:" No, *Same update* rocks!
"Poster 1:" Get the fuck out of here! *Starts flaming*

    • New update? Rinse, lather, repeat. And "Fix this! Nerf that! Magic is unbalanced! Stupid Jagex!" is present all the time.
    • Just mentioning Runescape can start a bonfire.
    • Speaking of RuneScape, what about their sister site, Funorb?! Funorb is practically dead, and it's festering with people who refuse to let go of the site and flame on the forums that they want something done.
  • Left 4 Dead starts one whenever anyone dares to compare the first game to the second. Bring the marshmallows if you attempt to bring up the boycotters of the sequel and bring a flame retardant suit if you ever mention the balance of VS mode.
  • Please... consider the consequences before asking, "Does Heavy Rain qualify as a video game?"
  • Dragon Age 2. Is it a passable sequel to the acclaimed Dragon Age Origins, a dumbed down hack-and-slash that borrowed too much from the Mass Effect franchise or an Even Better Sequel that fixed many of Origins' problems? The world may never know.
  • Mentioning the name Oblivion in any way, shape, or form, will more often than not cause someone to kindly explain to you that everything after Morrowind is nothing short of repugnant, which causes even more people to describe every thing Oblivion does that Morrowind doesn't as nothing short of absolute justified perfection.
  • Modern Warfare and its ilk.
  • A war within the Nintendo fandom has brewed since 2010 due to the influence of Sean Malstrom. On one side stand the "Orthodox" Nintendo fans, who just enjoy the games for what they are and tend to like whatever Nintendo gives them, on the other are the Malstromites, who tend to like only the Nintendo games that adhere to the Blue Ocean strategy. Things get heated in that the Malstromites tend to view those Nintendo games that do not adhere to the strategy as being actively destructive for Nintendo, and thus begin to flame games like Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, or Metroid: Other M, or even call for the firing of Satoru Iwata, Yoshio Sakamoto, and Shigeru Miyamoto, much to the dismay of Orthodox fans.
  • Mass Effect 2 has become this ever since a series of reviews were made popular, both of which torn into the main plot, highlighting what they perceived as faults. BioWare's forum has been lit up with crusader-esque assaults from both sides while constructive criticism is lost in a slew of ranting. God help you should you even mention the predecessor. In fact, it might be considered a miracle if it isn't somehow bashed for no actual reason. Coincidently, the side missions of Mass Effect 2 are largely ignored and a source of calming, since everyone seems to love them. Yes, the fanbase is odd.
  • Battlefield vs. Call of Duty. 'Nough said.
  • Many a flame war has been started by Altair vs Ezio.
  • Many Ace Attorney fans debate as too whether Phoenix being disbarred was a good move or not. There are also many flame wars over Phoenix Vs Apollo debates...
  • Mass Effect 3's ending. 'Nuff said.
  • Try to discuss what playing to win means in a game and you'll see forums tear themselves apart trying to decide who is right.
  • Warcraft versus every other RTS games, especially if you are a Command & Conquer fan.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • The mere mention of the Furry Webcomic Jack is sufficient to earn a permanent ban on some forums. It is THAT controversial.
  • Similarly controversial is Dominic Deegan. Mention any of the following—Stonewater, Snowsong/Supergreg, Siegfried, Klo Tark, whether Luna is a Mary Sue (or indeed all of the characters), the art, the writing, Mookie himself—and there will be an explosion of unrivaled proportions. Needless to say the Fandom and Hatedom are both strongly developed and don't show any sign of backing down.


Web Original[edit | hide]

--REAL LIFE--
Church: Look, that's just the way I feel about it.
Sarge: Well I disagree, but I respect your opinion.
--INTERNET--
Church: You deserve to DIE! Die and go to Hell and burn!
Sarge: Oh, yeah!? Well, I hope you get raped! Twice! Maybe then you'll feel different! Jerk!

    • Also, to prep oneself for the internet, the hosts recommend "visiting your local middle-school chess club and passing out crystal meth and guns."
  • Homestar Runner: Say anything outside of the Strong Bad Emails and some people will burn you alive.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Simpsons. Anything about the Simpsons. For a good description of the usual flame wars over the Simpsons, see the Doctor Who entry above, combined with every single animation-related flamewar ever. And we're not even in the golden age of Simpsons flamewars anymore. The phrase "Worst Episode Ever" came from the most common fan reactions to every single Simpsons episode on old UseNet forums in the '90s. In fact, Simpsons flamewars and Fan Wank on UseNet were partially responsible for the rise of the internet.
  • Traditional animation vs CG. Some of the arguments in the Tangled forums before the movie was released made the title change controversy look forgivable.
  • Cartoon Network when it first started VS Cartoon Cartoons VS When Cartoon Network got its CN Logo VS New Cartoon Network. No exceptions.
  • The "TRUKK NOT MUNKY" mentioned in the page description above comes from just one of the incessant Transformers flame wars. Every single fandom can start a flame war between fans. Beast Wars and Beast Machines are the worst offenders (thus where the saying comes from), followed up by the 2007 movie. Are Optimus Prime's flames awesome or did Michael Bay rape your childhood? Then again, with people who tend to cry "Ruined FOREVER" at anything new, this should be expected.
    • Bringing up the question of female Transformers on IDW's boards is guaranteed to start five-layer Flame Wars.
  • Does Cars deserve its reputation as Pixar's weakest movie? An opinion's an opinion, but there really are a lot of people determined to hate this film and its sequel.
  • Cars 2 vs The Incredibles 2. That is all.
  • The less said about the Pixar vs Dreamworks debate the better.
  • The even less said about the Pixar vs Women debate the better.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic — you either love it without question, or see it as a gang of 40 year old neckbeards who need to stop fapping to ponies. And that's not even touching such deeply important topics such as Celestia's a bitch/a saint, the main cast are one heartbeat away from going totally insane, Applejack/Rarity/Rainbow Dash are/are not abusing their little sisters, Trix -- THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE is as powerful as Twilight Sparkle/Trixie is overrated, Equestria is Utopia/a tyrannical hellhole...
    • And then you have Cupcakes. Sweet Celestia. The storm of bile and venom this story can and has raised among Bronies is enough to make Nightmare Moon shudder.
    • There's also those who think the show is inane, unfunny, ridiculous, and migraine inducing. Watching them take on the "Pegasis" and "Brony" camps is fun. Make sure you have plenty of popcorn!
    • Casually bring up the show in a place that isn't brony-friendly, and 95% of the time the conversation/war will devolve into whether the show was originally intended for children or not, then devolve into ranting and fighting from the first few responses.
    • It gets even worse in the Furry Fandom, where the bronies often feel unfairly persecuted while the Hatedom is often genuinely afraid that MLP fans are a cult which will take over the fandom/the Net/the world. When bronies deliberately go around being as obnoxious, in-your-face, and persistently Fan Dumb as possible by insisting all must watch the show and how could you possibly not love it, while the haters go out of their way to preemptively attack the show and its fans (including with crass art and imagery) when most fans are perfectly harmless and not Fan Dumb at all yet get lumped in with them anyway thanks to the actions of a few...you know that there's just irreconcilable differences between the extremists of both sides. Suddenly the Golden Mean Fallacy, or at least neutrality, doesn't seem so illogical any more.
  • Although it seems to show up less, people will fight over whether or not Avatar: The Last Airbender qualifies as anime or not. (No, it does not matter that the creators said it wasn't.) And that's all we'll say about that.
  • Danny Phantom and its shipping wars. If you even just mention the characters Sam and Valerie in one sentence, you will inevitably unleash chaos in the form of 'x sucks and y belongs with Danny!'.

Other[edit | hide]

  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny debates produce fuel for flame wars without fail, particularly because fans of some popular pairings, such as Star Wars vs. Star Trek, treat them as Serious Business indeed (there are whole websites and online communities devoted to Wars vs. Trek, for example).
  • Parodied hilariously by College Humor in this video.
    • Which has, ironically, started flame wars in YouTube comments on "We Didn't Start the Fire" between College Humor viewers and Billy Joel fans.
  • Half the fun of visiting 4chan, where it tends to vary between "Flame War" and "Troll War".
  • A great, and relatively new one, is a the Digg.com vs Reddit.com war. As well as Reddit vs 9Gag
  • GameFAQs' "Adult Swim" Board has one major rule (above even the site's rules), saying ANYTHING about Tim and Eric is a declaration of war.
    • Similarly, go to the Tales of Symphonia board and make a topic about who Lloyd would be with (Lloyd x any character who appeared in the game).
  • The mere mention of a certain girl whose name refers to a three dimensional container with six sides warrants your being perma-banned from the internet, and the planet. This statement may have been enough...
    • ...IrmaVonCube?
    • ...Boxxy?
    • Cube?
  • Here's something that you might want to try out. Look for a forum (preferably showbiz-related) that has a fairly large Filipino membership. Create a thread titled "Kapamilya or Kapuso?" Talk about network ratings, and watch Armageddon unfold right before your eyes.
  • A little broad to fit anywhere else, but digital piracy as a whole. There's a reason the page pertaining to the issue has been locked out of real life examples.
  • Everything else. Even if it seems impossible to debate. Especially if it seems impossible to debate.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Talking shit. Literally. These are links to a Flame War about feces on Wikipedia.
  • Politics and religion. That is all.
  • The very existence of atheism has lead to huge flame wars over the Internet.
    • Also whether atheism qualifies as a religion or not. The very definition of Religion can spawn very long and repetitive cat fights
  • Bible Canon vs. Bible Fanon seems to have started a few flame wars. But you know, just a few. And a few actual wars. With actual flame.
  • There are a number of countries that have tried to wipe out religion altogether in favour of atheism. Just mentioning this fact is often enough to start a backdraft of truly epic proportions, despite it being historical fact.
    • The internet has never let history get in the way of a good backdraft.
    • It would be news indeed to most Irish historians, especially to those involved, to hear that there is actually a very heated debate on whether the long-running conflict in Ireland is due to vague and undisclosed 'religious differences' or the fact that England invaded them and subjugated most of the country and the locals want them out.
  • We do not mention Iraq.
    • The Middle East is a flame war hotbed. And, just like the Bible above, a hotbed for real wars.
  • We don't talk about any region of the world around people who either dwell in that region or people who don't like that region. The war can be easily restarted on the internet if you feel up to it.
  • Democrats vs. Republicans, in ALL forms of media.
  • Along the same lines, the TEA Party and Occupy Wall Street. You don't even have to mention them both at the same time, although the flame war will likely explode that much faster if you do.
  • The Su-27 "Flanker" fighter plane and its derivatives.
  • On some forums, discussing how tea should be prepared can lead to one of these. Heaven help you if you mention coffee being better than tea or vice versa.
  • 0.999... = 1. Just because there are multiple mathematical proofs for this equation—and the issue is patently moot—does not mean there are not people who will dredge the depths of Insane Troll Logic to argue about it.
  • Edit War in any wiki, no exception.
  • Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding.
  • Homeschooling. Just use the word in an educator forum, and see what happens.
  • Jews. Humanity is still that immature.
    • Why stop there? Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christianity... bring up religion online, and sooner or later people will start eating each other.
    • Anti-Semitism is more a kind of racial/ethnic hatred than a religious one, per se.
  • Cameras can cause all sorts of flame wars, especially since people can easily invest tens of thousands of dollars into their equipment. Popular ones include 35mm vs medium format, film vs digital, and Canon vs Nikon.
  • Sports, from the pros to the little leagues; ranging from which player is better, which team is better, or even which sport is better, and everything in between are common recurring flame wars. One example...
  • Association Football/Soccer vs American Football debates. You can expect a friendly debate as both sides employ eloquent and well-researched arguments to make their point. Especially if one calls their preferred version of the two 'The "Real" Football' or something similar.
  • Athletic training methods are very hotly debated. Try asking bodybuilders about whey vs. soy protein or whether yoga can be authentic when it's commercialized.
  • Did we mention Scientology vs. Anonymous?
  • Circumcised vs Uncut debates.
  • Penis size debates.
    • Come now, people, aren't all peni great?
  • Fox News - right and fair or batshit insane? The flames come roaring off of this one, even in relatively civil, mature forums.
  • AK-47 vs M-16. There are many YouTube vids with this particular discussion, and it goes from state your opinion to savage internet backdraft and immature stuff that comes right from 4chan.
  • Google for the original debate starting the Reformation (and so the Protestant church) in Europe. The rebuttals and counter-rebuttals are some very fine pieces of flaming. This is one of the cases where flaming indeed led to Holy War, continuing even today in some places. Also, it's sufficiently old to make this Older Than Steam.
  • The Nelly/Spellman college controversy. Rapper Nelly's sister for all intents and purposes was dying of cancer (she needed a marrow transplant).. So Nelly and his sister created the "Jes Us 4 Jackie" foundation campaign, An attempts to educate African-Americans and other minorities about the need for bone marrow transplants, and to register more donors. The battle began when rap star Nelly was scheduled to appear on the campus of Spelman College. The black women's college was teaming up with Nelly to increase awareness about the need for more African-American bone marrow donors. But as the date approached, a opposing group of students decided that the video, Tip Drill, was far too sexually explicit and demeaning, and didn't want Nelly on the campus (They deny this saying they just wanted to discuss the controversy in addition to the marrow drive). Nelly did not think "it was appropriate at all for students to use that as a forum" . Unfortunately Nelly's sister died not long after, leaving Nelly enraged and bitter. Feeling that he might have potentially lost out on finding that one person who could have been a donor. Some believed that the women had unfairly targeted Nelly to the detriment of a good cause. The debate still rages on till this day. Was Nelly wrong?, was spellman being short sighted?, or all of the above? The world may will never know.
  • Any group of people perceived as being politically incorrect; the epithets can still fly hard and fast when Germans are involved in a discussion if they express any opinion which isn't liberal. In the politically conservative corners of the Internet, anything that seems to be politically correct (or can be made to seem un-American / -insert-nationality-here) can cause similar reactions.
  • "Conservatism" versus "liberalism", the definitions of which are pretty fluid; those on different sides of the argument may well switch support for / opposition against certain issues midway through the discussion without noticing. This gets even more fun when "conservatism" and "liberalism" don't have definitions all the participants agree on. For example, in South Africa some degree of government-directed market/finance control ("to protect the free market") is seen as "conservative", whereas in America such policies are "liberal".
  • Chili: beans or no beans?
  • Trucks. You're only allowed to like Ford, Chevy or Dodge -- never more than one. And God help you if you prefer Toyota...
    • Unless your name is Jeremy Clarkson or James May. Then you can safely endorse the Toyota because you've already tried (and failed) to destroy one.
  • If you're eager for a metaphorical pole up the arse, just you dare debate if Michael Jackson really did touch children or not.
  • Possibly the mother of all flame wars originate from Eagle Land discussions. From Image Boards to Political Websites and everything else on the Internet, even just being an American is grounds to being an Acceptable Target.
  • Mentioning the use of cochlear implants on forums or YouTube videos tends to create flame wars about their usefulness and their ethical standing, especially among the deaf. In fact, the entirety of the whole concept of "Deaf culture" and its legitimacy and relevance can create huge flame wars between the hearing and hearing, the hearing and deaf, and the deaf and other deaf people.
  • Almost anything on a feminist site/blog can lead to this. Notorious subjects include whether or not to have children, whether or not transgendered people should be included in the movement, whether or not one should wear make up/shave your legs/do traditionally feminine things (this even has a trope, Real Women Never Wear Dresses), if you do the aforementioned things are you a feminist, and sometimes what to call feminism (womanism? feminism? egalitarianism?).
    • Whether or not the feminist movement ignores minority women.
  • Similarly, anything related to men's rights as fathers, men as domestic abuse victims, the Unfortunate Implications of The Unfair Sex Double Standard, the fact that you never hear about 'deadbeat moms', the lack of funding for men's health issues as compared to women's health issues, and so on. You'll be lucky to get out of the room before you catch fire from the radiant heat coming off the discussion.
  • Knitting: Natural fibers vs. synthetic fibers. Animal-based fibers vs. 'vegan'-friendly fibers.
  • Fat people: Compulsive, lazy, slobby people who just do nothing but eat, emotionally damaged people who use food to fill that void, or people who have a medical condition?
    • Also, mentioning you find overweight people attractive is bound to get you involved in a pretty heated debate.
    • Drawing Weight Gain (WG) AKA "Inflation" art (or writing fics) is bound to get one flamed for posting "fetish art"...Even if the fic/art in question isn't sexual in any way, shape, or form.
  • Wolves. There are countless rabid flame-wars of people either arguing that wolves are "beautiful" animals worthy of being protected at all costs, or that they are dangerous predators that should be exterminated. Likewise, there are people who believe wolves should be worshipped as "spirit animals" VS people who think wolves should be treated like any other animal.
    • Also, never mention you find wolves to be overrated.
  • Never, ever, ever bring up the earthquake in Japan (Or Japan at all, for that matter). Ever since the earthquake occured, there have been people trying to raise money for donations VS people who want you to "pray for Japan" VS people who want you to do both VS people who object to prayer in general and accuse the people in the previous group of being in the one before it VS people who accuse those of supporting Japan of being "Weeaboos who only care that their precious Anime will be gone" VS those who claim Japan deserved the earthquake VS people who compare it to the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti VS...You get the idea.
  • Massive flame wars are started over whether pit bulls are horrible, bloodthirsty, unstable monsters that should be exterminated or loyal kid-friendly dogs that are twisted by their owners. There is no middle ground. Ever.
    • Speaking of dogs, even something as non-chalant as the proper way to clean up dog poop is enough to start a flame war. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone.
  • Abortion.
  • NEVER read the comments on political youtube videos for this reason.
  • Proper fish care is bound to start flame wars ranging from the proper enclosure (IE: Goldfish bowl, tank, or pond?) to feeding to, well, everything else. Likewise, it's generally not a good idea to ask/tell where you got your fish (especially if it's a big-name pet chain).
  • There's a huge and ongoing flame war as to whether or not feeding a pet snake live food is humane. By that, we mean either it's cruel to feed a poor animal to a snake, that it's cruel to put a snake under stress by having it have to kill its food first, or that it's cruel to not let the snake eat live prey like it would in nature. Take your pick. Either way, someone is going to disagree with you.
  • Environmentalism.
  • Gay/Lesbian couples wanting to adopt. Even single mothers or fathers who want to adopt. Whether or not a child should be raised by both a mother and a father or other combinations of parents.
  • This Youtube video's comments is a reminder of why you should never let racists/prejudice kids onto the internet.

Notes

  1. Wait, is Stephen flipping us the bird?
  2. translation: this also brings us to the part about Linux vs. Windows - see above - in no time, via old good "Wait, you guys are paying to install what you know is malware?.." bait