What Does Flaming Mean?

Flaming is a hostile online interaction that involves insulting messages, or flames, between users. Flaming may occur in the context of Internet forums, chat rooms, Usenet groups, social networks and game lobbies, where there is a mix of people with differing ideologies from different cultures.


Flaming is also known as bashing.

Techopedia Explains Flaming

Flaming is fueled by the Web’s inherent lack of personal interaction and anonymity, which encourages hostility, and occurs during discussions about sensitive topics, such as religion, politics, philosophy, sexual orientation or anything that relates to subgroups and/or (seemingly) trivial differences.

There are many different theories about why flaming occurs, including deindividuation (mob mentality) and a general unawareness of the feelings of other people. Online conversations involve unique user motives and assumptions. Without social context, users are often unaware of the intentions of their counterparts.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.