Have you ever visited an online discussion, only to recoil in horror after being viciously criticised or insulted by other visitors? The perpetrators of such attacks are known as Flamers, and an extended exchange of such messages, a Flame War. Mike Reed has put together a remarkably witty, insightful and beautifully illustrated taxonomy of Flame Warriors.
I've been a fan of his work and I've made this version because I find his website cumbersome to use, and bug-prone. Reed started the work in 2000, and periodically does changes. I've used the descriptions from the 2021 version of the website, along with the illustrations from 2002. Some of the illustrations have a surrounding beige cut-out. These are newer added Warriors and the cut-out is part of the design of his current website (and in my opinion looks bad).
Some years ago a minor spat ignited a searching flame war that threatened to consume a once placid discussion forum. While the forum burned I amused myself by caricaturing the chief antagonists. Confounded at seeing themselves this revealed, the combatants fled the field in disarray.
Over time the roster of online belligerents expanded and eventually congealed into the netizen's guide to Flame Warriors. My own bad internet behaviour would certainly have provided sufficient material to populate and extensive rogue's gallery, but suggestions and comments from astute observers continue to enrich the Flame Warriors collection.
Please report immediatelly any sightings of new Warrior variants.
Acne constantly whines about how, like... his life and everything really sucks and stuff. Usually a middle class teenager with an allowance, unlimited access to a computer and WAY too much time on his hands. Acne's vague existential arguments about the meaningless of life and emptiness of existence are culled from the lyrics of the 20 gigs of MP3s he has squirreled away on his hard drive.
Admin is the janitor, the cop, the mayor, the judge and sometimes even the forum doctor who tends to Warriors injured in battle - in other words, Nanny on steroids. Because he runs the forum and sets the rules Admin has the power to pull the plug on any Warrior who gets a little too frisky. Sometimes his efforts are appreciated, but like any authority figure he is also resented - especially by Jerk, Evil Clown, Enfant Provocateur, Ego, Rebel Without a Clue, Yuk Yuk, Troller, and other Warriors who would like to turn the forum into their personal playground. Most Admins are generally fair and even handed, but the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely is as true on the internet as it is anywhere else, and it is a rare Admin who can resist bringing the hammer down if seriously pressed by a determined foe. Sycophant and other suckups will also attach themselves to a strong Admin to form a defensive perimeter around him, and more often than not Admin's enemies will be driven off without him ever having to brandish his ax. CAUTION: Admin is the most powerful of all Warriors and drawing him into direct battle invites almost certain defeat. Rebel Leader does pose a limited threat to Admin's power by fomenting a revolt and causing forum members to jump ship.
ALLCAPS attempts to compensate for his limited rhetorical weaponry through the extravagant use of capitalized words - something netizens refer to as SHOUTING. Sure, a sprinkling of capitalized words can add some zip to a thrust, but they should be used sparingly. Even worse from a tactical point of view, too much shouting alerts other Warriors to the opponent's verbal WEAKNESS and emotional EXCITABILITY.
Android doesn't anger, nor does he engage in actual combat, rather he will merely point out the logical inconsistencies of other Warriors. Irony and sarcasm are completely lost on Android, and being impossible to insult or injure in any way, he is invulnerable to conventional attack. If, for example, someone were to call him a pinhead, he would get out a tape measure and after finding that his cranium falls within normal size specifications Android would dismiss the comment as erroneous. Android's circuits are not equipped to process ambiguous or aesthetic input, consequently any extensive discussion involving personal feelings, intuition, art and metaphorical allusions will quickly drive Android from the field of battle.
Archivist saves and squirrels away each and every discussion forum message. Do you remember having a bad day back in 1996 when in one of your messages you may have said a few things that were...well, perhaps a little...hasty? Don't worry, Archivist still has it and will post it to the forum if you begin to get the upper hand in battle. Archivist can be a very effective and fearsome Warrior.
Artful Dodger is a nimble and elusive Warrior. When strongly attacked he changes the subject with a diversionary counterattack. For example, if in a moment of pique his opponent refers to him to him as a "sonofabitch", Artful Dodger will not only demand a public apology for the insult to his own mother, but will castigate his opponent on behalf all mothers everywhere. Knowing full well that staying on topic works to his disadvantage, Artful Dodger will not allow himself to be pinned down.
Artiste has an unshakeable faith in his own artistic gifts, and is very pleased to share them with everyone else. Frequently his own insipid poetry will appear in his email signature, and at other times, and to no apparent purpose, he will be overcome with the urge to post a poem in the midst of battle. Artiste, in his need to demonstrate his aesthetic sensitivity and cultural sophistication, will reference obscure artists to drive his point home. He assumes that the mere mention of, say, Pollaiuolo (Italian,1431 –1498), will confirm the breadth of knowledge and thereby cow his opponent in battle. Actually, he is universally regarded as a pretentious blockhead. CAUTION: Artiste often has serious mental problems and, though easily defeated in battle, may be unpredictable in defeat as well as in victory.
Atheist is Deacon's cyber-doppelganger. Deacon and Atheist hold equally fervent, though diametrically opposed beliefs about religion, and both feel compelled to share those beliefs at every possible opportunity. Should an unsuspecting forum member make even a passing comment about faith or spirituality of any flavor, Atheist will descend like one of the Furies, mercilessly hectoring all of the ignorant and delusional believers about the sordid history of the church and the pernicious effects of religion on society. After a few of Atheist’s anti-religious jeremiads most other Warriors will avoid the subject altogether, though Evil Clown may egg him on a little, and Philosopher may amuse himself by pointing out flaws in his reasoning. If a forum has the misfortune of having both Deacon and Atheist as members, the bickering often continues until Nanny or Admin pulls the plug. Bliss Ninny can also sometimes squelch the conversation by saying, “Well, everyone has a right to their [sic] opinion.”
Big Cat would rather not fight...he enjoys peacefully observing forum conversations and laconically participates when the moods strikes. He playfully chases interesting threads, and from time to time uses a Newbie or Propeller Head as a convenient scratching post. He enjoys being stroked or petted, and tends to purr loudly. CAUTION: Don't be fooled by his fuzzy, playful exterior. When provoked, Big Cat reacts with lightning speed and almost always lands on his feet after an attack. Big Cat often indulges himself by toying with his victim before delivering his lethal blows.
Big Dog is a bully who doesn't hesitate to use his superior strength to intimidate other combatants. Big Dog may be smart, articulate or just plain mean, but in any case he is a remorseless fighter, brutally ripping into even the weakest of combatants. Once Big Dog securely fastens his powerful jaws on a hapless victim, Me-Too will join the attack. Me-Too is far too weak and insecure to engage in single combat, and must ally himself with Big Dog or a pack of other Warriors to bring down his quarry.
Bliss Ninny doesn't understand why people just can't get along. While it is entirely unintentional, Bliss Ninny's utterly vacuous comments can drive the more pugnacious Warriors into a frenzy of aggression. Often in the heat of battle Bliss Ninny will discuss her cat.
Blowhard feels the need to present his credentials before entering the fray - even if they are irrelevant to the discussion. For example, in a movie forum conflict he might attempt to settle the matter by saying, "As a Ph. D. candidate in particle physics I believe I can say with some authority that the 'Beavis and Butthead' movie represents the emergence of a new cultural paradigm." Huh?
Is it just you or does this guy seem to babble on and on without making any sense whatsoever? Does he lurch from one non sequitur to another? Are you baffled by his obscure metaphors? Are there so many typos you think that maybe he was typing while wearing a catcher's mit? Can he really MEAN what he just said? What in the hell is hey talking about, anyway? Is this guy smoking something? Well, yes...in fact he is, and lightly tethered in orbit high above the Earth. Bong remains far beyond the grasp of the even the most powerful of Warriors.
Capitalista is not always a wealthy fat cat; being a Capitalista is a state of mind rather than a reflection of affluence. A strident and extraordinarily self–satisfied Warrior, Capitalista takes every opportunity to extol the superiority of the free enterprise system and has a powerful aversion to the welfare states of Europe. Capitalista fiercely defends the market economy, bludgeoning “fuzzy-minded socialists” with Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. Though rather limited in his range of interests, Capitalista’s command of carefully selected historical facts, abstruse statistical comparisons and arcane economic theory make him a formidable foe.
Centurion tries to gain tactical advantage in battle by asserting that he is, or was at one time, in the military. He affects the brusque demeanor and clipped style of a drill sergeant, and intimidates opponents by sprinkling his messages with military verbiage and obscure acronyms. He reinforces weak arguments by constantly reminding other Warriors that he has “done his duty”, or “served his country”. Sometimes Centurion may even post pictures of military hardware or images of himself in fatigues brandishing a weapon. Centurion may actually have a military background, or he may just be a nut case - no one really knows. Centurion loathes and is loathed by Weenie, Artiste and Fragile Femme. His natural ally is Troglodyte.
For Coffee Klatch the discussion forum is a social gathering - like Mah Jong or Wednesday morning canasta club. Coffee Klatch prefers a friendly, chatty environment and almost always limits her participation to non-technical forums. Whether inadvertently or by design, Coffee Klatch prepares the battlefield in her favor by making it soggy with pleasant, but vapid messages - her favorite phrase often being, "thanks for sharing". This renders the battlefield rather slow going for swifter and more powerful Warriors. CAUTION: If war does break out she will shed her benign facade and attack mired Warriors without remorse.
A weak Warrior with few weapons at his disposal Compost flings expletives and vulgarities to keep his opponent at bay. This tactical maneuver can occasionally rout especially sensitive combatants, such as Innocence Abused, but it is generally ineffective against more powerful Warriors. Nanny has little stomach for Compost's ordure and will quickly ban him from the forum.
Although sometimes a male, Crybaby is usually a female, and often a close ally of Innocence Abused. When teased or attacked Crybaby will pitch a loud public temper tantrum, holding her breath and kicking her feet. If that defense fails she will run to Nanny for comfort.
Cyber Sister are an extremely fierce confederation of fighting females who act something like a shrill Greek chorus, echoing and amplifying one another's voice until their foes retreat in disarray. They are generally leaderless, but anyone who challenges one Cyber Sister can expect to be savagely attacked by the others. Only the most powerful and battle-hardened of Warriors is strong enough to weather a Cyber Sisters attack.
Be he a Baptist, Scientologist or Zoroastrian, in the heat of battle Deacon will call down Divine retribution on all net sinners, and will never miss an opportunity to blather endlessly about his religion. Deacon is fervent and earnest, but seldom contributes anything of interest or substance to the discussion. Occasionally Tireless Rebutter or Philosopher will rouse themselves engage Deacon in battle, but they soon lose interest because of his utter predictability.
Diplomat butts into hot disputes, presuming that the combatants will welcome and appreciate his even-handed and eminently reasonable mediation. Frankly, he gets what he deserves.
In a perpetual personal feud, Duelists generally don't menace anyone but each other, unless, of course, another Warrior foolishly gets between them. They may not even remember what started the fight, but not they cordially loathe one another and seize every to go at each other. When the other Warriors eventually weary of their endless kvetching the Duelists will be shouted down or Nanny will ban them. Even after getting the heave-ho from one forum, however, it is not unusual for them to seeking each other in other forums to renew their fight.
Eagle Scout is a positive, constructive Warrior who endeavors to submit original articles which contain useful content and relevant information with supporting citations and links, thus initiating meaningful discussion threads. Eagle Scout regards the internet as an uplifting, egalitarian, worldwide arena for the exchange of ideas among intelligent, thinking individuals. He does not openly attack, but will (ever tactfully) chastise disruptive comments, gratuitous insults and cretinous insipidity. He is always kind and helpful to Newbie, and will shrug off even the most egregious insults. Eagle Scout is loathed with a poisonous intensity by Evil Clown, Enfant Provocateur and Ego.
CAUTION: Sometimes Imposter, Evil Clown or Troller will masquerade as Eagle Scout. There have also been reports of Eagle Scout becoming Jekyl and Hyde.
For Ego, the discussion forum is all about him, and he regards discussions that stray from that topic as trivial dalliances. Although tolerant of an occasional shift in focus, Ego grows increasingly restive when the forum's attention shifts away from his interests, and he will often provoke conflict to reestablish himself as the subject at hand. Ego is one the the fiercest of all the Warriors and will fight to the death when attacked.
Enfant Provocateur likes to stir up trouble because...because, well...just because. This species of Flame Warrior is almost always young and male - it could be just a hormone thing.
Ennui only rouses himself from his torpor to cajole other Warriors to be more interesting - without, of course, ever contributing anything of interest himself. Ennui has limited weaponry at his disposal, but his majestic affectation of boredom provides an effective defense to attacks. When pressed in battle he will announce his intention of moving on to a more stimulating forum, but instead he will generally lurk quietly until the threat passes.
In bygone days Ents roamed an internet paradise of purposeful forums, but in recent times Ents have grown quiet. Indeed, Ents are so rarely heard from these days that netizens have begun to doubt that they ever existed. Being privy to the secrets of the ancients Ents are an extremely powerful Warriors, and are all the more so because of the veneration in which they are held. Warriors who chop and burn an Ent in battle will not earn glory, but will instead incite the enmity of the entire forum.
Ethnix is an extremely powerful Warrior who effectively wields his ethnic origins to undermine his opponents in battle. The accusation of racism immediately puts even the most powerful Warriors on the defensive, and Ethnix can use this weapon to deftly shift from defense to offense, keeping other Warriors off balance. Envious of Ethnix's power, Impostor will impersonate him when the opportunity arises. All Warriors are wary of Ethnix, but Weenie is particularly vulnerable to his power.
Evil Clown is very quick with a joke, but his jests always have a barb. He has little patience for in-depth discussions and will often disrupt exchanges between serious forum participants by introducing irrelevant topics, fatuous quips, and offhand comments. His greatest thrill is to taunt and humiliate weaker or more plodding Warriors with his snappy ripostes. Not a particularly powerful Warrior, Evil Clown will attempt to avoid defeat by accusing his attacker of having no sense of humor.
Though annoying and often disruptive, Fanboy is a relatively harmless Warrior because his interests and knowledge are strictly limited a single obsession. He's fixated on a particular video game, a celebrity, a television show, a sports team, – almost anything, really. Fanboy’s compulsion makes him very easy to identify, but it also arms him with supernatural tenacity. The most benign criticism of his beloved immediately provokes a cascade of virulent abuse. Once alerted to Fanboy's sensitivities Evil Clown, Troller and Jerk will goad himmercilessly. CAUTION: ANYONE can become a Fanboy, but the warning signs of an emerging Fanboy are subtle and easily overlooked. For example, are you a little hasty to defend Linux?
Ferrous Cranus is utterly impervious to reason, persuasion and new ideas, and when engaged in battle he will not yield an inch in his position regardless of its hopelessness. Though his thrusts are decisively repulsed, his arguments crushed in every detail and his defenses demolished beyond repair he will remount the same attack again and again with only the slightest variation in tactics. Sometimes out of pure frustration Philosopher will try to explain to him the failed logistics of his situation, or Therapist will attempt to penetrate the psychological origins of his obduracy, but, ever unfathomable, Ferrous Cranus cannot be moved.
Ferous Cranus replaced Stone Deaf but I'm keeping them both for posterity.
Like his Congressional namesake, Filibuster attempts to influence the forum simply by holding the floor. His monotonous hectoring and prodigious output of verbiage rapidly clears the field of other Warriors.
Fragile Femme is very needy and insecure and regards the discussion forum as her personal support group, and will lash out when her feelings are not "validated" by the others. Fragile Femme will often refer to the forum participants as her "family" and becomes distraught at disharmony of any kind. She regards a minor disagreement with her as devastating personal assaults and will often dissolve into hysteria when confronted. Her hyperactive sense of injury renders her fighting tactics fairly ineffective, but Innocence Abused, Cyber Sisters or Weenie will often spring to her defense.
Furious Typer’s combat strategy is to drown her adversary in a tsunami of angry verbiage. She is absolutely immune to subtlty and ignores all but the barest essentials of any argument. After breifly appraising the gist of her opponent’s counter attack she puts her head down and rapidly fires off long rambling messages replete with grammitical and factual errors. The typical Furious Typer lacks endurance, however, and if the other combatants can weather the initial assault she will quickly exhaust herself and retire from the field.
Garble is a mystery: Is he a foreigner with only tenuous grasp of English? Is he on drugs? Does he suffer a serious mental debility? Is he typing wearing boxing gloves? Garble's rampant typos, malapropisms and execrable grammar can't be blamed solely on poor typing skills. Garble is all the more puzzling because if one manages to hack his way through the tangled muddle of his messages a discernable idea will often emerge. For example, in a forum discussion about a painting he might say, "Sorry the picchr the har is wrog. The culir. I liike the lips bot teh Paintng is sucs". When someone refers to his random capitalization Garble might say something like, "oPS i HITTED THE CAPDLOCK". Garble drives Grammarian and Nitpick absolutely nuts, but he disdains all efforts at correction, and if complaints persist he will indignantly sign exit saying, "yuor forum si stupef. bYE!" HINT: Garble may be Net Rat.
In the beginning, before bandwidth, there was nothingness. Out of that endless void God and His heavenly host created...Arpanet, and it was good. But the scientific, military and computer angels Who dwelled in Arpanet were lonely, so They brought forth Browser, and the Web was born. It, too, was good and the children of the internet lived in peace and harmony and were fruitful and multiplied, but God warned His people not to eat of the forbidden fruit of commercialism. Alas, they disobeyed and soon barbarians drove the children of the internet out of Paradise. God, in His wrath, turned away from His people and condemned them to wander in the digital wilderness, but from time to time He will suddenly appear in mailing lists, chat rooms and discussion forums to remind us sinners that we could be saved if only we would hearken unto Him.
Forums often contain one or more unacknowledged sub-societies, but everyone except the most clueless know that these groups exist and constantly feel their influence. Such alliances congeal because of similarities in ideas and attitudes, or for the desire for power and influence within the forum. Since human beings are hierarchical creatures each of these these little mafias always have a Godfather who is surrounded by a cadre of loyal henchmen. Unlike Rebel Leader, Issues, Furious Typer and other noisy Warriors, Godfather only occasionally deigns to enter into discussions, but when he does everyone listens to him respectfully and his pronouncements have an air of finality. Though Godfather himself never engages in battle, it is commonly understood that his utterances should not be challenged, and when an unsuspecting Newbie or ambitious wannabe mounts a challenge to his authority Godfather’s henchmen viciously silence or drive away the attacker.
It was a peaceful and productive forum; lively, congenial and a bounteous source of useful information. Then one day, completely without warning, Godzilla arose from the depths and blew his scalding breath on everything in his path. A phalanx of Warriors mobilized to attack the monster, only to be crushed like so many toy tanks under Godzilla's mighty feet. Godzilla soon reduced the forum to searing and consuming flames. Just as abruptly, he rumbled back beneath the waves, leaving all to tremble in fear of his return. Net life would never be the same. Sadly, many netizens who survive a Godzilla attack will become Xenophobes.
Grammarian usually has little to contribute to a discussion and possesses few effective weapons. To compensate, he will point out minor errors in spelling and grammar. Because of Grammarian's obvious weakness most Warriors ignore him.
Grenade isn't actually a Warrior, per se, but it's an ordnance so widely employed that no Flame Warriors guide would be complete without mentioning it. When lobbed into a discussion forum Grenade instantly blasts civil discourse into smoking rubble. Grenade's explosive content can be adjusted to the forum's interests. Typical detonating materials can be Bill Clinton, George Bush, gun control, homosexuality, Reagan, abortion, taxes, conspiracy theory, the NEA, welfare reform, etc. When facing certain defeat a Warrior can stall even the most determined attack with a diversionary explosion. Grenade can bea particularly destructive weapon in the hands of Evil Clown, Issues, Troglodyte or even Weenie, but almost any Warrior can use it to gain a temporary strategic advantage. Eagle Scout has been known to throw himself upon Grenade to save the forum.
Grunter always reponds to discussion forum messages with a single word or a short phrase, and he NEVER edits quoted material. Profundus Maximus, Philosopher, Tireless Rebutter, and other verbose Warriors find Grunter a particularly exasperating opponent because he will answer their lengthy pontifications with a simple "Yeah!". "Get a life.", "Whatever", "I agree." "Wrong.", etc. While Grunter is not a strong Warrior, he is very elusive and difficult to engage in direct battle, and only by his extended silence is there any indication that he has been vanquished.
Howlers generally populate academic, technical or special interest forums. Newbies to such forums often wander in thinking they have found some devastating new argument or special insight on the forum topic on interest, but unless the forum has been recently formed an active discussion group will probably have heard and debated the argument at length. So instead of being welcomed into the bosom of the group the newcomer is forced to flee under a shower of invective.
The most common variants of Ideologue are conservative and liberal. Smug and self satisfied in their certitudes, Ideologue's opinions are merely a loose collection of intellectual conceits, and e is genuinely astonished, bewildered and and indignant that his views are not universally embraced as the Truth. He regards the opposing point of view as a form of cognitive dissonance whose only cure is relentless propagandizing and browbeating. The conservative iteration of Ideologue parades himself as a logical, clear thinker, while the liberal version trumpets his higher level of mental, spiritual and social awareness. Troglodyte is the natural ally of conservative Ideologue, and for liberal Ideologue it is Weenie. Ideologue is a fierce, but very predictable Warrior..
Impostor is a digital Proteus who changes his persona whenever it suits his purposes. That 21 year old co-ed from Arizona State you met in a discussion forum may, in fact, be a retired steel worker from Pittsburgh. Impostor will claim to be black, white, rich, poor, young, old, straight or gay, and if he's good he can pull it off - at least for a while. Of course, there are sinister, even criminal reasons Impostor would lie about who he is, but more often he fakes it to lend weight to his arguments, or simply to amuse himself. Impostor's requisite imagination and good writing skills can make him a formidable enemy, but even the best Impostors will eventually blunder and reveal their true identity. Once uncovered, Impostor always flees the field, but he may return in another form - you just never know...
Innocence Abused guards her purity jealously and cannot countenance crude language and gets the vapors over frank references to intimate bodily functions. This digital ingénue is a very weak Warrior, and is a favorite target of Enfant Provocateur, , Troller, and Evil Clown, but Innocence Abused can always count on other Warriors, such as Cyber Sisters, Weenie and Toxic Granny, to come to her defense.
Issues has an issue and she won't rest until it becomes your issue, too. Even when she's not talking about her issue it's clear she would rather be talking about her issue. Something of a secular evangelist, he religion, her raison d'etre, her abiding passion is....well, her issue. Not exclusive to any ideological orientation, her issue could be the environment, abortion rights, raw foods, breast feeding, whatever. Her obsession, however, provides the key to defeating her in battle; she can't tolerate indifference, so if her thrusts are simply ignored she will rage, accuse, condemn, plead and finally, go away.
As a forum participant Jekyll and Hyde always plays by the rules and is consistently cordial and helpful – a model netizen, until one day he comes completely uncorked and lashes out without warning. His unanticipated thunderbolts can temporarily rout even the sturdiest Warriors, and it often takes some time for his stunned opponents to mount a counter attack. Jekyll and Hyde’s sudden behavioral change may result from a psychotic episode, PMS, a downturn in the market, a surprise visit by the in-laws – or a session of hard drinking...
Jerk is sarcastic, mean, unforgiving and never misses an opportunity to make a cutting remark. Jerk's repulsive personality quickly alienates other Warriors, and after some initial skirmishing he is usually ostracized. Still, Jerk is very happy to participate in electronic forums because in cyberspace he is free to be himself...without the risk of getting a real-time punch in the mouth.
WARNING!!! YOU MUST READ THIS!!! Klaxon, the internet Chicken Little, raises the alarm for each and every paranoid conspiracy theory, Federal Big-Brother scheme, internet hoax, and latest computer virus. No black helicopter alert is so ludicrous, no urban legend so implausible, that he will not pass it along as accepted fact (in ALL CAPS with multiple exclamation marks). Congratulations, you are recipient 16,747 of today's Urban Myth. CAUTION: Evil Clown or even Klaxon himself may sometimes spread false alarms just to stir up trouble.
Though Kung-Fu Masters are powerful Warriors, they generally choose not to fight. Many lesser Warriors delude themselves into thinking that they are masters of war, but few are the genuine article. The true Kung-Fu Master fully appreciates his own superiority and is therefore unruffled by petty provocations. When forced to fight, however, he quickly crushes his opponent with devastating blows.
Mediocrity is Lamer's salient characteristic, yet the word "mediocre" seems inadequate to fully encompass the crushing dullness of his personality. Not one of his utterances demonstrates the faintest insight on any topic, no glimmer of wit or humor brightens his conversation, nor does stone ignorance of the subject at hand discourage him from sharing his views. He isn't even obnoxious enough to justify banning him from the forum. He's a very weak Warrior in the conventional sense, but not even the most stalwart opponent can withstand prolonged contact with this truly fearsome Warrior.
Lonely Guy doesn't get out much, and often his social isolation can drive him to do battle just for the human contact. Compassion dictates that we shouldn't get too upset with his antics. Nonetheless, Lonely Guy can be very fierce. Remember, he has nothing better to do than stew over real or imagined insults. CAUTION: If Lonely Guy is also a Propeller Head he may retaliate with email bombing, anonymous spamming, electronic stalking and other techie mischief.
Loopy's messages are incomprehensible to all but himself. Loopy is easily aroused and exuberant in battle and fearlessly flings himself at any Warrior - even Kung-Fu Master. Loopy's main weapons consist of a disarming array of nonsequiturs, tautologies, and bizarre metaphors, which can often gain him an advantage in the initial stages of an attack. Combatants very quickly realize, however, that Loopy is a certifiable nut case and generally avoid further engagement. and Evil Clown revel in egging Loopy on for their own amusement. CAUTION: Loopy cannot be defeated with conventional weapons - any response to his attacks will provoke a fusillade of incoherent messages, so Loopy is best left undisturbed.
Lurker does not participate in normal forum discourse, but he's out there...watching, reading every message. He is usually quite harmless, and more often than not his silence reflects a natural reticence rather than sinister motives. If a fight breaks out he will quietly observe to avoid revealing his position. Occasionally, however, some mysterious impulse drives him to de-lurk and attack. This totally unexpected assault is universally regarded as an ambush, and other Warriors will turn on him savagely. Lurker seldom sticks around to fight it out, however, and after a brief exchange, he once again slips out of sight.
Nanny tirelessly monitors forum discussions to make sure that everyone behaves. Though he is quick to admonish for off-topic messages and petty squabbling, he is generally slow to anger. Rather than wading into pitched battles, Nanny simply pulling the plug on combatants and bans repeat offenders.Weaker Warriors such as Innocence Abused, Weenie and Crybaby will run to Nanny for protection in the midst of battle.
Necormancer has a supernatural ability to bring long-dead forum discussion threads back to life. After having been flogged to death the thread may have been deceased for many years, and bringing it back may have scant relevance to the current topic, yet Necromancer will unexpectedly exhume the thread’s rotting corpse, and strike horror in the forum as its grotesque form lurches into the discussion. The monster, instantly recognized by all who knew it in life, seems at first to breathe and have a pulse, but, alas, it is beyond Necromancer’s skill to fully restore the thread’s original vitality. The hideous apparition may frighten away some of the weaker Warriors or Warriors badly wounded in former battles, but the thread is only a shadow of its former self and very quickly expires.
Unlike Archivist, Necromancer compulsively saves every forum message in carefully preserved archives for future use in battle, while Necromancer collects departed threads merely for the thrill of resurrecting them. Some say he performs this unnatural act out of malice, others say he can’t help himself, but no one really knows.
Netiquette Nazi is in control and does not tolerate back talk, especially from a sniveling worm like you. She demands the strictest adherence forum protocols and rules of engagement . If you deviate in the slightest you WILL be punished. Even Admin is careful not to attract her ire.
Not every young person on the internet is an Enfant Provocateur; sometimes they're just Net Rat. Net Rat spends countless hours in front of the computer and loves to play at being a grownup. Imagine your chagrin if in a love and romance forum you've been pouring out your anguish over a recent messy breakup with your boyfriend, or you have finally mustered the courage to talk about some particularly lurid desires that have been throbbing in your libido, or perhaps you thought you found a romantic soulmate on the internet only to discover that your hot cyber lover turns out to be in junior high. Even worse, in a serious discussion forum you may think you have succesfully faked a convincing understanding of Spinoza and later discover that the only person you have really managed to fool is still reading Harry Potter. Well, don't feel too bad about it - some Net Rats can be very convincing.
Unsteady in his knowledge of computers and cyberculture Newbie perambulates the internet, blithely stumbling his way into discussion forums. He seldom reads the FAQs and is utterly clueless about the basics of netiquette. When engaged in battle Newbie's usual tactical gambit is to feign helplessness, often going limp or crying when cornered. While Newbie doesn't seek conflict he will lash out comically when his feelings are hurt. Most Warriors will either ignore Newbie or treat him with mild disdain, but a few, such as and Evil Clown, take special pleasure in torturing him. Others, especially Propeller Head and Xenophobe, have a particular animus against Newbie and view his bumbling as an affront that must be punished.
Nitpick compensates for his limited fighting ability by pouncing on points that are only marginally relevant to the discussion. For example, if his opponent in a sports forum conflict casually mentioned the Cubs' 4-2 victory in the 1908 World Series, Nitpick would quickly counterattack with something like, "4-2 !? Any moron knows the Cubs won the Series 4-1! Someone so ignorant about baseball history can't possibly know anything about salary caps!" Even if the minor point is conceded by his opponent Nitpick will return to it whenever the battle turns against him. Though weak, Nitpick is very tenacious and will never admit defeat. Nitpick is a close ally of Artful Dodger.
Palooka will battle anyone, anytime, anywhere - he seems to love it, even though he always takes a beating. After a terrific pounding at the hands of, for example, Kung-Fu Master, he'll just struggle to his feet and wobble back into the ring. His astonishing ability to absorb punishment leads one to suspect that during his long Warrior career Palooka has taken a few too many punches. Often, as an act of mercy, Nanny will step in to stop the fight.
The tortured syntax of his messages immediately gives Patois away as a non-native speaker. Patois enters discussion forums with the best of intentions; he may want to get to know Americans, or practice his English, or exchange ideas about a particular subject. Predictably, his malaprops immediately draw fire from Evil Clown and - even Grammarian may weigh in. At first, Patois tries to parry the thrusts with inept banter, but as his tormenters turn up the heat Patois finally pops his cork. Forgetting what little English he knows he lashes out with sputtering ripostes such as, “ No, you must stopping now because you are a stupid.”, which only causes more piling on. When Eagle Scout, Weenie, an others spring to his defense Patois lavishes them with puppy-like gratitude and loyalty. CAUTION: Impersonating Patois is a favorite ruse of Imposter and Troller.
Wily and very secretive, Perv isn't actually a genuine Warrior in the strictest sense; he isn't interested in combat psychology, fighting tactics or even winning battles, and he couldn't care less about the subject under discussion - all he REALLY wants to know is what you are wearing.
Unlike Profundus Maximus, Philosopher can actually be quite knowledgeable on a variety of subjects. Somewhat humorless and aloof, he is also slow to anger, and when he deigns to join in the fray he is considerate of other opinions. His fighting tactics are direct and uncomplicated - he smothers the opposition with his ponderous and lengthy cogitations. Only the strongest and most patient Warriors can survive an extended battle with Philosopher.
Picador does not engage other Warriors in direct combat. Instead, he uses well placed barbs to goad his adversary into charging while skillfully avoiding the appearance of being the provocateur. He thus guides his enraged target towards certain injury or defeat at the hands of a stronger Warrior. Once the fight has been set in motion Picador will retire to a discrete distance, always ready prod his lance into sensitive areas should the action begin to flag. HINT: Alert Warriors can readily spot Picador because, though he seldom takes a stand on controversial issues, he always seems to be near the fray.
Pinko has an angry, almost genetic loathing for privilege, greed, social exploitation, racism, sexism, homophobia, pro-lifers, the religious right, environmental degradation, the NRA, US imperialism, multinational corporations, big business, Republicans in general and George Bush in particular. Pinko openly admires Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore and anyone else who is critical of the US government and bourgeois culture. She ardently believes there is no enormity of which the United States is incapable and regards its entire history as an unbroken legacy of avarice, deceit and injustice. Though Issues, Weenie, Fragile Femme and sometimes Ideologue will defend Pinko in battle, her extremely predictable and tedious attacks eventually exhaust even those inclined to support her.
Pithy Phrase is a walking compendium of famous quotations and wise adages. Of course, he will never add anything original to the discussion, but because most discussion forums communicate through email he can take his time to thumb through books of quotes and find les mots justes for every situation. Er...didn't Winston Churchill say, "It's a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."? Digital forums are a gift to the slow witted (I said that).
Profundus Maximus eagerly holds forth on all subjects, but his thin knowledge will not support a sustained assault and therefore his attacks quickly peter out. Profundus Maximus often uses big words, obscure terms and...ahem...even Latin to bluff his way through battle..
Propeller Head knows just about everything there is to know about computers and the internet, and is a little mystified that you don't. Often an inarticulate and clumsy fighter he is still much to be feared because with a few deft keystrokes he can reduce your computer to a smoking heap of ruined metal.
Rat prefers to attack with private messages rather than out in the open. CAUTION : If a Warrior starts to get the better of the fight he will suddenly post out of context excerpts of his opponent's messages to the list. When taken to task for betraying private correspondence he will insist that he did it because he was being harassed or that his adversary poses a threat to other, more vulnerable Warriors, such as Innocence Abused.
Rebel Leader has an uncanny ability to upset the settled order of a discussion forum. Other Warriors may be excellent in single combat, but Rebel Leader's charisma, political instincts and verbal skills enable him to rally collective assaults powerful enough to overthrow the Royals and silence Cyber Sisters. Rebel Leader may draw allies from almost any of the other Warrior classes, but he can usually count on Loopy in the early stages of the conflict, and Sycophant after the revolution is well underway. Once the revolution has succeeded, however, Rebel Leader quickly loses interest in the cause. As is the case with false King-Fu Masters, the bones of wannabe Rebel Leaders litter the battlefields.
Rebel Without a Clue's deep seated and infantile hostility to authority motivates his random and seemingly gratuitous attacks on list owners, Admins, Nannies or anyone else who attempts to maintain order and civility in discussion forums. Differing markedly from Rebel Leader, he is unattached to any cause other than petulance for its own sake, and will therefore seldom inspire general insurrection. In his frequent and ineffectual attacks on the established order he will often cite the Bible, or the US Constitution to support incoherent arguments. Rebel Without a Clue NEVER reads forum FAQs , and loudly decries as fascism any enforcement whatsoever of forum rules.
Rottweiler Puppy is clumsy, marginally articulate, unsteady in his often playful attacks, but anyone who cares to notice will see that one day he will be a fierce and powerful Big Dog. HINT: By showing some patience and kindness to Rottweiler Puppy in his formative stages prudent Warriors may gain a steadfast and formidable ally.
Whether through virtue, contributions, force of personality or sheer longevity certain forum participants will rise to form an aristocracy. While it is generally taboo to openly acknowledge the class distinctions, the hierarchy is well understood by all. While for the most part the Royals rule with magnanimity, they will not tolerate impertinence from the hoi polloi. It is their habit to remain aloof from petty squabbles among their subjects, but when full-scale war breaks out their intervention can be decisive.
Stealth prefers to go into battle disguised or heavily camouflaged, often using pseudonyms, anonymous mail servers and multiple email addresses. Operating from a position of anonymity he can launch vicious attacks with little fear of reprisals. Because of his cowardice Stealth is often dismissed by other Warriors as an unworthy adversary.
Stone Deaf is one of the few truly invincible Warriors because nothing can shatter his impenetrable armor of non recognition. His primitive battle strategy is maddening effective; he simply refuses to acknowledge any arguments he doesn't like. Kung-Fu Master can hammer away with devastating blows, Cyber Sisters can screech in full throat and Profundus Maximus can expound until he drops, but Stone Deaf remains utterly oblivious as he advances his dogged and often repetitious attacks. In the early stages of battle a wide array of Warriors will fling themselves at Stone Deaf, but inevitably they fall back exahusted or lose interest when they see that their best weapons have no effect. His only real enemy is Admin, who has the power to eject him from the discussion forum.
Stone Deaf was replaced by Ferous Cranus.
Strumpet finds sex talk completely irresistible and constantly forwards excruciatingly unfunny and lurid jokes to the discussion forum. She always manages to sprinkle conversations with references to private parts and will never let pass without comment any mention of the words "eat," "enter," "come," "rub," etc. She disregards the women and flirts with all the men, often bragging that she has a husband or boyfriend that expertly satisfies her putatively voracious sexual appetite, but forum members....er, participants...quickly conclude no husband or boyfriend exists. Should any Warrior challenge her directly Strumpet will disparage her attacker's sexual orientation and/or penis size. CAUTION: Strumpet may be a man.
A Swarm hive is almost impossible to detect. When a hapless victim stumbles on a forum that houses a Swarm and disturbs it with an offending message, the Swarm will erupt and fly at their victim from all directions. Taken one at a time the irrelevant, often mindless individual attacks can be easily brushed aside, but because of the sheer volume of the assault even the strongest Warriors must eventually yield. WARNING: Only those who are highly skilled in Swarm management techniques should attempt to wade into a Swarm hive. but even with protective clothing opposing Warriors should expect to suffer a few stings.
Sycophant differs from Me-Too in that he is much more concerned with sucking up than he is with actually doing battle. Of course, he WILL engage in some light combat to impress Big Dog and other stronger Warriors, but he never exposes himself to unnecessary danger. Although combatants sometimes employ Sycophant to buttress an attack, his constantly shifting loyalties make him a weak and unreliable ally.
Target is the guy everyone in a forum loves to hate. He brings this upon himself; he may be a known cheater in a game forum, a conservative among liberals, a Windows guy among Mac enthusiasts, or even a man in a women's forum. Why Target places himself in such dicey situations is anyone's guess, but he seems genuinely oblivious to the danger. When Warriors unleash their collective fury upon him his usual reaction is "Hey, what did I do?" or "Why do you all hate me?" Target eventually gets the hint after a while and moves on. NOTE: Target often serves as a useful pressure valve for the forum's pent up hostilities. Therefore, if the current Target has been driven off or immobilized a new target will be quickly selected. CAUTION: Target is a favorite disguise of Troller amd Evil Clown.
Therapist can be a highly annoying and therefore very effective Warrior. Instead of making a frontal attack, Therapist attempts to shift the focus of the conflict to the combatants' psychological motivations and problems. He will freely speculate about other Warriors' insecurities, personalities and relationships, but he will almost never directly engage the subject of the dispute. CAUTION: Evil Clown, Imposter and Troller often masquerade as Therapist.
Ill tempered and aggressive, Tiny Yapper is always right out at the end of his leash and barks furiously at the slightest provocation. Though his constant high pitched yips can be very annoying, his diminutive stature and limited strength pose no real threat to other Warriors.
For Tireless Rebutter there is no such thing as a trivial dispute. He regards all challenges as barbarians at the gates. His unflagging tenacity in making his points numbs and eventually wears down the opposition. Confident that his arguments are sound, Tireless Rebutter can't understand why he is universally loathed.
Warriors often underestimate Toxic Granny's fighting abilities. She can be very aggressive, and because of the deference paid to the elderly, not only does Toxic Granny easily attract allies to aid in her defense, but her foes are reluctant to employ their strongest weapons against her. Prudent Warriors avoid confrontations with Toxic Granny because there is ignominy in defeat and no glory
Troglodyte seems to have emerged from the mists of time untouched by human evolution. Devoid of a single progressive idea and lacking the slightest awareness of social and cultural advances, Troglodyte has developed an incoherent political philosophy that he characterizes as "conservative" or "libertarian", but which could be more accurately described as "bigoted narcissism". His aggressive posturing often frightens off weaker, more timid Warriors. In pitched battle, however, Troglodyte easily loses control and his attack quickly degenerates into a rant. Just for the fun of it, Weenie, Issues. Pinko and Evil Clown will sometimes deliberately goad him into a towering rage.
Troller is looking for a response...ANY response, and he will chum the waters with complaints, insults, compliments, and inflammatory tidbits hoping that someone...ANYONE, will take the bait. Generally quite harmless - practices a form of catch and release. Nonetheless, he can upset the delicate ecology of a discussion forum. Once a forum becomes aware of his presence, however, all feeding activity ceases and Troller must move on to more promising waters.
Typhoid Mary blunders across the internet spreading infection far and wide. Ignoring repeated warnings not to open attachments from unknown senders and unmoved by entreaties to run security patches and update virus definitions she is the unwitting vector for countless malicious hacks, Trojan horses and embedded viruses. Typhoid Mary believes that someone out there really DOES want her to have “Good Times", or “Win a Holiday”, or that a nice person is actually sending her “Penpal Greetings”. She is intensely loathed by Propeller Head, and is the frequent object of Admin’s homicidal fantasies.
Weenie is a very sensitive guy, and it angers and saddens him that everyone isn't just as sensitive as he. An admitted male feminist, Weenie is ever vigilant against anti-progressive attitudes. Though he seldom comes into personal contact with the working classes, he keenly feels the pain of their oppression nonetheless. Weenie's chief antagonists are Troglodyte, Evil Clown, Capitalista and sometimes Ideologue. Because of his natural petulance Weenie can easily be goaded into battle, but he is encumbered by a tendency to throw temper tantrums when severely pressed.
Whisper maintains a benign demeanor and carefully avoids open conflict. When aroused, however, she will send vigorous attacks to sympathetic forum participants via private email in an attempt to sway the tide of battle. A typical Whisper maneuver is to "accidentally" post an ambiguously critical, but ostensibly private message to the discussion forum, e.g., "Dear Mary - see what I mean about this guy?" Or, "John - did you read what Bill said? I rest my case!" When challenged she will protest (disingenuously) that she hit the "reply" key by mistake, that the message was never intended to be read by forum participants, that the message was out of context, etc. Whisper's intent is to gain a tactical advantage by leaving the impression that her side in the conflict is gathering heavy forces just over the horizon, and though transparently obvious to veteran Warriors, this feint can often blunt a successful attack by less experienced fighters.
Xenophobe is usually a long-term discussion forum participant and he thinks of the forum as his private compound. Xenophobe regards new forum arrivals as mentally deficient and perhaps even having criminal tendencies, and they are invariably approached with suspicion and condescension. Xenophobe will mount a furious attack if a Newbie has the temerity to make critical observations about the forum's social dynamics, or questions its prevailing opinions.
Apparently there is no joke too lame, too lurid or too inappropriate for Yuk Yuk, and he's absolutely determined to share with you every gobbet of stale drollery, every tired urban legend and every goofy web site on the internet. Yuk Yuk seldom contributes to any discussion, preferring instead to forward witticisms and bon mots culled from his voluminous archive. Of course, should other Warriors object to his off topic inanities they are accused of lacking a sense of humor.