From the Flamers' Bible, by Joe Talmadge, written in 1987, posted to rec.humor.funny Way Back When, and reappearing in rec.humor.funny.reruns in August 1997.

Newsgroups: rec.humor.funny.reruns
Subject: The Flamers Bible
From: jat@hpsemc.UUCP (Joe Talmadge)
Keywords: original, chuckle, originally appeared in first quarter, 1988
Lines: 101

                           The FLAMERS BIBLE

Origin:  Unknown (actually, I wrote the first one a few months ago, but
I thought "origin:  unknown" looks cool)

Revision 1:  Dec.  2, 1987 by Joe Talmadge

In the time I have been posting to net, I have encountered flame wars
of epic proportions (Brahms Gang vs.  Tim Maroney), and flame wars of a
more modest nature (MIT vs.  CIT).  Flaming has evolved into a
highly-stylized art form, complete with unwritten rules and guidelines.

Here, I have attempted to document the Art of Flaming, in such a way as
it will be interesting to old hands (flame masters) and novices
(virgins) alike.  Without a further ado, then, I present:

The twelve commandments of flaming

  1.  Make things up about your opponent:  It's important to make your
      lies sound true.  Preface your argument with the word "clearly."
      "Clearly, Fred Flooney is a liar, and a dirtball to boot."

  2.  Be an armchair psychologist:  You're a smart person.  You've
      heard of Freud.  You took a psychology course in college.
      Clearly, you're qualified to psychoanalyze your opponent.  "Polly
      Purebread, by using the word 'zucchini' in her posting, shows she
      has a bad case of penis envy."

  3.  Cross-post your flames:  Everyone on the net is just waiting for
      the next literary masterpiece to leave your terminal.  From
      rec.arts.wobegon to alt.gourmand, they're all holding their
      breaths until your next flame.  Therefore, post everywhere.

  4.  Conspiracies abound:  If everyone's against you, the reason can't
      *possibly* be that you're a fuckhead.  There's obviously a
      conspiracy against you, and you will be doing the entire net a
      favor by exposing it.

  5.  Lawsuit threats:  This is the reverse of Rule #4 (sort of like
      the Yin & Yang of flaming).  Threatening a lawsuit is always
      considered to be in good form.  "By saying that I've posted to
      the wrong group, Bertha has libeled me, slandered me, and
      sodomized me.  See you in court, Bertha."

  6.  Force them to document their claims:  Even if Harry Hoinkus
      states outright that he likes tomato sauce on his pasta, you
      should demand documentation.  If Newsweek hasn't written an
      article on Harry's pasta preferences, then Harry's obviously

  7.  Use foreign phrases:  French is good, but Latin is the lingua
      franca of flaming.  You should use the words "ad hominem" at
      least three times per article.  Other favorite Latin phrases are
      "ad nauseum," "vini, vidi, vici," and "fetuccini alfredo."

  8.  Tell 'em how smart you are:  Why use intelligent arguments to
      convince them you're smart when all you have to do is tell them?
      State that you're a member of Mensa or Mega or Dorks of America.
      Tell them the scores you received on every exam since high
      school.  "I got an 800 on my SATs, LSATs, GREs, MCATs, and I can
      also spell the word 'premeiotic' ."

  9.  Accuse your opponent of censorship.  It is your right as an
      American citizen to post whatever the hell you want to the net
      (as guaranteed by the 37th Amendment, I think).  Anyone who tries
      to limit your cross-posting or move a flame war to email is
      either a communist, a fascist, or both.

 10.  Doubt their existence:  You've never actually seen your opponent,
      have you?  And since you're the center of the universe, you
      should have seen them by now, shouldn't you?  Therefore, THEY
      DON'T EXIST!  This is the beauty of flamers' logic.

 11.  Lie, cheat, steal, leave the toilet seat up.

 12.  When in doubt, insult:  If you forget the other 11 rules,
      remember this one.  At some point during your wonderful career as
      a flamer you will undoubtedly end up in a flame war with someone
      who is better than you.  This person will expose your lies, tear
      apart your arguments, make you look generally like a bozo.  At
      this point, there's only one thing to do:  insult the dirtbag!!!
      "Oh yeah?  Well, your mother does strange things with

The Golden Rule of Flaming

My flames will be witty, insulting, interesting, funny, caustic, or
sarcastic, but never, ever, will they be boring.

Here endeth the scriptures.

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