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Flame Wars 101: A Guide to Profiting from your Disagreeable Nature


Are you a misanthrope? Do you enjoy causing arguments for the sake of it?

Do you insist on playing devil’s advocate in every single situation, no matter how inappropriate?

Then you might just have a career ahead of you as a blogger.

Now, I’m no Andrew Bolt, but I do have a pretty good knack for creating controversy. And comments. And enemies. But hey, it’s normal to receive the occasional poison pen letter, right? (To be honest, it’s been my goal for some 10 years to have someone set up a Leela hate website … coming to you in 2010!)

Let’s face it. Most blogs are boring. In fact, most people’s content is boring (with the exception, of course, of Anthill — wherein every line is as fascinating as the one that proceeded it. Maybe more fascinating. No, as fascinating).

I’ve spent years as a writer trying to make business people with no imaginations seem more interesting than they really are — and I’ve done it really well. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve worked Simpsons and Fight Club quotes into content I’ve created for deathly boring MBA types (and then watched them take credit for it…).

So in the spirit of helping those of you who are really dull but aspire to write something that anyone will bother reading, I present my Top 10 Tips for manufacturing Flame Wars.


Top 10 Tips for manufacturing Flame Wars

  1. Always go for sacred cows. The sacreder the better.
  2. Attack Conventional Wisdom.
  3. When struggling for a topic, focus on something that at least 50 percent of the population will find downright offensive.
  4. Never give any ground — ever. Always hold your position.
  5. Look upon every response as an opportunity to keep the argument going.
  6. Get your friends to come in and back you up …
  7. … especially if it looks like things are slowing down and the conversation is going to come to an end before you hit 100 comments.
  8. It really helps if your friends are as disagreeable as you are. If not, make some new friends. The more agreeable ones will be pleased to see you go, anyway.
  9. Repost details of the argument everywhere you can … appropriate or otherwise.
  10. If things do get quiet, either begin a new flame war or post something idiotic but offensive to get them started again. I find “You’re clearly a bunch of morons who know nothing about anything” — or something to that effect — works very well.

Leela Cosgrove is Managing Director of Business Writers Anonymous, focused on sales, marketing and business development. She is also a firewalker, has a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do, a penchant for tattoos, and enjoys bands such as Rammstein, Li Bach, Marilyn Manson, Pennywise and Bad Religion.