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Flamebait is a message posted to a public Internet discussion group, such as a forum, newsgroup or mailing list, with the intent of provoking an angry response (a "flame") or argument over a topic the troll often has no real interest in.
The most popular motive is the desire for attention and for entertainment derived at the expense of others. Posted flamebait can provide the poster with a controlled trigger-and-response setting in which to anonymously engage in conflicts and indulge in aggressive behavior without facing the consequences that such behavior might bring in a face-to-face encounter. In other instances, flamebait may be used to reduce a forum's use by angering the forum users.
Resolving a flamebait
It is often hard to determine who is really responsible for the degradation of a reasonable discussion into a flamewar. Someone who posts a contrary opinion in a strongly focused discussion forum may be easily labeled a "baiter," "flamer," or "troll." Therefore, it seems especially important to make the rules and focus of a discussion forum public to avoid misconceptions about its accepted use.
Taking the bait or feeding the troll refers to someone who responds to the original message regardless of whether they are aware the original message was intended to provoke a response. Often when someone takes the bait, others will point out to them YHBT for "You have been trolled," or reply with "don't feed the trolls." Forum users will also frequently "rate" the troll as means of acknowledgment, with statements such as "0/10, the obvious troll is obvious," or "10/10, I raged."
- jargon file reference for Flamebait
- older flamebait reference on USENET, 1985 (via Google Groups) broken linkes:Flamebait