What is a flame? A flame is an
e-mail that is sent to an author, webmaster, artist etc., that is NON-CONSTRUCTIVE
CRITICISM! Basically it is just pointless, petty, and mean.
It could be anything from "your ____ sucks!" to some that get a lot worse
(usually having something to do with content that the flamer finds offensive).
Flames hurt people's feelings and then they don't feel like writing/drawing/working
on their webpage anymore. Flames are the bane of the fanfic writer.
Have you ever seen the expression "C&C"? I bet you have. This is referring to comments and constructive criticism. You all know what comments are so I won't bother, but constructive criticism is criticism that tells WHY you didn't like it and/or suggests a change. It is not mean at all and most people appreciate it. I recieved some recently and I assure you I was not at all offended and actually I was grateful because the writer provided very useful insight about something I had not even considered. For example a C&C might be something like this:
"...Well I think you have a great one there but I just wondered why it's so
narrated. There isn't much communication. This isn't a flame, that was just a question as to why is all. Do you have anymore fanfic on the net because I would like to read more of your stories..."
Anyway, now that that's clear (I hope) let's get to the point. Flames are absolutely NOT ALLOWED here! I have been very fortunate so far; all of my readers are very considerate and polite. If any of my guest authors ever receives a flame mail, I would highly appreciate it if they would forward it to me, then promptly delete it from their hard drive and worry no more. In all my time surfing the web, I have only ever encountered ONE way to effectively stop flamers. If I ever recieve a flame, directly or indirectly, I will create a page specifically for this purpose; an arena, if you will. The flame will be posted publicly, along with the flamer's e-mail address and any other known info. Then I will proceed to laugh at it, encourage everyone else to laugh at it, and then I will write a scathing retort, send it to the flamer, post it publicly, and encourage everyone else to bombard the flamer with replies. I hope that I never have to create this Arena for Public Humiliation (although it really does sound fun, ne?) This kind of thing is particularly entertaining if the flame had to do with possibly offensive content that had a warning. That way, the flamer has just made themself look like a singular moron, and it's even easier to make fun of them!
I hope that after my rant, no one is scared to send C&C! That was absolutely not my intention, I swear! Just in case, here are some tips to help make sure that what you want to be constructive criticism isn't misconstrued as a flame:
1) Avoid the word "suck".
2) Avoid swear words.
3) Use words and phrases like "in my opinion" and "I thought".
4) Mention something you DID like.
5) It's always good to give a suggestion or two to fix what you didn't like about it.
Anyway, I hope that my flame policy is very clear now,
and I also hope to continue NOT recieving any of these dreaded e-mails.
If you have any questions, or you want some help making
your criticism more constructive, don't hesitate to e-mail