Flame On! The Many Faces of the Online Provocateur


We’ve all seen them: the incensed, insane, and/or simply irreverent posts that populate the message boards, comments sections, and forums of the virtual world. However, very few of us have tried to classify them. For the better part of a decade, illustrator Mike Reed has been doing just that, via his Flame Warriors project. The site is an ever-expanding compendium of the dozens of types of people who feel compelled to make themselves heard, often regardless of the topic of discussion. As long-running as the project is, it remains popular, as indicated by a continually active forum of its own. (How meta is that?) After the jump, our picks for the best of the Flame Warrior crew, and your chance to weigh in — in any guise you like.

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?”

Pithy Phrase is a walking compendium of famous quotations and wise adages. Of course, he will never add anything original to the discussion.”

ALLCAPS attempts to compensate for his limited rhetorical weaponry through the extravagant use of capitalized words.”

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.”