Flaming on YouTube

Moor, P. J., Heuvelman, A., & Verleur, R. (2010). Flaming on YouTube. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1536–1546.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.05.023

Open access: No

Notes: This article explores flaming on YouTube. Here, the authors note the problems in defining the term—as it has been used in various contexts and meanings. For them, flaming means “displaying hostility by insulting, swearing or using otherwise offensive language” (p. 1537). Overall, this discussion emphasizes the problems in defining and articulating discourses around violence and online harm. Moreover, the authors outline that flaming might occur due to deindividuation or miscommunication.

Quote: “Contrary to many other situations, the Internet is a safe place to hurt other people’s feelings because it is often anonymous and lacks immediate repercussions normally related to aggressive behaviour.” (p. 1538)

Abstract: In this explorative study, flaming on YouTube was studied using surveys of YouTube users. Flaming is defined as displaying hostility by insulting, swearing or using otherwise offensive language. Three general conclusions were drawn. First, although many users said that they themselves do not flame, flaming appears to be very common on YouTube. Second, views on flaming varied but were more often negative than positive. Some people refrain from uploading videos as a result of flaming, but most users do not think of flaming as a problem for themselves. Third, several explanations of flaming were found to be plausible, among which were perceived flaming norms and the reduced awareness of other people’s feelings. Although some YouTube users flame for entertainment, flaming is more often intended to express disagreement or as a response to a perceived offense by others.

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