Sunday, December 23, 2007

Flame Warrior Archetypes: Part 1

Yesterday's blog began this discussion. Here's another installment.
See if any of these types remind you of anyone.

Here's a brief intro from this website:
If there was some way to win a Pulitzer Prize for online work, specifically sociology-satire-commentary-art, then illustrator extraordinaire Mike Reed and his Flame Warriors should win hands-down. In my opinion it is one of the finest pieces of journo-sociology ever posted on the Internet or published anywhere for that matter. I do not make this claim lightly. Reed has managed to accurately stereotype pretty much all of the participants in online discussion forums so well that it’s an eye-opener to read this material. I have probably been writing and participating in the online world as much as anyone since I began going online around 1979 with BBS systems and wrote some of the first online only commercial columns. This work by Reed is a definitive breakdown of it all! It is sheer genius. Each of the characters is aptly named: Bliss Ninny, Weenie, Artful Doger, Blowhard, and Evil Clown are a few examples.

Even the discussions on this site — which try to find variants of the main Flame Warrior archetypes — is also outstanding.

Anyone who ever posts a comment or gets involved in online debate should read through the 99 archetypes and see where you fit in. (YOU are in there!) I have excerpted a couple of my favorites below.
The rest are here. []


Android doesn't anger, nor does he engage in actual combat, rather he will merely point out the logical inconsistencies of other Warriors. Irony and sarcasm are completely lost on Android, and being impossible to insult or injure in any way, he is invulnerable to conventional attack. If, for example, someone were to call him a pinhead, he would get out a tape measure and after finding that his cranium falls within normal size specifications Android would dismiss the comment as erroneous. Android's circuits are not equipped to process ambiguous or aesthetic input, consequently any extensive discussion involving personal feelings, intuition, art and metaphorical allusions will quickly drive Android from the field of battle.

Big dog and Mee-too

Big Dog is a bully who doesn’t hesitate to use his superior strength to intimidate other combatants. Big Dog may be smart, articulate or just plain mean, but in any case he is a remorseless fighter, brutally ripping into even the weakest of combatants. Once Big Dog securely fastens his powerful jaws on a hapless victim, Me-Too will join the attack. Me-Too is far too weak and insecure to engage in single combat, and must ally himself with Big Dog or a pack of other Warriors to bring down his quarry.

Bliss Ninny

Bliss Ninny doesn’t understand why people just can’t get along. While it is entirely unintentional, Bliss Ninny’s utterly vacuous comments can drive the more pugnacious Warriors into a frenzy of aggression. Often in the heat of battle Bliss Ninny will discuss her cat.


Blowhard feels the need to present his credentials before entering the fray - even if they are irrelevant to the discussion. For example, in a movie forum conflict he might attempt to settle the matter by saying, “As a Ph. D. candidate in particle physics I believe I can say with some authority that the ‘Beavis and Butthead’ movie represents the emergence of a new cultural paradigm.” Huh?

Eagle Scout

Eagle Scout is a positive, constructive Warrior who endeavors to submit original articles which contain useful content and relevant information with supporting citations and links, thus initiating meaningful discussion threads. Eagle Scout regards the internet as an uplifting, egalitarian, worldwide arena for the exchange of ideas among intelligent, thinking individuals. He does not openly attack, but will (ever tactfully) chastise disruptive comments, gratuitous insults and cretinous insipidity. He is always kind and helpful to Newbie, and will shrug off even the most egregious insults. Eagle Scout is loathed with a poisonous intensity by Evil Clown, Jerk, L'Enfant Provocateur and Ego. CAUTION: Sometimes Imposter, Evil Clown or Troller will masquerade as Eagle Scout. There have also been reports of Eagle Scout becoming Jekyl and Hyde.

Ferrous Cranus

Ferrous Cranus is utterly impervious to reason, persuasion and new ideas, and when engaged in battle he will not yield an inch in his position regardless of its hopelessness. Though his thrusts are decisively repulsed, his arguments crushed in every detail and his defenses demolished beyond repair he will remount the same attack again and again with only the slightest variation in tactics. Sometimes out of pure frustration Philosopher will try to explain to him the failed logistics of his situation, or Therapist will attempt to penetrate the psychological origins of his obduracy, but, ever unfathomable, Ferrous Cranus cannot be moved.


Grenade isn't actually a Warrior, per se, but he is an ordnance so widely employed by combatants that no Flame Warriors guide would be complete without mentioning him. When lobbed into a discussion forum Grenade instantly reduces any semblance of reasonable discourse to smoking rubble and sets in motion the forces of war. Grenade can be loaded with different explosives depending on the forum, but some common detonating materials are Clinton, gun control, homosexuality, Reagan, abortion, taxes, conspiracy theory, the NEA, welfare reform, etc. When beleaguered and facing certain defeat a Warrior can deflect even the most determined attack by triggering a diversionary explosion. Grenade is a particularly destructive weapon when wielded by Evil Clown, Issues, Troglodyte and even Weenie, but almost any Warrior can use it to gain a temporary strategic advantage. Grenade is the preferred weapon of Troller and L'Enfant Provocateur. Eagle Scout has been known to throw himself upon Grenade to save the forum.


Jerk is sarcastic, mean, unforgiving and never misses an opportunity to make a cutting remark. Jerk’s repulsive personality quickly alienates other Warriors, and after some initial skirmishing he is usually ostracized. Still, Jerk is very happy to participate in electronic forums because in cyberspace he is free to be himself…without the risk of getting a real-time punch in the mouth


Picador does not personally do battle with any Warrior. Rather, like his bull fighting counterpart, he uses well placed barbs to goad his adversary into charging. While skillfully avoiding the appearance of being the provocateur, he carefully guides his enraged target towards certain injury or defeat at the hands of a stronger Warrior. Once the fight has been set in motion Picador will retire to a discrete distance, always ready prod his lance into sensitive areas should the action begin to flag. HINT: Alert Warriors can readily spot Picador because, though he seldom takes a stand on controversial issues, he always seems to be near the fray.


It was a peaceful and productive forum; lively, congenial and a bounteous source of useful information. Then one day, completely without warning, Godzilla arose from the depths and blew his scalding breath on everything in his path. A phalanx of Warriors mobilized to attack the monster, only to be crushed like so many toy tanks under Godzilla's mighty feet. Godzilla soon reduced the forum to searing and consuming flames. Just as abruptly, he rumbled back beneath the waves, leaving all to tremble in fear of his return. Net life would never be the same. Sadly, many netizens who survive a Godzilla attack will become Xenophobes.


Target is the guy everyone in a forum loves to hate. To some degree he brings this upon himself. For example, he may be a known cheater in a game forum, a conservative among liberals, a Windows guy among Mac enthusiasts, or even a man in a women's forum. Why Target places himself in such dicey situations is anyone's guess, but he seems genuinely oblivious to his precarious position. When Target inevitably runs afoul of a forum's prevailing attitudes the other Warriors unleash their collective fury upon him. His usual reaction is "Hey, what did I do?" or "Why do you all hate me?" Target usually gets the hint after a while and moves on. NOTE: Target often serves as a useful pressure valve for the forum's pent up hostilities. Therefore, if the current Target has been driven off or immobilized a new target will be quickly selected. CAUTION: Target is a favorite disguise of Troller and Evil Clown.