The Rule of Diminishing Replies states:

In a FlameWar, make sure you spend less energy in your reply than in the original post. Make it shorter. -- AlexSchroeder [1]

Instead of asking:

"What has this got to do with that? This makes no sense... bla bla bla bla"

Just keep it short:

"I don't understand."

or better:


to the max:


Alternatively, use a StandardReply?:

"Thank you for your feedback, NAME - when I next review this topic I will be sure to take it into account."

If all participants follow this rule, then there will be a point when there is nothing left to write about. If only you follow this rule, then at least your flaming partner is wasting more of his precious time and energy than you are.

Obviously it might be better to not reply at all. Sometimes, however, it is hard to leave things as they are. Perhaps there is still a chance that the other party learns (probably not), or there is another audience (now or later) that will read the exchange, so you feel that leaving allegations unanswered is to your own detriment, or perhaps you just aren't wise enough to let bygones be bygones. It is a boring ExitStrategy, and an example of DissuadeInteraction.

Or perhaps you don't want to be perceived as putting up a WallOfSilence. At least if you give a minimal reply, you've acknowledged receipt of the message. "Thank you for your feedback" is always a better response to SnipingCriticism than no feedback at all. Even "ok - I'll respond in a bit - let me think" helps. Negotiation over how to respond helps here - eg "I'll respond by email", etc.

Every reply might serve as FlameBait in the eyes of your enemies. LimitTemptation, write less or IgnorePeople.

You can also let more and more time pass between replies. Sadly, sometimes you just forget to respond to a friend, and they think you're mad at them. (No. In case I've forgotten to reply to you, no. I'm not mad at you. Whoever you are.) -- LionKimbro


Define external redirect: StandardReply

EditNearLinks: LimitTemptation SnipingCriticism FlameWar


The same page elsewhere: