There are a number of countries that have tried to wipe out religion altogether in favour of atheism. Just mentioning this fact is often enough to start a backdraft of truly epic proportions, despite it being historical fact.
The internet has never let history get in the way of a good backdraft.
It would be news indeed to most Irish historians, especially to those involved, to hear that there is actually a very heated debate on whether the long-running conflict in Ireland is due to vague and undisclosed 'religious differences' or the fact that England invaded them and subjugated most of the country and the locals want them out.
Richard III. Whatever you believe about him, a million passionate Ricardians or anti-Ricardians will fight you to the death over it. And God help you if you start citing Shakespeare.
Plus, there are subcategories within the two opposing factions. There are Ricardians who think the Shakespeare plays that portray Richard negatively are disgraceful, and those who accept that most of what he says is untrue, but still think they're great literature.
And if you don't think Richard killed the princes, of course, be prepared to get in a flame war over who did.
We do not mention Iraq.
The Middle East is a flame war hotbed. And, just like the Bible above, a hotbed for real wars.
In Europe, the Balkan Peninsula was often referred to as a "powder keg". For the same reasons. Things seemed to have mellowed out, though, fortunately...
WW II also.
We don't talk about any region of the world around people who either dwell in that region or people who don't like that region. The war can be easily restarted on the internet if you feel up to it.
Democrats vs. Republicans, in ALL forms of media.
This Flame War, along with the general disapproval of Congress has actually gotten to the point where a third group has emerged that attacks BOTH parties evenly, considering them to be Not So Different and in some extreme cases...well, let's leave it at that
Along the same lines, the TEA Party and Occupy Wall Street. You don't even have to mention them both at the same time, although the flame war will likely explode that much faster if you do.
Especially if you think they should "unite"
The Su-27 "Flanker" fighter plane and its derivatives.
On some forums, discussing how tea should be prepared can lead to one of these. Heaven help you if you mention coffee being better than tea or vice versa.
0.999... = 1. Just because there are multiple mathematical proofs for this equation—and the issue is patently moot—does not mean there are not people who will dredge the depths of Insane Troll Logic to argue about it.
Homeschooling. Just use the word in an educator forum, and see what happens.
Jews. Humanity is still that immature. Even more so if you claim to not be antisemitic but anti-Zionist. The fact that many genuinely anti-Semitic people claim to be anti-Zionist dosen't help and hurts the case of the latter.
Why stop there? Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christianity... bring up religion online, and sooner or later people will start eating each other.
Anti-Semitism is more a kind of racial/ethnic hatred than a religious one, per se.
Cameras can cause all sorts of flame wars, especially since people can easily invest tens of thousands of dollars into their equipment. Popular ones include 35mm vs medium format, film vs digital, and Canon vs Nikon.
Sports, from the pros to the little leagues; ranging from which player is better, which team is better, or even which sport is better, and everything in between are common recurring flame wars. One example...
Fox News - right and fair or batshit insane? The flames come roaring off of this one, even in relatively civil, mature forums.
AK-47 vs M-16. There are many YouTube vids with this particular discussion, and it goes right from state your opinion to savage internet backdraft and immature stuff that comes right from 4chan. Better bring a Bronezhilet.
Google for the original debate starting the Reformation (and so the Protestant church) in Europe. The rebuttals and counter-rebuttals are some very fine pieces of flaming. This is one of the cases where flaming indeed led to Holy War, continuing even today in some places. Also, it's sufficiently old to make this Older Than Steam.
The Nelly/Spellman college controversy. Rapper Nelly's sister for all intents and purposes was dying of cancer (she needed a marrow transplant).. So Nelly and his sister created the "Jes Us 4 Jackie" foundation campaign, An attempts to educate African-Americans and other minorities about the need for bone marrow transplants, and to register more donors. The battle began when rap star Nelly was scheduled to appear on the campus of Spelman College. The black women's college was teaming up with Nelly to increase awareness about the need for more African-American bone marrow donors. But as the date approached, a opposing group of students decided that the video, Tip Drill, was far too sexually explicit and demeaning, and didn't want Nelly on the campus (They deny this saying they just wanted to discuss the controversy in addition to the marrow drive). Nelly did not think "it was appropriate at all for students to use that as a forum" . Unfortunately Nelly's sister died not long after, leaving Nelly enraged and bitter. Feeling that he might have potentially lost out on finding that one person who could have been a donor. Some believed that the women had unfairly targeted Nelly to the detriment of a good cause. The debate still rages on till this day. Was Nelly wrong?, was spellman being short sighted?, or all of the above? The world may will never know.
Any group of people perceived as being politically incorrect; the epithets can still fly hard and fast when Germans are involved in a discussion if they express any opinion which isn't liberal. In the politically conservative corners of the Internet, anything that seems to be politically correct (or can be made to seem un-American / -insert-nationality-here) can cause similar reactions.
"Conservatism" versus "liberalism", the definitions of which are pretty fluid; those on different sides of the argument may well switch support for / opposition against certain issues midway through the discussion without noticing. This gets even more fun when "conservatism" and "liberalism" don't have definitions all the participants agree on. For example, in South Africa some degree of government-directed market/finance control ("to protect the free market") is seen as "conservative", whereas in America such policies are "liberal".
Chili: beans or no beans?
Trucks. You're only allowed to like Ford, Chevy or Dodge — never more than one. And God help you if you prefer Toyota...
Unless your name is Jeremy Clarkson or James May. Then you can safely endorse the Toyota because you've already tried (and failed) to destroy one.
If you're eager for a metaphorical pole up the arse, just you dare debate if Michael Jackson really did touch children or not.
Possibly the mother of all flame wars originate from Eagleland discussions. From Image Boards to Political Websites and everything else on the Internet, even just being an American is grounds to being an Acceptable Target.
Mentioning the use of cochlear implants on forums or YouTube videos tends to create flame wars about their usefulness and their ethical standing, especially among the deaf. In fact, the entirety of the whole concept of "Deaf culture" and its legitimacy and relevance can create huge flame wars between the hearing and hearing, the hearing and deaf, and the deaf and other deaf people.
Almost anything on a feminist site/blog can lead to this. Notorious subjects include whether or not to have children, whether or not transgendered people should be included in the movement, whether or not one should wear make up/shave your legs/do traditionally feminine things (this even has a trope, Real Women Never Wear Dresses), if you do the aforementioned things are you a feminist, and sometimes what to call feminism (womanism? feminism? egalitarianism? Misandry?).
Whether or not the feminist movement ignores minority women.
Whether or not the feminist movement actually practices any of its ideals.
Similarly, anything related to men's rights as fathers, men as domestic abuse victims, the Unfortunate Implications of The Unfair SexDouble Standard, the fact that you never hear about 'deadbeat moms', the lack of funding for men's health issues as compared to women's health issues, and so on. You'll be lucky to get out of the room before you catch fire from the radiant heat coming off the discussion. Especially if you bring it up or tie it into the topic at hand; expect to be called a "Redditor faggot" or something akin to it and possibly have jokes cracked about beating your wife/girlfriend. The problem is worsened by misogynists with oppression complexes who use it as a forum to spew their hatred towards women and drown out those with legitimate concerns while being obnoxiously loud and vocal to the point where everyone who engages in men's rights discussions, no matter how well-grounded they are, is automatically lumped in with the misogynists. As a result, having any sort of discussion about it is a perilous endeavor at the very best and can result in some very, very ugly behavior even by flame war standards.
Knitting: Natural fibers vs. synthetic fibers. Animal-based fibers vs. 'vegan'-friendly fibers.
Fat people: Compulsive, lazy, slobby people who just do nothing but eat, emotionally damaged people who use food to fill that void, or people who have a medical condition?
Also, mentioning you find overweight people attractive is bound to get you involved in a pretty heated debate.
Drawing Weight Gain (WG) AKA "Inflation" art (or writing fics) is bound to get one flamed for posting "fetish art"...Even if the fic/art in question isn't sexual in any way, shape, or form.
Wolves. There are countless rabid flame-wars of people either arguing that wolves are "beautiful" animals worthy of being protected at all costs, or that they are dangerous predators that should be exterminated. Likewise, there are people who believe wolves should be worshipped as "spirit animals" VS people who think wolves should be treated like any other animal.
Also, never mention you find wolves to be overrated.
Never, ever, everbring up the earthquake in Japan (Or Japan at all, for that matter). Ever since the earthquake occured, there have been people trying to raise money for donations VS people who want you to "pray for Japan" VS people who want you to do both VS people who object to prayer in general and accuse the people in the previous group of being in the one before it VS people who accuse those of supporting Japan of being "Weeaboos who only care that their precious Anime will be gone" VS those who claim Japan deserved the earthquake VS people who compare it to the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti VS...You get the idea.
Massive flame wars are started over whether pit bulls are horrible, bloodthirsty, unstable monsters that should be exterminated or loyal kid-friendly dogs that are twisted by their owners. There is no middle ground. Ever.
Speaking of dogs, even something as non-chalant as the proper way to clean up dog poop is enough to start a flame war. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone.
NEVER read the comments on political youtube videos for this reason.
There's a huge and ongoing flame war as to whether or not feeding a pet snake live food is humane. By that, we mean either it's cruel to feed a poor animal to a snake, that it's cruel to put a snake under stress by having it have to kill its food first, or that it's cruel to not let the snake eat live prey like it would in nature. Take your pick. Either way, someone is going to disagree with you.
Climate Change in particular has been described as a veritable minefield, and not just between deniers/skeptics and supporters. Rather, even among the supporters fierce debates rage on just how it's going to play out.
Gay/Lesbian couples wanting to adopt. Even single mothers or fathers who want to adopt. Whether or not a child should be raised by both a mother and a father or other combinations of parents.
Gay Marriage, unless you like playing catch with live hand grenades.
This Youtube video's comments is a reminder of why you should never let racists/prejudice kids onto the internet.
PC versus Mac. Unless you enjoy watching everyone break down into total flame spewing hatred against everyone else, it's probably a good idea not to bring up the two platforms in any context.
Even web browsers are not safe from this. As far as the internet is concerned, it's Internet Explorer VS Firefox VS Opera VS Safari VS Google Chrome VS [insert unheard of web browser here]. Did you ask people which browser is the best to use? You'll never get a straight answer as everyone tries to prove how their preferred browser is better than the rest.
Computer hardware is not immune to flame wars either, especially the Nvidia VS AMD crowds.
Homeless animals. Vicious pack hunters that have no place in the urban environment and should be exterminated by whatever means necessary vs. poor creatures, that have already suffered from uncaring humans and are now used by bloodthirsty monsters to sate their sadistic urges.
On boards concerning economics, pit an Austrian against a Keynesian. Watch the fur fly.
Gun control/banning. It's always been a heated topic that flares up following a public shooting. But then when a shooting occurred in Newtown, Conneticut... it's not so much "heated" as "blazing inferno." The fire's been hot enough to seriously provoke gun-control action for once.
Can you have an opinion tangentially related to it? Yes? Then, invariably, somewhere, there will have been a flame war on it. In short, everything.
Bullying in general. If you even say that the victim deserved it or initiated it, it would turn into chaos. Granted the person who says it is incorrect, but still....
Comparing North Korea vs South Korea. Some people would argue on which Korea is better, even if most of them aren't Koreans. On one hand you have a brutal Republic of Dictatorship of the North. On the other hand you have a progressive, yet slightly corrupt South.
Go ahead! Go to any website where Swedes are usually found. Mention two websites named "Avpixlat" or "Exponerat" (two sites known for exposing flaws in the immigration and integration politics in Sweden as well as leaking information about immigrants who are suspected of crimes.). I'm sure you'll have a great time reading all the profanity-filled comments that either A: defends them by stating that they are trying to improve the life's of both native Swedes and law-abiding immigrants by posting about events or crimes linked to unruly immigrants that Swedish media or left-wingers would otherwise not mention or outright lie about, or B: bashes these two sites by accusing them for being racist bigots who simply wants to shut out the immigrants out of Scandinavia (mostly Arabs/Muslims) by blowing things out of proportion or coming up with false facts in order to get the right-wingers more popularity.
The biggest points of Internet Backdraft here is whether America deserves credit for many of its accomplishments in history(ie: the Moon Landing), as well as its foreign policy. Is it justified in protecting democracy and American interests or is it a facade hiding the real desire to protect the interests of corporations, billionaires and special interest groups at the expense of everyone else? Another point of contention that can result in many a Flame War is America's support of dictators with poor human rights records in places like Saudi Arabia...is it unjustified hypocrisy? Or a form of Real Politik that can be used to protect American interests in the long run?
Likewise, anything about early American history may provoke flame wars——-especially if you go on sites with socialist bias or sites with a large amount of minority users, more specifically, the treatment of natives and slaves, as well as the celebration of Columbus Day. While most would condemn these actions and find them indefensible the debate is about wheather these acts could be explained by Values Dissonance and the fact that the early European colonizers did not "know better" or was there a "universal morality" that existed since the dawn of time that made these things unexplainable in any way.
Generally, say that Ayn Rand has some good points in her Objectivism to anyone outside of that group. Or for a change, go to an Objectivist forum and comment that Alan Greenspan is a staunch believer, and had been following the laws set out by it until he retired.
The debate over MSNBC isn't about whether or not it's liberally biased (most fans agree it is), but whether or not it's as biased as Fox News. Some think it's a false equivalency as they believe Fox is way more biased. Either way you shouldn't bring the topic up in polite company.
CNN is a weird hybrid of both Fox and MSNBC according to some of the network's detractors. It's been accused of having a liberal bias from conservatives, and a conservative bias from liberals. Some Take a Third Option and say they're biased towards the status quo, In fact all the networks not Fox News (who's accused of conservative bias) are usually called biased towards the status quo of popular opinion. Excluding the ones that claim they're liberally biased mind you.
CNN has also been accused of pseudo centrism out of fear of being called bias. So they split the difference by being ineffectual journalists. Backdraft comes from arguments regarding whether or not being centrists is actually good reporting.
Is Michael Moore the brilliant director who pursues the issues that are being ignored by the media, or is he a talentless one-man propaganda machine? Hell, anything vaguely related to Michael Moore. The only thing that might — might — not cause a fight is criticizing his push to have Fahrenheit 9/11 nominated for an Oscar. (It was ultimately shut out.). Initially, this was not as contentious, since Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine were critically acclaimed and went after Acceptable Targets. Post-Fahrenheit, however, Moore has become far more contentious a subject, due to his increasingly Anvilicious documenting and Author Tracts. A more mundane reason is that Moore is a lot more mainstream now compared to his low key indie days. Being mainstream generally = more detractors and defenders given how wider the audience is.
Abortion, gay marriage, and every flamebait wedge issue that any and every politician spout about in order to turn out their base for an election.
Within the Republican Party, there is much division on Ron Paul. On domestic issues, a lot of mainstream Republicans find much to agree with Ron Paul, and respect his uncompromising defense of the US Constitution. But on foreign policy issues....hoo boy, just mentioning his foreign policy views results in a Flame War that could burn down the Amazon rainforest!
Unsurprisingly, Ron Paul's foreign policy issues and defense of the constitution and of personal liberties have found more supporters on the left, especially with former democrats who are disillusioned with Obama. However, in this spectrum, his social views(ie: closing the Department of Education and ending the Civil Rights act) results in the aforementioned Flame War.
By extension, Libertarians. The right thinks they're Democrats but with more drugs and prostitutes, and the left thinks they're Republicans with more worship of corporate overlords. Mention you are one pretty much anywhere but a Libertarian forum and prepare to be beaten down by both sides who will accuse you of being a sociopath either way.
Anything having to do with Israel and the Palestinians. Better yet, be Jewish AND critical of Israel. You'll be more or less called a self-hating Jew.
And please, don't talk about the Holocaust. Especially on a site populated by Central/Eastern Europeans.
On the same note, it's often declared that you can't call anything other than the Jewish Holocaust a holocaust, even if it fits the definition and there is a distinction of capitalization. This goes for anything that may have been called such even before World War II. Saying something is remotely near the horror of the Jewish Holocaust will also have others jump on you and call you hateful names. You'll never live it down.
Case in point the decimation of Native American tribes, and American Slavery.
Accusing a politician, or anybody in general, of being a racist. Hoo boy.
Alternately, accuse a racist of being a racist. In the ensuing discussion, see how long it takes to fill out the Bingo card◊.
Also wait for some one to call YOU a racist when you point out perceived racism. Which causes a flame war within the flame war. Basically hijacking the topic, or diverting the topic to avoid the discussion.
Any political ideology which has been subjected to divergent approaches and/or applications. Examples include communism, socialism (which is a very popular word these days), anarchism and so on.
Whether or not The War on Drugs is a Hopeless War, racially biased (this is the REAL powder keg), or even a just cause.
People playing The Race Card. And the term it self as far as how people use it as a sort of "equalizer" against people who claims racism.
Is bringing up race issues a great way to have a open dialog on race? Or are said people "race baiting"?
Whether or not desegregation ended up being actually bad for black cities and neighborhoods in hindsight. Some think it was a double edged sword.
Are we in a "post racial" society because of Obama's presidency, Or is that some liberal fantasy that naive people desperately wants to believe in so they can avoid confronting racial issues? Or is it a conservative fantasy which is cover for junking all political correctness and giving everyone N-Word Privileges because a black man is president?
Professional women and working mothers vs. Stay at home moms/homemakers. The latter sees the former as a bunch of self centered, judgmental, elitists. The former see the latter as a bunch of lazy, uneducated gold diggers who have no real ambition and set feminism back due to their acceptance of society's misogynistic gender roles. On the surface this does seem like conservatism and liberalism at war again. But both sides can actually fall on either side of the ideological spectrum, so it definitely goes much deeper than socio-politics. The problem here seems to be that some women genuinely believe that a woman's job is family rearing. (in the literal sense of having a family instead of a career), despite how politically incorrect that is. While Professional women...don't. This caused many a flame war on feminist type message boards.
The problem is that when some women got the taste of having a career they liked it, and found it more fulfilling then domestic life. While other women preferred domestic life. The backdraft itself comes from each side trying to prove that one of these decisions is the supreme ultimate goal of women. For whatever reason it can never be both.
A microcosm of this is whether or not there's truly a glass ceiling anymore, and whether or not the lack of women in high positions and high paying jobs has more to do with lack of interest among women.
There's also a double standard regarding stay at home fathers, this tends to be perpetuated by both genders. Is it ok for a man to be a stay at home parent or not?
Do people (specifically minorities, especially blacks) who exclusively date out side their race just have a "preference"? Or perhaps people who just date what ever race is of convenience due to their job, and or environment not having any significant amount of men/women of the same race? Or are they just a Boomerang Bigot whom are just making up excuses as to why they don't date their own race?
Alternatively is there a Double Standard when it comes to black men who date outside their race? Which is to say it is seen in a negative light. As oppose to black women who date out side their race? Either answer you give will melt your face off. The Blame Game around I.R. dating in the black community can get rather disgusting. To wit:
A microcosm of this is the debates over who dates whites the most (or any none black people), black men or black women?
Do MOST well off black men date white women?, or is people cherry picking examples?
The reason some black women give for overlooking BW/WM couples is because as hetero women they're naturally more concerned about the loss of potential black male partners to white women, more so than the loss of black women to white men. But is this a valid reason?, Or a waaay too convenient cop out?
Then there's the debate over whether or not black women are "whining" about it too much vs the "STOP TRYING TO TELL BLACK WOMEN TO SHUT UP ABOUT THIS!!" crowd.
Black men give sexist, racist, reasoning for not wanting to date black women vs "BUT BLACK WOMEN DO THE SAME!!!" debates.
Is it ok for blacks and browns to mix?, or is that no different then dating a white person?
Then there's debates on whom has a monopoly on suffering in the black community men or women? Some Take a Third Option and say this argument is like 2 one legged athletes complaining about how harder they have it then the other person in a ass kicking contest.
The same can be said for White people with a strong preference for another race - whether they truly just find certain features attractive or if it's based on ethnic stereotypes. People generally don't like when you suggest their personal preferences in romance/sex are based on some sort of -ism....or fetish.
Trying to place any specified culture, or people of a specified skin color, on a single part of the political spectrum. A huge chunk of southern black voters have been called DINO's by others, including by other blacks, as many of the former have conservative Christian social views which the latter believe are more in line with the GOP. Some claim that these voters have come out in droves to vote against gay marriage, and that doing so involves undermining issues concerning African Americans by proxy when they vote republican (particularly in 04). This issue can be a HUGE inferno if brought up in the right places.
Then there's the issue of homosexuals, and homophobia which the black community generally don't like to talk about openly.
This polarization within the black community reared it's ugly head the moment Obama came out in support of same sex marriage. The mushroom cloud could be seen from sub-orbit.
By extension some female and minority groups (and even some white people) cant comprehend that there are females and minorities who will vote with their political/Moral beliefs in mind, over issues specifically related to their Gender/Race. But of course vise versa as well. This can cause nuclear fall out when discussed. Mostly people arguing over whether or not issues regarding their gender/race/and sexual orientation are more important then voting for "moral values" or any other conservative agenda. Which is why some have considered themselves to be "closeted" republicans/social-conservatives, and refuse to give their true political beliefs. Almost like a version of Beneath the Mask of sorts.
Doubly so if the person is a minority, female, and or homosexual dem/liberal who is voting conservative solely because of a Single Issue Wonk.
Whether or not the legal/justice system is just, fair and or unbiased. This especially gets volatile when class, gender, age, and race is brought up. People think if you don't have money for good defense you're basically screwed (especially if your a poor minority), If your a female people tend to think you'll just get a slap on the wrist (unless it's one of those equally controversial lengthy drug sentences). There's tons of Flame Bait arguments for and against these debates.
For fun, mention the phrase "activist judge(s)" and watch the fireworks.
Whether or not the news media can be effective while being objective, Or is objectivity a Golden Mean Fallacy that benefits no one?
Speaking of politics in the black community: There's also contention within the black community over whether or not Obama is shortchanging blacks because he knows they're gonna vote for him anyway.
In general there's also polarization on whether or not he's compromising too much. And whether or not he's more of a moderate than a real liberal. Or is he just weak, and afraid to look like he's not being bi-partisan?
This is also polarizing among his black voting base as well. With some black Hillary Clinton supporters and black independents saying "I Told You So" to the black dissenters. And others whom are still loyal to Obama no matter what vs the ones whom are starting to be vocal against him because of the aforementioned reasons. This can get REAL nasty on and off the internet. Even among black journalists/political analysts etc it gets dicey. A jarring example would be the backlash from some blacks against Cornell West. A guy that was at one point very respected in the black community, now he's a polarizing figure because of his critique of Obama.
Is it racist to be a progressive critic of Obama who happens to be white?
This is incredibly ironic cause as it's been already pointed out Clinton supporters think Obama's too liberal. Just don't go to a liberal message board and say that to disgruntled Obama supporters.
It gets really darkly cynical when some suggest that Obama's race has actually hindered him from being a effective leader because he's scared of the Scary Black Man image.
Likewise, The Tea Party for the same reasons as the Occupy Movement. The backlash generated to both of these groups has lead to some people(mostly Ron Paul supporters) claiming that both groups should unite against a common, shared enemy(big government and corporations). However, the "unification" argument is another heated point of debate on it's own....
If you assert that it is fundamentally racist because Obama is less strongly Liberal than Clinton but Bill Clinton didn't get called a Socialist, then you obviously don't understand how things really are. But if you assert that the Tea Party is not racist because its membership really is fed up with a government and a Republican Party which seems to take them for granted and never pursue things that they'd lie to see done, then you're a lying apologist.
The Tea Party. Is it a bunch of racists who are angry that a black man is President, or do they have legitimate grievances? Nothing like them happened last time a Democrat was president, and Clinton pursued and enacted more staunch Liberal policies than Obama, yet he didn't get called Socialist, Muslim, or have news networks and political movements dedicated to defeating him.
Bring up how the average Tea Party member is older, white, better educated, and wealthier than the average American and then call them out on being a bunch of bigots who are more upset over race than having any legitimate political grievance.
Gentrification.. is also a very contentious debate.
Whether or not the Democrats is a true liberal party, Or are they Republican-Lite.
And by extension has the Republican party moved too far to the right. Even among Republican this ls polarizing. Interestingly enough some think the repubs purged the party of moderates. Whom are now in the ranks of the dems moving the party to the center right. Much to the chagrin of progressive/liberal dems.
Racial identity (and the one drop rule) can cause this within ethnic groups, particularly African Americans. For example when people say they're one quarter this, and two thirds that (and the whole ''I got Indian in my family'' cliche, are they being genuine? or are they just trying to separate themselves from other black people due to social reasons like racism, and trying to be more acceptable to the white mainstream? This tend to overlap with colourism (essentially a black caste system), and classicism. Very very deep wounds left over from darker times in America.