Some poor, innocent, hapless newbie wanders into a forum and wonders aloud if that guy in that show should be with that girl in that show. The forum erupts into flames, igniting all the boards that deal with the show, which ignites whole sections of the Internet into a blazing Inferno.
The innocent newbie has opened the door, causing an Internet Backdraft.
It works like this: Controversial Event X occurs, resulting in flame wars, including ones spanning multiple forums. Internet vigilantes occur who muck up the issue even more into a morass of rumors. Eventually it gets to the point where people are so sick of flame wars about Event X, that this in turn causes flame wars conducted by those who want it to just die. Which it eventually does, sort of, in a smoldering-ember sort of way. Then some n00b gives it enough oxygen to make it flare up all over again.
This is also known as "Holy Wars". Trolls and Fan Dumb are drawn to to them like flies to a carcass. Mike Reed's Flame Warriors refers to this, when the metaphorical "door" is opened on purpose, as a Grenade. It is also why we have the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment, and one of the most frequent reasons for a trope page specifying No Real Life Examples, Please!. Some tropes and/or audience reactions are themselves this - which is why they are listed as Flame Bait.
The single item in common for these is that people outside the involved communities are astounded that anyone could care enough about the issue to get in any kind of argument about it at all, much less a big argument.
It sometimes leads to people saying "Pass the Popcorn."
Not to be confused with Internet Counterattack - That's when the internet acts as one to make someone in real life pay.
See also, Flame War, which is a common terminology for this, Flame Bait, a normal cause for this, and G.I.F.T.. See also this video from CollegeHumor, which sets the whole concept of this to a Billy Joel song.
No examples, please. This just defines the term. Everything can cause this to an extent, whether it's on the Internet or not. Besides, having an examples section for this is just asking for vandalism. Applicable examples may fit one of the following tropes instead:
- 8.8: People get mad because they think a critic gave a work too low or too high of a review score.
- Americans Hate Tingle: A hated character seems to be more excused on his homeland for some reason.
- Angst Aversion: Audiences are disinterested in a work because it's too dark or depressing.
- Ass Pull: Fans don't like a plot twist or plot development that wasn't properly foreshadowed.
- Audience-Alienating Premise: A work's premise turns away enough buyers to cause the work to become a commercial failure, regardless of the work's quality.
- Base-Breaking Character: Two sides (sometimes more) get into an incredibly heated argument over a character.
- Broken Base: Two sides (sometimes more) get into an incredibly heated argument over an event or aspect in a work.
- Canon Defilement: A fan work upsets the source work's fanbase by deviating too much from the tone, content or characterization of the source work.
- Character Derailment: Fans get angry when a character changes characterization with no reason or explanation shown or given. Only place examples on-page or in the appropriate subpage.
- Character Shilling: When the Author talks about a character's traits rather than showing them, the audience will generally not take him at his word.
- The Chris Carter Effect: The audience loses interest in a work because its plot points haven't been resolved for too long.
- Christmas Rushed: Production of the work was forced to finish faster so that the final product could be released in time for the holidays.
- Contested Sequel: Some fans like a sequel, some don't.
- Creator's Pet: The audience doesn't like a character that is loved by the creator, put in big scenes for no good reason, and is talked up by the other characters.
- Critical Backlash: Criticism of a widely panned work receives a significant amount of backlash from people who don't think it's as bad as critics and other detractors say it is.
- Critical Dissonance: Audiences disagree with critics over the quality of a work.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The audience stops caring about how the story ends because it's too dark and depressing.
- Deader Than Disco: A work used to be very popular, but, due to a huge amount of retroactive backlash, it is now almost universally despised.
- Designated Hero: An unlikeable character is really going to be hated if the story expects the audience to cheer for them just because they're The Hero.
- Die for Our Ship: A canonically-existing character is demonized in or written out of fanon in order to make way for the fans' preferred pairings.
- Don't Shoot the Message: The creators attempt to communicate a noble message in their work, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
- Dork Age: Fans consider installments of a series or franchise released during a certain period to be inferior to those that came before and after it.
- Eight Deadly Words: The characters in a work are written poorly enough that the audience doesn't care about what happens to the characters.
- Ending Aversion: The audience is upset at how the work's ending is executed.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: An ending wants to present itself as a happy ending, but it rubs the audience off the wrong way.
- Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Make this mistake as a casual viewer, and suffer the wrath of the fandom.
- Fandom Heresy: State an opinion that goes against what the majority of the fandom thinks, and incur the fandom's wrath. No On-Page Examples.
- Fandom Rivalry: Two different fandoms hate each other, and may attack each other online.
- Fan Dumb: Loud, obnoxious fans. No examples, please.
- Fanon Discontinuity: The fandom disapproves of an installment in a franchise enough that fans pretend that it's not canon.
- Glurge: A work that was supposed to be emotional or inspiring ends up rubbing the audience the wrong way due to the way it was handled.
- Hate Dumb: Loud, obnoxious haters. No examples, please.
- He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: Fans get angry at a critic for giving a work they like a negative review.
- Hype Backlash: An acclaimed work receives a significant amount of backlash from people who don't think it's as good as critics and fans say it is.
- It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Audiences feel a sequel is too similar to a previous entry in the series or don't like how an aspect was kept the same.
- Macekre: A strongly held opinion that a cut and paste translation of an anime is a mockery of the original work. No examples, please.
- No Export for You: A work is not officially released or localized in a certain region, which often leads to backlash.
- No Port For You: Backlash occurs when a video game is made exclusive to a certain platform or a work in a different medium is made exclusive to a certain form of distribution.
- Obvious Beta: A game is very buggy or without technical polish, to the point that it significantly detracts from the overall experience.
- Overshadowed by Controversy: Controversy, often related to a work's production, overshadows the work itself.
- Porting Disaster: Fans complain of a drop of quality when a video game is ported to another system.
- Role-Ending Misdemeanor: A creator is dropped from a work due to their real-life actions. Often hotly debated among fans.
- Scapegoat Creator: The creator gets unfairly blamed for taking the story in an unpopular direction. Cue lots of hate mail from angry fans.
- The Scrappy: The audience doesn't like a certain character.
- Damsel Scrappy: The Distressed Damsel is more trouble than she's worth, making the audience wonder why the other characters keep rescuing her.
- Ethnic Scrappy: The audience doesn't like a character based on racist stereotypes.
- Replacement Scrappy: The audience doesn't like the replacement of a character.
- Tier-Induced Scrappy: The gamers complain about a character that is disproportionately powerful, or that is too weak, or both.
- Seasonal Rot: Fans consider some of the later seasons to be lacking as more of them are produced.
- Sequelitis: Fans consider later installments of the franchise to become more inferior as more are produced.
- Ship-to-Ship Combat: Supporters of different pairings of characters within (and many times outside of) the work get into ugly fights regularly.
- Shocking Swerve: Fans not only dislike it when a plot twist comes right out of nowhere, but it's also impractical.
- Strangled by the Red String: Two characters are made to end up in a romantic relationship that fans consider poorly developed.
- Tainted by the Preview: The audience doesn't get a good first impression of the work before it is released.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: The work ends up being too cute or sweet for anyone to enjoy.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Audiences feel a sequel is too different from a previous entry in the series or don't like how an aspect was changed about it.
- They Copied It, So It Sucks!: The audience is upset that a work copied something from another.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The fandom complains that a character does not get enough screentime in the work.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Fans feel a certain plot point did not get enough focus.
- Unfortunate Implications: The audience sees an offensive message in a work, even if it wasn't intended. Examples of this require a citation from a reputable source.
- Unnecessary Makeover: Fans mostly prefer a certain character before the makeover made them less attractive.
- Unpleasable Fanbase: Fans get upset by anything, no matter what. No examples, please.
- Values Dissonance: It gets ugly when certain groups of the audience have different cultural or social values to a work created in a different time and place.
- We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: A work desperately tries to stay hip by referencing as many new trends as possible.
- What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: A character receives flak for not being perceived as badass as other characters.
- WTH, Casting Agency?: Fans think a creator associated with a work may be ill-suited for their role.
- WTH, Costuming Department?: Fans don't think the costume or character designers did a very good job.