Flamebaiting is an old practice which became noted and named on UseNet. Flamebait is posting of a message that is intentionally controversial, in the hopes of inciting a FlameWar (and often taking the discussion off the current subject, either to divert attention from the subject or as a prank). It is an AntiPattern used to disrupt rational discussion, and encourage reliance on emotions as a source of argument.
When flamebait is encountered, the response is highly dependent on the maturity of the reader. In the best case, rational points and counterpoints are brought forth, and conversation is enhanced. In the degenerate case, GodwinsLaw (or the appropriate subject-specific variant) gets invoked, and the signal to noise ratio goes down.
Additionally, if an author becomes self-conscious that their comments may be considered by others to be flamebait, they will apologize in advance. This limits the damage and is considered a semi-acceptable way to make a statement that is based on emotions.
Beware of an AccusationThatAssumesKnowledgeOfInternalMotivesIt seems to me (with one week of Wiki under my belt) that the C2 Wiki is either remarkably resistant to flamebait, or has a very good cleanup crew of WikiGnomes. -- MikeWarot
What is FlameBait and what is not? What is sarcastic and what is humorous? Can we tell from the text alone?