• Ill-omened word constellations:
  • In any public forum, the use of the words n-----, f-----, or c--- will cause an immediate collapse in the quality of the discourse. This effect is not governed by the validity of their use. Simple physical presence is enough to do it.
  • Any comment which contains the constellation censorship, hypocrite/hypocrisy, and ad hominem has an excellent chance of being flamage or trollage.
  • The same goes for the appearance together of so-called, hard-earned dollars, and cold, hard facts.
  • When the last word of a post is a single-word sentence or single-word paragraph consisting of the word Frightening, Pathetic, or Sick, the poster is probably a flamer, a troll, or someone who listens to too much political talk radio. The word Nice also belongs in this constellation, though more reasonable users will also sometimes use it as an ironic one-word terminal summary.
  • Any assumption of the mantle of Devil's Advocate
  • The assertion of willful misunderstanding on the part of the reader.
  • Use of the word 'objectively' to modify an adjective, as in "your piece is objectively pointless," is a marker for the Galactic Observer.
  • The introductory "um" as a marker of passive-aggressive verbal attack:
Um, I love how everyone feels the need to put words in my mouth.
Um, looks like someone has too much time on their hands.
Um, looks like I struck a nerve.
  • The use of the deprecating "just," "all," and "only" in defense of the indefensible. ( --Abi Sutherland)
I was just suggesting that ...
I just said ...
It's just that ...
All I said was ...
I was only trying to ...

  • "I expected when I came here that --"
The speaker asserts that he began the discussion with the expectation that it would be civil, reasonable, and well-behaved, and accuses his opponents of having willfully turned it into something considerably nastier. Translation: I thought I was going to win this argument, or I thought more people would agree with me.
It generally gets used when the speaker has clearly lost the fight, and is about to flounce. While this occasionally reflects the speaker's actual expectations, and/or his behavior in the thread, in most cases the speaker has been as least as hot-headed as anyone else.
For this reason, persons attempting the maneuver will often describe themselves as having been "reasonably polite," or somewhat less frequently as "reasonably civil."
See also, Disclaiming one's own rudeness and The Flounce: That's it! I've had enough! This time I'm leaving for good!
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