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6 Innocent-Sounding Topics That Are Guaranteed Flame Wars

Circumcisions

Cutting off the foreskin isn't for everybody. Jews and Muslims do it. Women can't. For lots of other people, it's a case-by-case choice. Or at least most of us think it should be a choice.

Start a discussion on it in any public forum, though, and someone's going to pop up tearing into anyone pro-circumcision as a "mutilator" or "child abuser" or "butcher."

soc.sexuality.general newsgroup

Essential Baby Forums

There's definitely drawbacks that are worth looking at (Cracked previously covered some reasons it might not be a great idea) but it seems like a bit much to suggest women who circumcise their babies have their vaginas removed en masse.

Or call them a "promiscuous dirty person."

City-Data.com

You can't start a flamewar without effort from both sides, and there's always a bunch of pro-circumcision people willing to add fuel to the fire.

sci.med newsgroup

And of course, here comes Hitler.

City-Data.com

You don't have to even start a thread about circumcision to invite these people in. Unlike vampires, they can wander into competely unrelated threads uninvited, like this thread about what the Jehovah's Witnesses spend their money on. I don't even know how that turned into a circumcision debate.

It's not just "those internet debates" either. There are anti-circumcision people moving to outlaw circumcision for everyone. San Francisco managed to get a law on the ballot for this upcoming November before the governor quashed it Sunday.

Veganism

Now, I think we can all agree preachy vegans are annoying, and that if someone tries to badger you into converting to veganism, you have the right to uppercut them. (Just once. Those are the rules.)

But what's inexplicable is that should a person just announce they themselves are going vegan, without trying to convert anyone else, I guarantee someone will feel the urge to pop up and attack them.

All this person said was they were going vegan and wondering if anyone had any recipes. And in response?

Network 54

Network 54

Not that the thread didn't get a visit from your average Angry Vegan too:

Network 54

Another forum had some interesting things to say to a guy who was going vegan:

Wickedfire

Wickedfire

I don't even know what to say about that last one.

One of the ways people justify these attacks is by saying that veganism is dangerous and they're doing a public service by quashing it.

One blogger reposted a news story claiming a mom's vegan diet killed her baby. Here's the actual story from an actual news outlet, if you want it without the crazy person spin.

When one person in the comment dared to mention that many vegan moms breastfeed and don't end up with dead kids, so maybe veganism in itself doesn't directly kill children, but poor attention to vitamin deficiencies, the blogger lost it:

The Healthy Home Economist

You'd think this was some ultraconservative person against the hippy dippy ways of vegans, but no, their site goes on about how all you need in your diet are "traditional fats" and "sacred foods", including the mysterious "Activator X," which sounds like a Six Flags ride.

Anyway, the point is that this person is a nut who is annoyed that other nuts are getting all the good press. Most of the time vegan hate comes from general hippie hate, but sometimes you'll find these types mixed in there too.

Dog Poop

How can something that brings joy to so many teenagers when set on fire in a paper bag also cause so much strife among adults? It is a mystery. But dog poop makes people really really angry.

One person's measured response to a dog poop problem in their neighborhood:

PhiladelphiaSpeaks.com

Another person's reasonable suggestion regarding a couple who bagged their dog's poop and left the bag on a bike trail:

MTBR

Of course, people complaining about dog poop sometimes get yelled at too:

2coolfishing.com

That thread had over 200 replies, by the way. And let's not forget physical threats:

rec.pets.dogs.misc newsgroup

I mean, this is obviously a vital, life-and-death issue. Extreme measures are called for.

Like apartment complex homeowner associations (HOAs) collecting DNA samples of all resident dogs, so they can pin poops on the guilty parties with DNA analysis.

I think you can guess what's coming here.

That's right. Hitler.

The Hull Truth Boating Forum

Now I'm not saying everybody's wrong or these aren't important issues to argue about, especially dog poop, but it just seems like there's a switch that goes off in a lot of people's brains that turn potentially reasonable debates into screaming matches full of physical threats and Hitlers.

Maybe none of these set you off, but I'm pretty sure we all have a thing. Maybe for you it's whether the toilet paper should go over or under the roll, or what really counts as "techno," or whether skinny jeans are an abomination, but you should probably figure it out before you kill someone over it or smear their car with feces.

For more from Christina, check out The 5 Biggest Mistakes Women (Like Me!) Make On The Internet and The 6 Most Insane Crash Diets of All Time.

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Christina H

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