1. Perpetrator provides an overstatement (due to enthusiasm) or misbalanced statement (due to polemicizing).
3. Sympathetic posters offer support (“It’s the core of the gospel!”).
4. Gadflies offer ironic criticism over the firestorm’s bad faith or its silliness or both.
5a. Option 1. Perpetrator repents honestly (“sorry for what I said.”).
Firestorm responds with magnanimous “don’t let it happen again, and we have to protect the kids from similar errors.” Perp is doomed to a life under suspicion as possible heretic.
Sympathetic posters, thus thrown under the bus, grow quiet or restate their earlier position in a less sympathetic tone.
5b. Option 2. Perpetrator repents passive aggressively (“sorry for how it made you feel [but I meant it]”).
Firestorm revives in response to “non-apology.”
Sympathetic posters complain about firestorm’s lack of graciousness and the prevailing “witch-hunt culture.”
6. Community enjoys period of unquiet peace until next kerfuffle.