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Shitstorm is referring to lenghty online discussions about both trivial and controversial topics. Unlike a flamewar where the cause was an initial discussion between two parties, shitstorms are started through events. In a shitstorm, the event is removed from the actual fighting, but it’s also the catalyst. The term itself is also very prominent in image macros, and online forum discussions.
In real life, a “shitstorm” is synonymous to the word “crisis”, refering to a situation that is rapidly heading towards a very bad outcome.
On the internet, images with captions warning about a shitstorm, are used on threads to warn others about the chance of the entire thread turning into a massive flamewar, which will serve of no purpose in the end.
It is a very common goal in trolling, to try and cause a shitstorm, or a flamewar on a thread.