Don’t Feed The Trolls

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Let’s talk about Trolls; almost every streamer has had one in their stream, or has experienced one in someone else’s stream. The word "trolling" actually comes from a fishing technique in which a person casts out bait in order to try to catch fish, and that's exactly what trolls do. They use rude statements and other techniques to try to "lure" you into getting angry or responding to them. Their only goal is to get you angry, and oftentime, they latch onto powerful individuals, in order to feel more powerful themselves.

It’s typically easy to spot an internet troll by one or more of the typical unacceptable behaviors:
* Provocative and Confrontational Language
* Lack of knowledge about the topic at hand
* Spamming
* Their choice of online names

Most trolls will act like little kids who are away from their parents for the first time. They tend to use a lot of big 4 letter words and they have no idea what they are saying, or they will make fun of you because they saw you die, or tease you because of [insert your characteristic here]. Either way in order to understand this all we must take a few minutes to understand the troll themselves. Trolls love to troll because they are bored and/or they want attention (even if it’s negative).

Trolls often time have a deep insecurity about themselves, so by having someone respond to them gives them attention and makes them feel as if they are the center of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or not. This is why people say “Don’t Feed The Trolls”; even positive or cheerful responses will still give them attention, which is what they crave since they don’t receive the attention that they need in real life. Remember that you will most likely never change a troll’s mind: you’ll very rarely hear them say “You know what? You are right… I’m sorry” so it’s best to figure out beforehand how you want to handle them.

There are several different way to handle trolls and you’ll need to communicate this with your mods so everyone is on the same page. Obviously avoidance is the best policy, don’t answer them, avoid all arguments, and don’t let them flatter you to deceive you into a conversation. On the other hand I’ve seen some streamers encourage conversations with the trolls and later converting them into regulars, or by trolling them back.

We all need to take some time and decide how we want to handle these trolls, come up with your rules and stick to them! Sure you may have a “neighborhood friendly troll” (AKA a regular viewer who enjoys to tease, a person who is borderlining on trolling, but you know that there is no harm meant) but you do need to practice your rules across the board! The way my mods and I handle our trolls is I ignore them, a mod gives a short warning message, then on the next offense they are given a timeout. The only time we will ban trolls in my chat is if they are timed out and they decide they want to troll more after that. We also use keywords in my chat so I can signal to my mods how I want to handle a specific troll. For example if a troll came into my stream and said “Wow, I can’t believe they let grandma’s play this game.” I’ll tell my mods that someone needs a “juicebox”. I chose the term juicebox because most trolls are little kids who need a timeout, and most kids love juice boxes. My mods then know to give him a timeout and my chat understands as well, but the troll who is new to the channel is absolutely clueless.

In the end there is the 30% rule, no matter who your audience is, 30% will love it, 30% will hate it, and 30% won’t care at all. If you focus on the 60% that doesn’t hate it you’ll see your stream will be better and you’ll feel better about it as well.

Until next time…



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