I’m a streamer on Twitch. Let me correct that. I’m a girl streamer on Twitch. So, the trolls are real—but fewer than you’d think. When you get right down to it, people are people and most people are pretty decent. But as a responsible member of any community, you have to decide how you want to deal with the outliers, the trolls. You might have heard about the three rules to prevent gremlins: do not expose the mogwai to bright lights or sunlight which will kill it, do not let it get wet, and never feed it after midnight. They work for trolls, too.
These are what work for me, but remember, every internet personality needs to decide what their limits are. This is your business and you should have complete control over it. Do what you want! This is just one approach. Since it’s mine, you should clearly take it very seriously.
Never feed it after midnight.
You have to decide what your lines are—the things you do not allow people to say without losing access to you and your community. These lines should protect your emotional and mental well-being as well as preserve the tone of your stream and the emotional and mental well-being of your community members. And when someone steps over the line in your stream, bring out the ban hammer.
My lines are pretty lax. I’m not a build-a-fence-around-the-house type of person. It wasn’t until the fourth stream that I banned the guys who would pop in, type !tits and then not say anything else. It was pretty mild and I wanted to try and talk the guy into actually engaging. But the five or six of his friends who all hopped in with the cuck-train names and tried to hijack chat? Those I banned.
Do not let it get wet.
I can tell what you’re thinking. This rule itself sets us up for some trollery. Go ahead, get those chuckles out now.
Don’t let the trolls get a rise out of you. I talk more about it below but this rule is pretty simple. Don’t give them what they ask for. Don’t take it personally. And don’t react. If they’ve crossed the line and it’s after midnight, I’ll just say “Bye trollingforfunXD, have a great day!” Ban. If they’ve insulted your looks, don’t get sad or upset. Just roll with it. Someone popped in and made a comment that I had a really large forehead. So I said, “I know, right? Isn’t it crazy? How’s your week been?” Once they realized I wasn’t playing into their game, they stopped.
Do not expose the mogwai to bright lights or sunlight which will kill it.
I’m taking a bit of creative license with this one and boiling it down to, “Bring the trolls into the light and kill them with kindness.” The internet’s level of anonymity is the biggest creator of troll syndrome. We can’t see their faces, their real names, or know who they really are. This internet masks gives trolls the cojones to break social norms they wouldn’t otherwise.
One of my first steps when dealing with a troll in live chat is to bring them into the light and attempt to remove that anonymity. If they’ve said something that’s outside social norms, usually about my looks or that they find me pretty (usually not in those…exact words…*ahem*), I’ll ignore the content of their message (I usually read what chatters say out loud) and just ask them about their day. How’s work going? What country are you in? What games have you been playing lately?
Trolls are people. And they’re typically lonely and socially inept. They want someone to pay attention to them, which is why they come into a stream and say outrageous things. They come in wanting to get the girl streamer to show her boobs, make her sad, or make her angry. So instead I try to give them what they actually want instead of what they think they want. I often find they crawl out from underneath the bridge and tell you about themselves. They stay and hang out. They stop saying things that are quite so outrageous. Sometimes they might even become a real part of the community.
Don’t get me wrong. A troll will still use language that would make a Southern belle church lady clutch her pearls. But now they’ll say it because it’s good-natured ribbing among friends and they want to laugh with you.