How to Deal with Trolls on Twitch? (Part I)

If you are active in online social communities, you have probably being trolled multiple times. For unfamiliar with the concept, “trolling” may sound funny, but to tell you the truth, trolls on Twitch can get really nasty and not always in a laughing manner. Inspired by the Time magazine last year’s cover story “How trolls are ruining the Internet”, where authors painted a depressing picture of how social media are overloaded by haters of all ranges, from misogynists and body-shamers to neo-Nazis and anarchists, in this post, we are trying to find the answer whether the same things can be related to streaming platforms (Twitch, particularly). Can trolling become a new tool for social control or is it just inconspicuous pastime?

Why Do People Troll?

It is difficult to know the real motives of trolls, as they don’t tend to be volunteers in studies. Trolls are the people who go online to start a fight, dump on someone, raise a topic, push a political agenda or just for fun. All trolls on Twitch have different backstories and reasons for trolling a community. They may feel depressed, jealous, angry, sad or some other emotion they are even not conscious about. What makes trolling so easy and attractive for many people is that anyone can do it from safe place without direct interaction and physical consequences. Trolls hide their real personalities behind laptops and computers, screennames and avatars. Trolling helps cowardly people feel stronger. Professor and psychologist Mark Griffiths who studied Internet abuse at Nottingham, distinguishes three main reasons why people troll: boredom, revenge and amusement.  Indeed, the most common aim of trolling is counter-productivity (“revenge”). By all means, trolls try to demoralize you and make you feel defeated. Trolls on Twitch post malicious links, organize DDoS attacks on your system, convert your chat into a mess and chaos, donate and then charge back from your PayPal account, etc. Sometimes, the aim of trolling can be more fundamental: professional trolls are hired to change mass opinions and create trends. Such trolls know how to mind-control people, how to make lie seem like truth and how to fabricate stories that seem like facts. They feel amusement and power thrill. Trolls spread their rumors, inject them into real accounts, chats and so on. They create something similar to “the Matrix” – an online world where you don’t really know what is real and what isn’t.

Who Has More Chances to Be Trolled on Twitch?

No matter if you are young or old, new or experienced streamer, you will encounter trolls on Twitch. In fact, there are several variables that influence your value for trolls. First of all, the game you are playing. Most trolls “live” in large communities, such as League of Legends, Minecraft, Counter Strike. But, the most important factor is how you react to trolling. Trolls are in your chat to have fun, and their fun means your misfortune, confusion and defeat. So, if you let them win and show that you are affected by their actions, they will return to your channel more often. Moreover, it is a sad truth, but Twitch trolling affect female streamers more often than male ones. Maybe, this happens because most Internet trolls are men. People that Are More Attractive for Trolls on Twitch:
  • Players of popular games
  • Streamers with large amount of followers
  • Women

Types of Trolls You Can Encounter on Twitch

Professional Trolls and Trolls That Do It for Fun

Trolling has become a real job for many people who more often prefer calling themselves “social media marketing consultants.” Professional trolls receive salary for running different trolling social media campaigns for various clients. All you need to become a professional troll is a computer, Internet and absent conscience. There is a bunch of paid vacancies available for trolls, just type a query in search. Basically, a professional troll has to leave hateful comments, reviews on a competitor’s website, page or chat. Most trolls have multiple spam accounts and “bot” them to do all nasty work for them automatically. Another category of trolls do the same things for free, motivated by different reasons (they want having fun, bolster self-esteem, in search of fame, etc.)

Obvious and Hidden Trolls

Obvious trolls don’t try to look like ordinary viewers. They call you name, say nasty things, post suspicious links in chat, meme copypastas, etc. They are easy to identify and handle. Usually, such trolls don’t persuade global goals, they just want to make your harm, drive a wedge and then disappear. Hidden trolls have more complicated strategy: they aim to slowly drive your stream chat into madness. It is hard to figure out that in front of you is troll until it becomes too late. Here are some things to help you distinguish hidden trolls. If there is a viewer in your Twitch chat showing one or more of the things below, he/she is probably a hidden troll.
  • They don’t use full stops or capitals. Trolls usually avoid punctuation, swear and try making comments hardly readable.
  • They tend to sound a bit different from the chat crowd. That is why, they usually use different language, slang. Overall, the way they speak is more negative.
  • They are very bullheaded. No matter how many times chat participants or you ask them to stop arguing, they will continue to fuel the debate.
  • They don’t care, if you threaten them with a ban. They continue to post the topic and ignore your words to the bitter end (or until you actually ban them)
  • They invent stories, pretending to be a Microsoft or Twitch official representative. Sometimes, trolls get into character so realistically, that streamers can lap it up.

The Most Common Tactics Trolls Use on Twitch

Regardless their ultimate goal, trolls on Twitch tend to demolish the community in very similar ways. Below, there is a list of different trolling tactics used in Twitch chats:
  • Insult
Most trolls want to make you feel upset. The insult trolls are easy to distinguish: their tactics is pure and simple. Actually, they don’t even need a real reason to offend you or your chat viewers. They can accuse you of horrible things, say nasty things, provoke other chatters in order to get more negative comments. In most cases, these trolls can be simply banned, but sometime their hatred can grow into a serious form of cyberbullying.
  • Spellcheck Comments
There is a specific type of trolls that enjoy pointing out all grammar errors of other people in chat. Even if they do that politely, correcting mistake is never a welcomed comment in a chat discussion.
  • The Role of a Victim
There are Internet trolls that are always offended by somebody’s comments. They can convert any joke, harmless parody or sarcasm in the long sheets of waterworks. Playing a victim while offending other people is what they do best.
  • Fueling the Debates
There are different sorts of debating trolls. Some of them can post a good piece of content and researched info in order to start a discussion in your chat. They have some knowledge in the topic, tend to exaggerate and will substantiate their point till he/she is blue in the face. Others, the so-called “blabbermouth” trolls, don’t tend to argue a lot, but they like sharing their opinions in every single details. They post long paragraphs, regardless if somebody reads them or not.
  • Profanity
All above-listed tactics are more or less “intelligent”, if we may say so. Profanity trolls usually use all-caps mod, write curses and don’t bring any value to discussion. They are unpleasant people, but, in most cases, they are harmless.
  • Using One Word
This is another harmless technique when a troll is constantly posting something like “lol”, “yes”, “ok”, etc. It is not the worst type of trolling, but can be very annoying, especially, when serious topics are discussed.
  • Off-topic Comments
What can be more annoying when somebody ignores your topic and try to shift it, so that everyone in chat starts talking about irrelevant things?
  • Pure Spam
Trolls that don’t care about discussion, want you to check their website or page and constantly post their links, coupon codes, etc. They also tend to tag multiple users in their posts, saying “follow me”. This is annoying, but can be simply revealed and banned. Here, on Reddit, you can read sseveral interesting comments about best worst troll tactics to be aware of.  In our next post, we will continue the topic and let you know best tactics how to effectively handle trolls on Twitch.

9/5/2017