Game On, Trolls Off: How to Handle Trolls while Streaming

Handling online trolls is an integral part of a streamer’s journey, especially as they grow and attract larger audiences. Here are some strategies streamers employ to manage trolls:

Ignore Them: Often, the best approach is to simply ignore trolls. They thrive on attention, and not giving them any can deter them.

Moderators: If your channel is big enough, you might want to enlist trusted community members or hire moderators. Moderators monitor the chat and have the power to mute or ban disruptive viewers, ensuring the chat stays respectful and pleasant. This is really helpful if you have lots of traffic, and want to focus on streaming instead of crowd handling.

Chat Filters: Platforms like Twitch allow streamers to set up filters that automatically block certain words or phrases. This can help to prevent some of the most common trolling tactics and also help against spam.

Subscriber-Only Mode: In cases where trolling becomes particularly bad, streamers can activate a mode where only subscribers (paying viewers) can chat. This can be a powerful deterrent since trolls are less likely to pay just to post disruptive comments. It’s also a good way to encourage people to subscribe – they get a benefit and they know they’ll enjoy a clean chat.

Thick Skin: Over time, many streamers develop a thick skin and learn not to take trolls personally. This mental resilience helps them remain unfazed by negative comments. Remember that you have the power. It’s your stream and your voice is way louder than theirs. They don’t really matter, and if you treat them casually, their effect will diminish.

Positive Reinforcement: Recognizing and rewarding positive behavior in chat can foster a more welcoming community. Celebrating regular viewers and supporters can overshadow the occasional troll. A positive environment naturally attracts positive people.

Addressing the Behavior (in special cases only): Some streamers occasionally use humor or sarcasm to address trolls, turning the situation into a joke and mocking them. Tread carefully with this approach. Engaging too much can escalate the situation or inadvertently encourage more trolling. Most viewers are there for the gaming content, not for the sparring.

Setting Clear Community Guidelines: Displaying rules about acceptable behavior can help establish community standards. It can also give moderators clear criteria on when to step in and handle disruptive users.

Timeouts: Instead of immediately banning someone, streamers can put users in a “timeout,” where the user cannot chat for a set duration.

Bots: Automatic tools like Nightbot or Moobot for Twitch can be set up to automatically respond to certain trolling behaviors, either by deleting messages or timing out users. Let the bots work while you play!

Think about your Mental Health: Even if you’ve seen it all and you’re a real badass, trolls can sometimes get to streamers, especially if comments are personal or particularly hurtful. Prioritize your mental health: take breaks when needed, or even end a stream if things get too toxic.

Learn from the Masters: Famous Twitchers know how to handle trolls. You can learn their tactics and adapt them to your own needs.