As a Twitch streamer, it’s just a matter of time before you get your first troll. Guaranteed.
It’s not if…it’s when.
This article was originally published in 2019, but now updated in 2021 because of new settings introduced by Twitch to combat ‘hate raids’.
I’ve been a moderator for a medium sized Twitch channel for a few years now, and I can tell you there’s some unhinged twats out there…the kinds that live under bridges and eat goats…if you know what I mean. Fortunately they are fairly simple to deal with if you know how.
Before we get to the pragmatic advice, let’s just define the different species of trolls.
1. Green Eyed Monsters
Most trolls are just envious losers. They’re angry at how crap their own lives are. Maybe they feel they work hard for a living (kidnapping goats or whatever), and they feel it’s not fair that you’re sitting there playing games for a living. Maybe all the other trolls bully them in real life (steal their goats), so they’re lashing out at someone who can’t reach far enough to give them a proper poesklap. Maybe they’re angry that you seem to have people hanging on your words, while the only time anyone wants their opinion is when someone shoves their hand up their bum to work their mouth like a sock puppet. Whatever the case, their low E.Q. is going to push them to say ugly things. It could even be someone you know in real life, but probably not, so try not to take it personally.
2. The Sexually Corrupted
Some trolls get turned on by strange things. For one, they don’t stick to their own species. They may become aroused by humans, but are afraid of angry villagers preventing them from getting close enough to satiate their unnatural desires. The next best thing is of course a streamer, because a streamer can’t kill them with fire through the screen. Science is getting there though. Give it time. While we wait on that glorious day, we can at least prepare for the three sub breeds of The Sexually Corrupted, namely:
- Voyeur Trolls will focus on you, the streamer. They may remark on what you’re wearing, or what they would prefer you to wear – like a low cut top, a fake beard, goat antlers, who knows.
- Exhibitionist Trolls don’t care what you look like or even your gender – all they want to do is graphically describe (via your chat) what they are doing to their troll bits at the time. They want an audience. Any audience.
- Virgin trolls like to pretend they already have carnal knowledge of you. They might pretend they know you from somewhere, and talk about the troll orgy they allegedly had with you.
3. The Professional Troll
Some trolls are paid by other trolls to harass human streamers. The two sub breeds are:
- Spam Trolls will use your chat as an advertising platform for troll products and furthering the troll agenda. They enjoy dropping links to troll websites.
- Troll ‘Content Creators’ have troll channels on YouTube where they post compilations of Twitch streamers they’ve managed to stream snipe or upset in some way.
So now that we’ve briefly covered various troll species and motivations, here’s some things you can do do to make them feel unwelcome:
1. Don’t feed the troll
This sage advice is so common, and yet very rarely followed. Keep in mind that a troll’s desired outcome on your channel is to either elicit an emotional response from you or your audience, or to turn the attention away from you, and onto themselves. Either way, engaging with them is tantamount to feeding them. Please don’t let the troll goad you into saying something in anger that you will regret later. If they fail to get a rise out of you or steal your audience, they’re going to go elsewhere. Flat out ignore them, as well as ban and report them.
2. Ban the troll
As per image, to ban a troll, you click on the troll’s name in chat, and click the Ban User icon.
3. Report the troll
Banning the troll merely prevents them from using your chat. Twitch themselves take no action against them for a ban, so be sure to report them too. As per image, to report a troll, you click on the troll’s name in chat, click the verical elipses button, and then and click Report <trollname>. You will then get a little popup where you can select the reason, so that Twitch can investigate.
4. Prevent ban evasions
When you ban a troll, a lot of the time, they are just going to create another Twitch account and carrying on spewing vitriol in your chat under the new account. This is against Twitch’s t’s and c’s, so when you ban and report the new account, be sure to select the ‘trying to evade a ban’ option as the reason. Presumably, Twitch will block the IP address, but this doesn’t happen in real time, so there are some things you can do to make this little game of back and forth more tedious for the troll than for you:
- Allow only verified Twitch accounts: Consider permanently changing the chat to only allow those who have verified Twitch accounts to type. This prevents trolls from repeatedly creating throwaway accounts to harass you. You will lose nothing by doing this. People who subscribe, donate and cheer always have verified email addresses. Trolls almost never do. You can enable this in the following way:
Gear Icon > Manage Moderation Settings > Channel Privileges > Email Verification (set to on)
With the advent of hate raids, twitch has added the ability to require your chatters have verified phone numbers as well. Obviously not everyone wants to give Twitch their phone number, but fortunately there are some ways you can set things up where most of your chatters aren’t affected by this. Here is what I suggest:
- Temporarily enable ‘Followers Only Chat’: You may wish to create that one extra step for the troll by forcing them to follow before they are allowed to type. You can turn this mode on and off easily on the fly, and the default is set to only allow followers to chat after they have followed for at least 30 mins:
Gear Icon > Followers-Only Chat (tick it)
5. Use Auto Moderation
A trusted moderator is a must, but unless you’re paying your moderator/s, they can’t be expected to be on the ball the whole time for things that are absolutely preventable via auto mod settings. Whether you are going to use a chatbot, or Twitch’s in-built settings, these are some things you should really consider:
- Block hyperlinks
This will hinder spam trolls.
- Block certain words/phrases
If trolls are using certain words or phrases to insult you (like racial slurs for example), add them to a block list.
6. Remove Chat from the Overlay
Banning a troll removes all their nonsense from the chat, but if you have the chat as part of your overlay, their insults will still appear on the VOD itself. Don’t even give them that satisfaction. Twitch now records the chat and replays it on the side of your VOD, (with whatever was muted blocked out) so there isn’t really any need to have the chat as part of your overlay.
Got any other tips on troll slaying? Hit up the comments below.