Their comments can range from little insults about your gameplay to full-on racial slurs. Many streamers are affected by it and, for some, the stress caused by trolls makes broadcasting a lot less enjoyable.
Understand that trolls are looking for a reaction and if you give it to them, things will only become worse. Realize that their actions are less about you, and more about them seeking attention. That being said, there are a few things you can do to limit the impact a cyberbully has on your channel. We will cover them in this post.
Deter Stream Trolls on Your Channel
Having a line of defense is necessary for keeping the peace. Here are some recommendations you can use to combat the trolls.
Write Clearly Defined Rules for in Your Twitch Profile
To avoid future drama from other viewers, write the rules of your stream in your chat alongside the consequence of breaking the rules. This way, if you have to ban someone, the rest of your viewers will understand why and will be less likely to question it. Read How to Make Chat Rules for Your Twitch Channel for ideas on what to ban.
Block Words Using the Backend Dashboard or a Chatbot
One of the easiest ways to avoid dealing with trolling is by blocking specific words in your backend or on a chatbot. You should also consider common misspellings of the words as some trolls will try various attempts to heckle you. For more information about chatbots, read our post, Best Chatbot for Twitch: Guide to Picking Your Little Helper.
Find Moderators for Your Stream
While chatbots are great for an initial line of defense, nothing beats people when it comes to moderating clever trolls who are determined to bring you and your community down. Reach out to viewers that have been supportive to help you moderate your stream. For a full list of what you should look for in a good mod, read How to Pick Mods For Your Stream.
Be Careful About Reading Out Names
Some people create names with the hope that you’ll mess up and say something inappropriate on stream. They’ll arrange the letters in a way where you might not notice what you’re saying until it is too late. While most of the time, the platform will understand that this is a mistake, you could be temporarily banned while things are being sorted.
Typical Cases of Cyberbullying on Twitch
While trolls come in all shapes and sizes, here are a few common ways that they’ll target your channel:
Comments About Your Gameplay/Content
Trolls who stumble in to rag on your gameplay or content are there to see a reaction out of you. The key is to not give them one, or to roll with their punches. If you struggle with streaming anxiety, do your best to ignore their comments until they start to get to you.
When you have thicker skin, if the trolls point out that “you suck,” laugh it off and tell them they should have seen you the week before when you had the worst game of your life. There have been several instances where a troll will end up a long-time supportive viewer when faced with self-debasing humor.
Racist/Homophobic Comments on Twitch
Racist and homophobic remarks should be taken more seriously. Again, most trolls are only there to see a reaction out of you and wouldn’t necessarily behave in that way in “real life.” Even if these remarks bounce right off of you, chances are that many of your viewers are there because they identify with you. You don’t know who might be triggered or affected by reading those comments.
Set up ground rules and talk to your mods ahead of time on what to do when cyberbullies come into your channel. Discuss what words should be taken most seriously. You may even decide to ban a couple of popular Twitch emotes which have been used as racist slurs in the past.
Some broadcasters have chosen to “fight back” when these trolls enter their streams. If hurtful slurs or emotes are used, moderators and loyal followers will start spamming the Twitch Unity emote, the purple heart or another meaningful emote to the community. This show of support not only drowns out the bully but shows a wall of support for the streamer and their viewers.
Sexist Comments on Stream
Most female streamers will deal with their fair share of sexist comments. Most Twitch users are male and gaming, in general, is still often seen as a “boys club.” While there are undoubtedly women streamers who use their gender as a marketing tool, most female streamers find sexist comments unnecessary and disrespectful.
Sexist comments are arguably the most prevalent form of trolling on Twitch, and unfortunately, there isn’t really a way around it. Even if you wear a full-body snowsuit, people will need to point out that you are a girl and that you’re trying “to sell yourself” online. The good news is that, as in real life, these cyber bullies are the minority, and most people will see you as “just another streamer” that they will like or dislike based on your content.
Try to ignore the comments unless they become stalker-like or sexual in nature. To clarify, don’t stress if they are merely pointing out that you are female or that you “haz bobs.” If they turn graphic in what they want to do to you, ask you to reveal yourself more, or make comments that they are going to “track you down,” take action.
If a viewer does cross the line from cyberbullying to cyberstalking, don’t hesitate to contact the authorities if merely blocking it doesn’t fix it. Cyberstalking is defined as behavior meant to threaten or harass someone. While some states are still in the process of updating their stalker laws, you need to do anything you can to protect yourself should the staking leave cyberspace into your real life.
Learn to roll with the punches and treat trolling on a case by case basis. Not every comment is worth a ban. Keep your head high and carry on.