To clear up any confusion here we are talking about Internet Trolls not the big seven foot tall blue/green guys here, Internet Troll is the name given to individuals that seek out to disrupt, insult, upset, annoy or harass other people online for no apparent gain beyond their own amusement. If you are being ‘trolled’ you are being subjected to this kind of behavior. Some trolls are very clever, some trolls are even funny. For the most part they are little kids that enjoy the apparent anonymity of being online to act like school yard bullies in the hope that just maybe it will get them the attention they so desire, or at least distract them in the short-term from the things they lack.
Internet Troll’s in MMORPG’s
In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.
We are going to talk about Internet Trolls in MMO’s, and more specifically in roleplay. For some context; when I started my guild <Oath of Silver> there was two goals in mind. We wanted to create a good quality of criminal roleplay and hopefully add to the city’s atmosphere as a whole by doing so, but we also on the other hand had OOC aims to give back to the community, to try and burst the dreaded Bubble RP that is so rampant on our realm, and even to help those who might not be such shining examples of RP to improve, to give them good examples to learn from and ergo kill elitism. Quality does not have to go hand in hand with assholery and exclusion. With this goal in mind we set up a Tavern in-character and ran and run to this day tavern hours events on a weekly basis. We decided to open shop in Wayfarers, the cities nicest tavern, but also most avoided for the fear of the dreaded lol-rp and you guessed it, the internet trolls. It’s not contagious, folks, fear not. We checked. Pioneers that we are, we’ve survived this far.
And to be honest the lol-rp is fine, and another topic for another time, but we can deal with that without annoyance because they are trying to roleplay. What is annoying however are the trolls. We knew they would come, and in all honestly we expected a lot more than we have ever had, so all in all it’s fine, it works. But that said, we do get the odd troll here and there. So before we get to the meat of how to deal with them there is some official information on Blizzards actual realm policy in regards to RP realms;
Firstly here is the link to the RP Realm Policy: RP Realm Policy.
You can read there about their naming policy and other such interesting bits but below is how they define harrassment within World of Warcraft and the requested action that should be taken by players in these circumstances.
If you find another player acting in a manner that contradicts the spirit of the guidelines detailed below, please request that the offending player stop their negative behaviour. If the actions continue after your request, report the player.
This category includes:
Players that specifically target role-players for verbal or physical abuse (not limited to offensive language).
If a player is found to be targeting role-players with the specific intent to harass, they may be temporarily suspended from the game.
What does that mean? Well it includes any verbal abuse, name calling, slandering, use of bad language and all that lark. And the physical side, as obviously they cannot actually punch you refers to on screen. This is what we see the most of. People running into the tavern and casting as many of their biggest most glowy spells, along with using a tirade of the novelty items within the game, like weather storms, ogre suits, keys and other drop-able items. The most annoying by far is the train set and disco ball that make you /choochoo and dance respectively. They basically cover your screen in a hailstorm of lights and other nonsense and keep it up. It serves no purpose, it is just annoying and distracting. The worst bit is while Blizzards /ignore feature is excellent, it does not include all the lights and stuff with the ignore, so even if they are removed from spamming your chat, they can still bug the crap out of everyone. So what do we do about it?
What can you do about Internet Trolls?
NEVER ENGAGE OR FEED THE TROLL.
Golden rule folks. This guy wants a reaction out of out almost as badly as he wants approval from [Insert Figure of Authority Here]. Don’t feed them. If your troll is doing nothing more than spamming your /say or/emote or even /yell, then use the /ignore feature and it will remove them from your chat, simple as that, problem solved. In fact, if they are spamming messages you can right click and report for spam, which not only ignores them and reports them but it removes all their text from your chat frame -and- doesn’t add them to your already very full ignore list. Its a nice feature.
If your troll is of the insistent and graphics-abusing type it’s a bigger harder issue. Nine times our of ten Blizzard won’t do anything about trolls, this is known, but do you know why? Because nine times out of ten they can’t act on a report alone. You could be reporting anyone for anything, and it doesn’t account for giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. Because they might not KNOW they are being an annoying turd, right? Blizzard can’t take action unless you follow the proper steps in dealing with and reporting a troll. Even if the can and do take action on your report it could be too late for it to make any difference to your experience in game. But if you follow the procedure and sound like you know what you’re fucking doing and you’re for real, you might find them more willing to back off and call it a day.
But what happened to not engaging them, right?
I did say don’t engage, didn’t I? Listen up. Be the teacher in this scenario, don’t sink to their level, don’t call names or issue insults and above all stay calm, do not let them rile you up. In Oath with running our weekly tavern nights we have a set out procedure for dealing with Internet Trolls when they pop up on occasion.
1. /ignore or /report any chat frame spammers instantly (It is the only way we can keep on top of the spam that is a tavern event alone.)
2. Give it 5 minutes. I have timed them, being as crazy about stats and evidence as I am I time our odd troll. 90% of all trolls will not last more than 2 minutes. Those 2 minutes feel like a lifetime, but that is all it is, 2 minutes. Give your troll 5, while you and everyone you can muster completely ignores them. If they don’t leave after 5 minutes of trolling into a void, then more on to action.
3a. In case of graphics/visual troll; designate a person to deal with the matter. Everyone else continues as normal and ignores him. If he deploys trains or disco’s we make our characters sit behind the bar and continue roleplaying while ignoring them. Which looks a little odd, but stops him from being able to force our character actions, and all our customers are fully aware of what and why we are doing it, so it is never an issue. When he cannot make us bend to his will, they grow bored even faster.
3b. If after five minutes of sitting and ignoring has not deterred this troll, and these cases are rare, the designated person acts. We designate a person so we don’t cross streams and cause conflicts or seem like we are bombarding them or even to seem like anyone else is even bothered. Said person whispers the troll in a clear and concise manner. Usually something to this effect:
((Hiya. Blizzard RP Realm Policy considers this kind of behavior harassment/disruption of an RP setting, but their regulations also state that I have too ask you to stop before I can legitimately report you with screencaps and logs. So this is me kindly asking you to stop. Thank you! ))
5. I have never seen a troll pass that point. Never. And we have been running a tavern weekly for three years in what is apparently the worst area of Silvermoon on EU’s biggest RP realm. But if they did I would sure-as-shit report their ass as hard as I could and note in the report that I have screens and logs if needed.
Note also. Make sure you actually do have the screens and logs. I screen cap trolls just in case and I have my beloved Elephant add-on that logs all my chat frames. As a GM it is a life saver on so many occasions. Now the above situation is within the tavern, in a event that we have committed to, so we cannot just up and walk out. In day-to-day RP, the key to dealing with trolls is straight up ignoring them be wary about moving elsewhere as it shows you are bothered and they may just follow you and continue all the more. Remember that Internet Trolls tend to have a strong urge for instant gratification, if a handful of minutes pass with any obvious effect or gain for them, they will usually bugger off and try someone else. Ignorance is your best weapon here. Failing that, quote them official spiel and see if that doesn’t shake some sense into them. The above is all also relevant to World of Warcraft and Blizzard, but the method and procedure applies across the board for any MMO where there is an RP setting, though the ignore function and ability and method of reporting might differ.
If you encounter an Internet Trolls that is hardy to even that. Well. May the various gods have mercy on your soul.
Have you ever encountered a Internet Troll within an MMO? What were they doing and how did you deal with it?