It's crucial to understand how to deal with trolls, toxicity, and targeted bullying as it can affect your stream, your content, your followers, and most importantly your mental health. I know how hard it can get: in my career, I've faced this directly many times over. This is how I learned that it NEVER paid off to engage with trolls or to get involved with drama.
My co-founder StoneMountain64 takes the same approach. He doesn't acknowledge drama, ever. He understands this old adage: wherever energy goes, energy flows. If you put time, energy, and attention into something negative, the end result will be more of the same. If you feed the trolls, you'll be ultimately feeding their content, not yours.
Typically when drama comes up, it's a private issue between two individuals that should not have to be dealt with publicly. But what if it does go public? What's the correct mindset to have? What steps can be taken? This is where I'd like to share some of my experience around this topic to help you learn how to manage these tough situations.
Remember, there will always be drama, but knowing that you have a choice in whether or not to engage with it provides you with the valuable insight that will empower you in these situations.
Here are the five best things you can do for yourself if this happens to you:
1. Don't engage
If you starve the troll, it will go away. The less you feed it the better. Think about it this way: if you feed into their narrative and dialogue, you'll only be feeding their content, while compromising your own. A lot of the time the things that are being said about you will be petty, and you will need to be the bigger person and not respond.
2. Block, report, and move on
Give yourself permission to remove toxicity from your life, no explanation required. Know that you do not have to make an excuse to do this. It doesn't matter how long your block list gets, other people will never see it.
3. Hire a moderator
Avoid drama as much as possible by having good moderators. Mods will keep an eye on your chat (they would be filled in on the situation and know the severity of the issue) and nip things in the bud. They can act quickly, and are invaluable in preventing further damage. A good moderator can help change the entire tone of your community.
4. Look for support
It's important to recognize the impact all the negativity, harassment, and bullying has on you. Acknowledge your feelings instead of burying them, and look for support in your community, your friends, and your family. We often try to put on a brave face and say it doesn't bother us, when it's only human to be affected by it. You need to be able to talk it through with other people and gain an outside perspective. They will help you build the resilience you need to weather the storm.
5. Focus on your community and your content
You need to do this because you represent not just yourself, but your community. Consider all the things you could be doing with that energy instead for your content and your audience, instead of giving it away to the trolls. Focus your energy and attention inwards, and you will see growth appear in those areas where you've spent the most time and energy on.
Remember, you can't let them have your energy because you've got bigger things to focus on!
If you're experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety, please take the time to read the article I wrote about the most common stressors that streamers experience, and how to handle them.
Looking for more support? The Pipeline community is always here for you. Come find us on discord!