Over the last 2-3 years I seem to have developed a strong ability to detect trolling attempts.
After I learned to detect them, getting them to stop was a priority as they were annoying me (wich was thier goal after all). While doing so I perfected several one-sentence/short answers that have prooven reliable at just getting them to stop. Those break thier game without ever reacting to it, making it non-fun for them and thus brings them to leave or wise up. The earlier in teh discussion they are used, the more severe the effect.
I noticed a set of very common Trolling techniques floating around the forum since launch. It is getting tiresome for me to squish them all myself.
So I share the detection patterns and short answers I developed with you all. If everyone can detect them and break thier games, we all might be rid of them very soon.
I will also use this as template/quote source for all further trolling interdictions. I don't see why I should waste time breaking thier waste of time/forum space/distraction from relevant posts.
Telltales: The words "gamebreaker", "eso is doomed unless X/because of X", "total loss of game functionality/game fun" (for any minor inconvenience) or anything along those lines.
"I quit/lower my sub" is a better veiled variant.
"nobody will play the game/use that feature because of X" is a attempt at veiling the technique by limiting the scope.
How to starve them:
Link the Wikipedia article
while pointing out that they should really use something not already listed on Wikipedia.*
Tell them to not speak in your name, as you are part of that group "anybody".
(for "I quit" approaches) point out that there are forum rules against any such posts and the only reason to say it (instead of just doing it) is to distract from the criticism that follows.
I also used "if you are that easily riled up over the smalest problems, I would not want to run into you in a Dungeon - you would propably ragequit on the first minor wipe or similar problem. You are not happy with the game. I would not be happy to run into you in your current state. So everyone is happier if you just go. Have fun with whatever you do instead." - but that is a bit much to write (possibly giving them the feeling of "success") and might cross over into trolling terrain itself so I would not advise using it.
"Use English in Zone":
Telltales: Asking others to speak english in zone/general chat. Complaining about non-english language in zone/general chat. May include claims like "nobody will be able to understand anybody else" (a variant of Concern Trolling)
How to starve them:
"This trolling approach was old before WoW came out, it wants to stay in it's retirement home now."* (most effective despite being rather long)
"We both know you are not stupid and ignorant enough to truly beleive that." (nobody would want to argue that they are stupid and ignorant)
"The TOS says you are wrong/consider reading a rule before talking about them."
"If you want english only, use /enzone."
Telltales: High claims about errors/unbalanced/bugs/archievements of spammers or bots ("Bow damage of 47k", "armor repair to expensive", "Goldspammers hacked the chat"). While doing so they will not post any usefull information (level, items, actuall values, excluded sources of user error) that make such claims veryfiable.
If they post numbers/data, they will be unrelated to the claims. If they use Screenshoots, look wich important information they did not
provide. If they use addons for logging, look wich informations have been disabeled (like the damage source for a damage log addon).
How to starve them: Demand the missing information. Point out that addons might be faulty too. Point out that wich that little provided data verrification is not possible. (This also helps with the rare people that are genuinly that lazy at asuming faults on thier ends).
List a bunch of know possible user errors and point that without those excluded a user error is too likely to take the claim seriously. (I doubt that somebody that incapable at excluding user errors and/or noting the exlucded user errors would be able to properly detect or diagnose thier claim).
If it is about any prices in game, it might also be a design choice. Point out profssional reasons that speak for this choice (if you are a programmer/educated in economics).
"But the lore says...":
Telltale: Lacking anything else to use, they claim that UI/class change X would be against the lore.
How to starve them: Point out that Lore != Law. Also, Gameplay and Story Segregation
beats all Lore considerations since Pong.
There are Bots, Goldspam, Downtimes, [other totally common MMO thing]:
Also often combiend with concern trolling.
How to starve them: "Bots, Goldspam, Downtimes and [other totally common MMO thing that was noted] belong to MMO like the Players, the Servers and never enough Tank/Healers for group content. (till here is enough for most chat based attempts.)
(varaint "exceptional amounts of X")This is a MMO in [timeframe sinch launch], everything that could be annoying in a MMO will be more pronounced in the first Month/Quarter after release.
Pointing this out feels silly, as if I was being captain obvious. It's like saying 'humans need air to live', 'things fall towards the ground' and 'don't jump of buildings'."
(Botting in particular) point out that bots only come out when 95% of the normal players for that server are in bed, at work or at school and stick to the first zone only. Because everything else would just get them banned too fast or not worth the effort.
(If they claim the times noted before would only be the workday in China/Asia) point out that if any time would do equally good, they would do it 24/7. They don't, so it is not.
(regarrdign Downtimes) the EULA contained a sentence saying there would be no guaranteed uptime. You gave a legally binding statement that you accepted that.
(regarding complains about specific bugs hitting them) The EULA does not contain any information on bug fix tiems. You gave a legally [...]".
(regarding bugs/loss of playtime caused by addons) The EULA contain a line that says Zenimax is not resposnible for problems caused by Addons. You already gave a legally [...]"
Side note: Trolls only speak up if they think people will disagree
with them. So the number of concern trolls is an indication for how well they think the game is actually
doing. If we did not have concern trolls, the game might be in actuall problems! **
The game is not optimised:
Point out that to your knowledge it works on 3 year old laptops (this is the data I got) and that the problem is very likely on their end. Wich is the end they should looked at in the first place.
Game needs too much memory:
"If you know a way to load images into memory without undoing every single compression step, tell us. Every Programmer on the planet would love to know that!"
And I mean that dead seriously. There just is no know way. No mater how much you compress it on the disk/for network transfer, for showing and processing it has to be transformed back to a bitmap of Display Color depth. And that applies both to RAM and GPU RAM.
The game is lagging:
Point out that 95% of all "game lags" claims mean "I set the graphics too high, now my computer cannot handle it" (this shuts trolls and missinformed equally up, while leaving room for the 5 percent actuall lag issues). Lag means NETWORK delays, nothing else.
No current MMO's UI would slow down graphics if there are delays on the network and delayed graphics does not impair network performance. Those two things run literally on different processors (the GPU and CPU/NPU respectively) and have been since VESA times. (CPU+GPU's are the oldest case of Multicore systems we know).
Not firing abilities, HP bars not being up to date/changing, enemies seemingly standign still for a time in combat - those are telltales of actuall lag. And 90% of those are on the users end.
Attack on those with responsibiliy:
Telltale: Open insults against Moderators, people who point out logical flaws and Zenimax Employes/Employee Groups in general. The attacked person might shy away from reporting them/banning them from fearing to come across as the attacker/troll/abusing thier position.
How to shut them up: If you see this happening directed at somebody else, report the attacker. The entire attack form is based on that the attacked person cannot report, but if somebody else reports them it is troll season.
"They should fix Problem X, so Prposal Y is not a good idea":
Telltale: in any thread when no other attacks forms are avalible, people claim that an idea has not enough priority and other things should be fixed first. Especially if there was never any claim of priority (as there never should with any proposal).
How to starve them: Point out that this thread is not about pproblem X but Proposal Y. As such any mention of Propblem X is entirely of Topic.
Of topic comments can be reported as spam - advertisement for "my position on X" is as spammy as any Viagra Mail
Optionally point them politely into the right (obvious) direction for reporting problem X. **
"Just google it":
I gotta admit, somtimes I used this sentence myself for too complex/simple question that were asked in chat. But for the forum it is mistplaced.
Telltale: a post that is in the right forum, asking the proper questions. The answer is something like "google it" or "Yes". Thematic is to complex for google, proper terms to search for propably not know or personal experience (wich of the options is better) was likely wanted as part of responses.
How to starve them: "There is no fault in asking people that know the thematic a lot better. There is a fault in only saying 'I find your question stupid and don't want to help you.' If you don't want to help, don't say a thing. Nobody cares about how grumpy you are."
"The failed trolling":
Telltale: anything that would fit to the above, but without anybody reacting to it.
How to starve them: "If you want to troll in my chat/forum, at least have some skill. I pay money to be here!"*
The one kind will be to dumbfounded to react, the other will claim to be a "super troll" and thus can be reported easily with screenshoot of the chat.
*Oddly those seem to be particulary effective at shutting off Trolls. Everything that attacks thier "trolling Skill" has this effect. My best guess so far is that Trolls have an inherent self worth issue that they try to distract themself from thier concerns with trolling. This Theory would explain why those counters are especially effective, but also means you have to take great care not the enter trolling terrain when using them.
**Non-reaction and promt deconstruction of thier attempts is a very potent tool against trolling. Nothing seems to be more frustrating then not getting a reaction out of you. And they are not trolling to be frustrated.
To be continued...asuming the trolls develop anything new to learn and break.
Elana Peterson (EU), Dominion, Imperial Sorc, Rune & Alchemy Crafting Char
Leonida Peterson (EU), Daggerfall, Kajiit Nightblade, Tank & main Crafter
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