Getting our first trolls – and getting rid of them!

Early adventures in keeping the community fun, approachable and safe

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“Woohoo – we got our first troll!” The excitement was real when I first saw that a player in Hatch had commented a lot of nonsense on other people's posts as well as shared their own gameplay moments – decorated with questionable drawings.

Now you may ask why I was so excited, when it’s widely known that reading YouTube comments, for example, can make you lose faith in humanity. But for a new service and a new community it truly is a milestone.

Firstly, it meant that our service had reached a certain critical mass, a significant number of users beyond the initial closed-beta circle of family, friends, colleagues and industry peers. With a mass audience of strangers come the first jerks!

Secondly, the troll was proof that the service awakens feelings. Our troll had really made an effort in creating these borderline offensive gameplay moments. If the service would have been totally boring, they wouldn’t have bothered. As we say in Finland, “When you bow to one direction, you moon to another”. Bottom line: You’ve done something right.

The next step (after high fiving teammates for this accomplishment) is to decide how to act on the trolling, as it gives us a chance to really think why this community is being built, who should it be for and for what reason. Of course, hopefully you’ve determined these beforehand, but now it’s time to put these thoughts into action. And at a time when the user base isn’t (yet) in the hundreds of millions, you can have a little fun. You can show some personality, and invest time and effort in letting trolls know what is not OK in the community. You also have an important and early opportunity to demonstrate to other users that this is a safe environment for them to play and share their passion for games and gaming.

How did we handle these trolls then? Let’s just say that operating Hatch gives you a few perks, including the possibility to update (or change completely) any written texts, usernames and emojis ;)

Here’s our updated community guidelines. Take a look and tell us your favorite methods of fighting the trolls!

Tiina Leinonen is the Head of Community at Hatch. Meaning she gets to engage with Hatch players on daily basis & is the go-to person when fighting trolls. Her favourite game on Hatch is Monument Valley.

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