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Anti-Trolling Features

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Anyone who has been online for any appreciable length of time knows that having to deal with a Troll or an Internet Jerk is a constant headache. This is even more frustrating when they take the form of a Griefer, someone who is playing a video game online just for the sake of getting you angry. There's nothing in it for them but the smug satisfaction of making someone mad for its own sake, and yet they do it anyway.


People who develop software for online spaces — websites, video games, social media platforms, etc. — are just as annoyed with these kinds of Internet headaches as anybody else. In fact, they have a vested interest in keeping such activity to a minimum. If potential customers hear that your space is a breeding ground for Flame Wars, Internet trolls, and general online annoyances, they're going to turn away from you and towards your competition.

For this reason, developers began implementing Anti-Trolling Features into their online products. These are features designed to either prevent trolls from coming in, or kicking them out and keeping them out once they've shown their true colors. This can take multiple different forms, from paid subscriptions to trial periods all the way up to a staff of moderators who watch the users closely. But whatever the case, it's a feature that's implemented to make sure that trolling is kept down and genuine customers stick around. After all, very few people are going to pay money for a video game or create an account to troll people if their trolling efforts are hampered at every turn, they're banned instantly, and the userbase forgets they ever existed after five minutes.


A subtrope of Anti-Frustration Features. See also Anti-Rage Quitting, which are features to prevent a Rage Quit from doing too much damage to anyone except themselves. Friendly Fireproof warrants a mention, as games with friendly fire tend to be one of the easiest venues for trolls. Compare Video Game Perversity Prevention, which is to prevent players from acting too creepy. If a word filter is involved, it can result in the Scunthorpe Problem.



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    Video Games 
  • Among Us:
    • Players can only communicate with each other after a body has been discovered, or an Emergency Meeting is called. Even then, anyone who is trolling for whatever reason can just be kicked out of the game without ejecting them if they cause too much trouble for everyone involved.
    • Some players only want to play as an Impostor, and will Rage Quit the game as soon as it starts if they're a Crewmate. It was eventually patched in where leaving early too many times could prevent someone from joining another lobby for at least five minutes, with increasingly longer wait times the more often that the offending player keeps quitting.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger let you continue attacking for half a second after the announcer yelled "Finish!" and even awarded a trophy if you could land a 20 hit combo in that time. Predictably, this was used to troll defeated players in online matches. This feature was removed in the sequel and all subsequent installments.
  • Drawception:
    • You can get banned for "derailing" games; i.e. drawing or writing something that doesn't interpret the previous drawing or caption.
    • You can only play a certain amount of games a day, so that trolls can only do a limited amount of trolling per day.
  • Final Fantasy XIV
    • The game features a free trial option that imposes several restrictions. Part of this is to encourage people to buy a subscription to unlock every feature, but it's also to discourage trolling. The /shout and /yell commands (which alert a large number of players) are disabled outright, as is /tell (which whispers a message that only one player can see). Free accounts can't participate in any Player Versus Player modes. Free players can't create parties, join Linkshell groups, or send friend requests (though they can accept all three from paying users). Free accounts can't use the Market Board, can't use the Moogle Letter Delivery Service, can't join Free Companies, and can't trade items. Free players can't challenge any other player to the Triple Triad mini-game, nor can they be challenged by anyone. Finally, free players cannot log into the Lodestone, the official forum, or Companion phone app. These restrictions on free accounts means that there are very few ways for trolls to annoy people.
    • The chat options in the Crystalline Conflict PVP mode are a set of "quick chat" messages, No other chat modes — including typing messages or using items — are allowed. This was an express choice to prevent abusive language/trolling during play or post-game.
    • Kicking someone out of a Duty for no reason is explicitly against the game's Terms of Service. Repeatedly kicking people out of your groups could result in a suspension or ban if done too often on players who weren't doing anything wrong.
    • Square Enix employs players called Game Masters whose job it is to respond to reports of trolling, harassment, stalking, inappropriate language, et cetera. Submitting a ticket with the problem you're facing will eventually have a GM respond, and the GM will potentially suspend/ban people if the complaint is deemed valid. GM players can also remain hidden from view of normal players, teleport anywhere, and break the game's rules in the name of keeping everything fair. Should a player end up suspended/banned, their character is transported into a featureless jail cell that they cannot leave until a GM lets them out.
  • Friday the 13th: The Game: In the game's early days, the most common form of trolling was "betrayal" (aka "team killing"), which involves counselor players killing fellow counselors. This could be with a weapon, running them over with a vehicle, or trapping them in a bear trap when their health is low enough. Betrayals hit the responsible player with a penalty of a thousand XP, as well as earning only one XP at the end of the match. After a few patches involving weapon damage nerfs due to it being the most excessive and preferred exploitation, betrayal via weapons was converted to an exclusive setting for private matches in a late 2017 update, though it's still possible to betray counselors with vehicles and bear traps.
  • Furcadia: The "eject" command kicks someone out of a dream, and makes it so the "return to last visited dream" command sends them to the Hub World instead. Also, the "banish" command was eventually added in a patch. Banishing someone not only kicks the character out of the dream, but prevents them from ever coming back into it.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: Player communication during matches is limited to six emotes: Greetings, Well Played, Thanks, Wow, Oops, and Threaten. The Wow emote was notably brought in to replace the Sorry emote, which Blizzard felt too many players were using in a sarcastic way. Players also have the option to "Squelch" the opposing player, effectively muting them, if they feel their opponent is spamming or misusing emotes.
  • Jailbreak (Roblox): The developers have taken several measures to discourage Griefers from abusing the Police team's power over the Prisoner team. Prisoners have a "hostile" status that only triggers if they steal equipment needed to escape or have already started to escape. If a police officer tries to kill or arrest a prisoner that isn't hostile, they will be charged 25 in-game currency; doing this three times will get the officer automatically switched to the Prisoner team. A later update removed a Game-Breaker tactic of leading prisoners into the Security Office, which automatically triggered hostile status. After the patch, a Prisoner only becomes hostile in the Security Office if they do something that leads towards an escape attempt.
  • Starting with Mario Kart Wii, attempting to go backwards on the course to abuse the more powerful items in last place to disrupt an online race will eventually force you to disconnect once you get too far behind.
  • Moshi Monsters: "Dumb" was one of the words blocked by the filter, ostensibly to prevent users from insulting one another.
  • Stellaris: In single-player games, psionically-ascended empires can choose to make a pact with a mysterious being named The End of the Cycle. This gives the empire massive boosts for fifty years, and then The End of the Cycle consumes the entire empire as payment, uses the souls of the slain to create a physical body, then goes on a rampage destroying every other empire. In multiplayer, players cannot create a pact with The End of the Cycle, as the developers knew players would do it simply to be obnoxious.
  • Super Mario Maker:
    • Both the original game and its sequel require that any level must be cleared by its creator before it's allowed to be uploaded. This prevents any joke or unwinnable levels from getting into the public eye. Also, players can download any level to look at the bits and pieces used to create it, which means any tricks or hidden objects will be quickly found.
    • In 2, one of the Yamamura's Dojo videos about treating the player fairly discourages unfair or unexpected traps.
    • 2 introduces the ability to Boo levels (effectively, downvote them), which can be used if you encounter a level that doesn't treat the player fairly. This penalizes the level's maker and makes the level itself less likely to appear.
  • Super Smash Bros. can stop people from going online if they engage in trolling behavior. This includes targeting the same player over and over, idling after getting into a match, and repeatedly self-destructing during matches. Players are banned for a minimum of ten minutes, though this can go higher if the trolling was especially egregious.
  • Team Fortress 2: Players can mute teammates, which is helpful if someone is being loud or harassing someone through voice chat. There is also an option to votekick teammates, where players can vote to kick someone from the server entirely. Unfortunately, votekick is a poor measure against groups of trolls, hackers, and even bots, since they can vote against it then try to votekick the good Samaritan for revenge.

  • Board Game Arena:
    • The site has a reputation system in place to discourage trolling. Your reputation decreases if you behave badly, and when someone creates a table, they may choose to prevent players from joining if their reputation is too low. As a result, trolls will have a harder time finding opponents.
    • If you're about to post a message that contains a word that sets off the text filter, you'll be warned in a pop-up. If you send the message, it'll be accompanied by this: "Is this provocative or an insult? Please do NOT engage if it is. If someone is provoking you, DO NOT RESPOND, block (red thumb) and report them to the moderators. (red thumb and report link are on their profile)." This means that you can get away with sending messages that happen to contain a "bad" wordexample  while telling the opponent how to deal with a troll if you're actually trolling them.
    • A player who intentionally abandons a game can be kicked out by the remaining player(s). This not only gets them a harsher Elo penalty than if they had played it out, but also gets them a reputation penalty, meaning it's also a form of Anti-Rage Quitting.
    • The concede button is disabled until you're at 50% progression in the game, which makes it impossible to troll by starting games and instantly conceding.
  • Fimfiction.Net: Users have to submit their new stories into a queue that only moderators can see to prevent spam and/or abuse from coming through. A user can get stories Auto-Approved without submitting them to this mod queue, but only after a certain number of their stories have been approved for submission. This cuts Troll Fics on the site down to almost nothing, since no one is going to spend time crafting even mediocre stories of at least a thousand words each for the sake of trolling with Auto-Approve.
  • 4chan and Reddit have a long-standing Fandom Rivalry. To help quell some of the worst of it, the former site won't even let users post the phrase "Go back to Reddit" anywhere.
  • Something Awful requires new forum users to pay ten US dollars to join. They have to pay even more if they want to get avatars, access the archives, or use the "search" function. The anti-trolling feature is the cost of admission; no one's going to spend ten bucks just to get banned for trolling a forum.
  • TV Tropes has Locked Pages to prevent Flame Wars and Edit Wars if a given page gets too bad. There's also the Permanent Red Link Club, for pages that are cut, locked and never coming back because they became or might have become magnets for trolling.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: The live chat for the show's initial broadcast on Thursday nights and re-cast on Friday mornings is kept in constant slow mode on Twitch. People can only send messages once every seven minutes in the chat, and it can be extended to fifteen minutes if chat isn't behaving. An account needs to pay for a subscription cost just to post in the live chat, which is a few dollars at minimum. It's also staffed by a team of moderators that delete messages which are seen as trolling, negative, or Flame Bait.

  • In chat program Discord, moderators in any server have multiple options to deal with trolls. A Discord mod can mute someone's microphone in voice chat if they're being annoying, with only a moderator able to undo this mute. Also, banning someone from a server gives a moderator the option to delete all of the banned user's posts from the past 24 hours, past 48 hours, or all of their posts, in case someone was spamming things that other users wouldn't want to see.
  • Digital Distribution platform Steam has a policy that allows customers to get a refund for any game they've purchased in the last two weeks, as long as they've played it for fewer than two hours. However, two hours is more than enough time to figure out if a game was falsely advertised or blatantly trying to be an Unwinnable Joke Game.