BySimon Rune Knudsen, writer at Creators.co
A level 110 tryhard Meepo picker enthusiastic about dad rock, Warhammer 40k and weird beers.
Simon Rune Knudsen

You've no doubt met them during your online gaming escapades, and if not you'll be introduced to them eventually. It's inevitable, as the toxic, rage-filled people of the internet are found everywhere these days. From cute kids' games and scrabble-based experiences like Wordfeud, which tend to attract elderly people, to competitive eSport games like League of Legends and Overwatch.

No online is free of the bile-spewing hordes of trolls. In varying degrees, games have become a safe space for folks to ventilate their frustration and take it out on someone they'll never meet in their real life.

I've done it myself in moments of weakness, and raging online without any consequence besides a temporary ban can be a cathartic experience. I'd almost recommend trying it, if it wasn't so destructive in nature. Because toxic players can really ruin your experience if you let them.

The Three Ways To Deal With Verbal Trashcans

Reddit's founder supports method nr. 1.
Reddit's founder supports method nr. 1.

Disclaimer: This is not guaranteed to work in every single case.

In my experience, there are three ways to deal with people talking trash in online games: You either sink to the level of the toxic person, ignore them, or rise above. Let's break down the benefits and consequences of each approach.

1. An Eye For An Eye, Make The Internet Blind

Fight fire with fire.
Fight fire with fire.

First off, I have to advise against using this method if you truly want to battle online toxicity, as nerd rage only seems to breed more nerd rage. It's simply not a sustainable solution. With that said, it can be extremely satisfying to out-troll a toxic person and leave them questioning their actions and entire existence.

Do not try this if you think you might be outmatched by the choses troll in your game. It can leave you mentally defeated and before you know it you'll find yourself watching some Hugh Grant movie with a bag of chips. Alone.

  • Benefit: The fiendishly satisfying feeling of defeating someone at their own game.
  • Consequence: I don't think neither Jesus nor Gandhi would condone this approach. It's very much the opposite of turning the other cheek and doesn't solve the problem in the long run.
  • Fun factor: 10/10
  • Likelihood to prevent further rage: 3/10

2. Meet Them With Unrelenting Nothingness

This is definitely the easiest approach and the one I practice the most myself. You cannot save the whole world on your own, unless you're actually Clark Kent, and the same goes for saving the internet. Sometimes, if not most times, you should just let rage be rage and ignore/mute/report the endless masses of ignorant and hateful people out there.

It's the passive approach, and if everyone practiced it and no one ever took the bait laid out by trolls, I'm sure the internet would be a less chaotic place because the life of a toxic player would be terribly boring. Sadly, that's not human nature, as it's just too difficult not to react when people trash talk you.

  • Benefit: Ignoring the problems of the internet is the easy way out. Not caring will leave you rejuvenated, peaceful and able to actually enjoy gaming.
  • Consequence: You're giving up the fight, letting others battle internet toxicity without your help. This way, the problem will never go away. On top of that, you won't be able to enjoy the entertainment value of internet trash talk.
  • Fun factor: 3/10
  • Likelihood to prevent further rage: 5/10 (sometimes silence is all you need to shut someone up. In other cases it just spurs them on)

3. Grab The Troll By The Horns

Be like these two.
Be like these two.

This method is for people with an abundance of mental resources. Taking on the job of cleaning up the internet one tiresome and hateful person at a time is tough. And it will surely leave you exhausted at the end of what is supposed to be your wnding down time. Is that really what you're looking for when playing video games?

Make no mistake, I condone every action towards making the internet a less toxic place. If you feel up to it, convincing one raging person at a time to reconsider how they approach people online is a worthwhile if not thankless task.

  • Benefit: This is the key to cleaning up the toxic wasteland we consider online gaming communities. It's what needs to be done, and doing it, or rather succeeding in doing it, must feel incredibly fulfilling.
  • Consequence: It's a double-edged sword. If you fail trying to convince the masses, you'll risk being consumed by the drudgery and sheer scale of the task. You'll have to endure enormous amounts of trash talk and the risk of losing faith in humanity for good along the way is very real.
  • Fun factor: 5/10 (success here is admirable and should leave you proud of yourself)
  • Likelihood to prevent further rage: 7/10 (depending on your ability to reason with diabolical entities)

There Might Be Other Ways

Never give up.
Never give up.

This is just the three approaches I flip between when facing ragers in online games. As said, ignoring the hateful people is my go-to approach, but once in a while I'm so full of rage myself that I end up descending to the troll cave myself to spam cyka blyat and NSFW emojis.

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It always leaves me feeling a bit shameful afterwards, and I feel like I need to redeem myself. Sometimes I succeed in talking a troll down, which is great, but most of the time I fail, which is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Good luck out there!

How do you deal with toxic players in online games?

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