Don’t Feed The Trolls!

Forest Troll
Forest Troll
Created with Daz 3D Studio (using the Troll for Genesis asset).
If when I mention the word "troll", you’re thinking about the supernatural beings in Norse mythology or Scandinavian folklore, Tolkien’s trolls that turned to stone after sunlight, the prodigiously strong and incredibly stupid trolls from Harry Potter, or even the cutesy trolls (think Pabbie the troll king) in the Disney movie Frozen, then these are not the kinds of trolls I’m referring to.

Trolls are everywhere!

I’m on about Internet Trolls, who sow the seeds of their discord on the Internet by posting inflammatory messages, inciting arguments designed to upset people and provoke emotional responses, and otherwise greatly disparaging others’ efforts and hard work.

Internet Trolls are not a new breed of troll. They’ve been around since the BBS and UseNet days of the 80s; they’re an evolving race, adapting to new technologies and adopting new methods for their dissension.

The Lurker Troll

There’s another kind of troll that’s often a game developer’s nightmare: the Lurker Troll. He lurks in the background, waiting, then does a hit-and-run with a low rating and no comment. (I often refer to these types as "trogs".)

I recently put my game on Gamejolt and out of the blue received a 1-star rating.

Now, I wonder how a plot and feature synopsis, two screenshots and a demo video alone can justify such a rating! After all, it’s how the game plays that is its greatest asset or downfall. Previously, there were six 5-star ratings based on what was presented so far, with the prospect of additional or adjusted ratings when a demo is made available. Of course with having such a glowing rating, a 1-star will knock it down significantly.

I don’t know the reasons for it. I’m open to constructive criticism and, indeed, encourage it. What I detest is low ratings with NO words at all. That doesn’t help me improve my game or make a gamer’s experience worthwhile. It contributes nothing to the game itself and only detracts from what’s been presented so far.

It’s also a reflection of the bestower’s mentality.

Enter The Troll

In my experience, such an action can only be attributed to a troll (or a trog). There could be any number of reasons behind the low rating, but in the end they’re still responsible for their actions and have to live with it.

A troll could low rate because:

  • They're a jealous game developer that somehow feels threatened by your efforts.
  • They're ignorant of how much hard work actually goes into developing a game (unable to do it themselves) and, frankly, they don't care. They're trolls and like biting hard to elicit an owch or two!
  • The game's made with RPG Maker and we all know how bad that is, right? Yeah, right!
  • They hate all the positive feedback the game is receiving so far and want to knock it down.
  • They're just a mean, dispirited person with no morals about how it could affect other people. It gives them a sense of satisfaction just because they can give a 1 star rating.

To me, it doesn’t matter. Development on the game will continue, with or without their approval. Feedback from genuinely interested players will be much more of an asset to the game’s development than a low rating with no constructive criticism whatsoever.

Karma Calls

I’m a strong believer in "what comes around goes around". Actions with legitimate, sincere reasons behind them are always rewarded. Actions with disingenuous, spiteful reasons behind them are always punished.

It might take a while, but eventually the rewards or punishments do come.

Hence, if a person really doesn’t like the game and legitimately decides to low-rate, they’re entitled to that opinion without loss. Accompanying it, I’d appreciate and encourage feedback, perhaps to improve upon it or apply it to the next game I might create.

A low-rating for the sake of it is unacceptable and eventually it will come full circle. It always does!

I’ll be rewarded with my own satisfaction at having created and finished something for others to enjoy. It’ll also give me a sense of achievement at having utilized everything I’ve learned from previous attempts – since RM2K in fact – and putting it all together to craft a solid, playable, completed game.