On Trolls

I got a very honest email from someone asking how we plan to deal with “shop trolls” as this person put it – antagonistic behavior. It’s not the first time I’ve heard the concern, so I thought I’d give it a public answer.

Some of you may have peeked at our About page. The last item there is our store mission, “to create and sustain a hub for gamer community.” At the very end is a two-item list with the first draft of our conduct policy. This will be posted visibly on-premises, probably in the gaming area. It counts online, too.

The short version is, don’t act like a jerk. Alternatively, act civil.

I know there’s probably a game you hate, or even a person (or type of person) you can’t stand being around. I get that; We’re not going to tell you what you’re allowed to like or dislike. Just keep it to yourself. That’s all.

We’ll give you a warning the first time. Debates get passionate sometimes, I know. If it keeps up, you’ll be asked to leave for the day. No ban-hammers or anything; just take a day to cool off.

We’re not thrilled to do it, but we’re not scared to, either. It doesn’t matter how well we know you, or how much you spend, or how much I don’t like that game either. This is about the health of the whole community, and that will include people you don’t get along with.

It’ll be a big store. Plenty of tables for everyone.

11 responses to “On Trolls”

  1. Mike says:

    I suppose my concern in this area is that group of gamers that always hang out at the shop like they have no homes and make everyone else feel like the shop is “their turf”. You’ve seen them at every game shop here in the city for years. They have a tendency to make new comers feel unwelcome at best and threatened at worst. This is the type of skum I was asking about in my shop troll email. I’ll hang out at the shop. I’ll buy stuff if they have what I’m into on the shelves and I don’t have to wait forever to get a copy. I also plan on being civil to anyone who walks through that door, even if it is someone who deserves no civility…because I’ll remember this is YOUR SHOP! not mine just because I hang out here. I don’t want to see this turn into some club house as we’ve all seen in the past. I think you’ll have a good shot at this as long as you STRONGLY enforce the notion this is your shop and we are here because you paid the lease and put up the capitol for us to have a game shop. Some people think if they cling to the shop like some sort of lamprey or parasite (or troll) it becomes theirs, Don’t let this happen or people will leave in droves. I’ve seen it kill shop after shop for the past 30 years. I just want to be able to browse and have a half way descent chance to find something I’d like to buy (hence new fresh stock on the walls) and play a RPG or two in peace. I hope you guys can provide this.

  2. Allie says:

    Mike, thanks for your comment and for details about your concerns. Jeremy and I strongly appreciate honest feedback.

    We do not favor one person or group over another. We welcome all who follow our rules of conduct, and we greatly appreciate individual efforts to improve the atmosphere at the store. We are the owners and will enforce the rules, and everyone who shares the benefits of our store should take a share of ownership in how we function together socially in a healthy way.

    We agree that the culture we want to encourage is not a closed clubhouse. For that to happen, we all have to break out of old patterns. “Them” and “Us” thinking, by any party, is divisive. “They” are not scum. “We” are not better people. All of us need to avoid name calling and approach this new environment with some openmindedness, working together towards a fresh start. Let’s leave behind the baggage of past tensions.

    Everyone needs to answer this question, at least in our own minds:
    “What can I personally do to to contribute to a positive atmosphere and a community that welcomes newbies as well as long time gamers?”

    Another good one: “How can I be the person everyone wants to game with?”

    To be clear, those aren’t directed just at Mike! I hope that everyone will give this some thought. If you feel comfortable sharing your answer, you can email me or Jeremy, or even post here. One rule for public posts: Let’s keep this conversation positive and constructive.

  3. Bill says:

    I can honestly say that I won’t be able to regularly by new product but I love being able to go in somewhere and getting face to face opinions on how other people like to play certain games/factions. To those who really know me, I am a very openminded guy about many of topics and if I withdraw from a particular group … to put it simply they would have to violate your (Our rules? since we want to grow the gaming enviroment together) rules of conduct.

    When it comes to certain local players, if I feel the challenge is right, I will calmly use their bravado against them during the game and offer to shake their hand afterwards.

    I know it sounds like I walk the “troll” line. Know this though, when I have money, I will spend it. When I don’t, I may still show up to participate in something to aid the gaming enviroment.

    • Jeremy says:

      The line between healthy banter and harmful antagonism is a pretty blurry one, and a lot of gamers I know really love the former.

      What we really want to encourage is everyone showing some personal maturity to make +1 Gaming a great place to spend time. The real win to us is when we don’t have to step in, because folks have learned how to settle differences themselves. That’s the mark of a strong community to me.

    • Bill says:

      There is a term that I see helps to blur that line. “Cheesey or Broken” has been overly used involved with gaming. Personally I tell people that unless that company bans what is deemed broken, reconfigure your tactics to handle it. Local gamers, as a whole, are too quick to pull the trigger on this term. For the new store, I am willing to help someone to find a way if needed to overcome their situation. I may not know the game but as old proverb says, “Sometimes fresh eyes can see solution”

    • Allie says:

      We certainly hope to discourage griping in general and encourage positive problem-solving. The whole vibe of the store should be more fun that way. And you’re right about “our rules” being shared. The life of the community will influence and be influenced by the rules as we cooperate to build that positive atmosphere.

  4. Mike says:

    I just would like to run an open game of GURPS or RIfts one shot to gauge interest and not have to take a load of excrement from a group of parasites when I’m trying to run an alternative to the main stream. I’ll admit I dislike the current edition of that old favorite game, but I’m not going to bust someones chops about playing it and I DEMAND the same respect that I would give to any gamer.

    • Jeremy says:

      Mike, I understand this is an important issue to you, but you’ve got to cut the name-calling, even if it’s not to a particular person. “Scum” and “parasites” ain’t cool.

  5. Rob says:

    Our community has been dysfuntional for a long time and there are some old bias that will be hard to break… but the chance to do exactly that is upon us. Sure, someone may have called you “Stinky McFartpants” because you played Pig Farmer deluxe or made fun of your game, your hair.. pick your poison.

    Despite all that, we as a community have a chance to divest ourselves of those ill feelings and move forward to create a new community where that type of behavior is frowned on and actively suppressed for the betterment of all of us. If you hold on to that angst, it’s no better than the person who created it in you,thus you are what you despise.

    I have no doubt I have offended someone (or many someone’s) in the past and it’s my hope that when +1 opens up, that those slights can be worked on to be forgiven as I plan to work on my ability to NOT antagonize people (please bear with me as this may cause me physical discomfort and decreased speaking capacity).

    It’s a new start and it should be a fresh one. Give Jeremy and Allie a chance to handle their business before we start dredging up those old feelings of righteous indignation?

    That is all

  6. Jana says:

    Maybe there could be one of those giant erasers on the wall with the words “Check Your Attitude”.