Home Editorial Countertrolling: Five Effective Ways to Respond to Hatemail

Whether you’re really good or really bad at a game, odds are you’re gonna get hatemail. Hell, you’ll probably get it anyway. After all, if the idiots who filled your inbox had a reason to spam you, they’d probably also have better things to do than list all the sexual positions they tried on your mom.

Being really, really good at games, I get a lot of hatemail. Hell, I get tons of angry messages in general… on forums, in YouTube comments, via email, and here on my own goddamn website. I’m too big of a man to resort to flaming these morons back, but I’m also too petty of a human being to ignore them.

You sure as hell can’t reason with haters, and trying to argue is an exercise in futility. So…what’s the solution? Well, just like the answer to everything online, it’s good old-fashioned trolling!


#1: Play (really) dumb

Typically, when someone sends you hatemail, it’s because they want you to feel bad for doing something wrong. Of course, “something wrong” is typically an action as innocuous as blocking a fireball or scoring the winning goal or simply being in the game. But no matter how inane the rage-inducing action is, your opponent wants to make sure you know why you should be ashamed. Thus, the easiest way to counter their abuse is to be wholly incapable of knowing anything at all. 

Hater: Nice camping faggot maybe you should bring a tent next time.

You: wut do u mean this is like a boy scoutz league??

Hater: No I’m saying your a no skill faggot snipewhore

You: but all my skills r on merit badges didu see them

Hater: dude what the fuck is wrong with you?

You: hey how do i get to eegle scout in this one??

While having terrible spelling and grammar aren’t necessary, they make reading your replies extra difficult and annoying. Your haters will spend more energy simply trying to figure out what the hell you’re saying than they spent on getting pissed off in the first place.


#2: Disagree to agree

It’s a known fact that hatemailers are presumptuous little pricks. Sure, they want to assert their moral/gaming/flaming superiority over you, but they’re also looking for a fight. They know most gamers will, if needed, defend their reputation. So they pick on people expecting to start a huge flame war, possibly even with the desired result of making you look like the angry asshole. They want an excuse to ask you if u mad bro? The strategy is simple: don’t be mad… be glad. In fact, be too glad.

Hater: Shoulda fuckin figured somone playing Sagat woudl be a little bitch

You: Yeah, you’re right.

Hater: That’s right Im right dumbass, all u know is tiger shot projectile spam

You: It’s definitely my weakness! I’ve been working on learning combos all month, but really the only thing I have down to muscle memory is Tiger Shot timing. I mean, the most important links are only a few frames, and then there’s so much to be mindful of (start a second PM if necessary) when it comes to FADC’s. In that second round, after I hit you with the thirteenth Tiger Shot, I really should have capitalized on my momentum and thrown a few meter-backed uppercuts in there to fish for a (start third PM) free Ultra. But I guess it just felt safer going with some more zoning. Ultimately, I just have a fear of trying new things. It’s something that’s kept me back, both in Street Fighter 4 and in life in (start fourth PM) general. Sometimes you just gotta trust your instincts, but other times you end up falling back into bad habits. Hopefully I can kick mine. That said, if you know any ways to kind of practice on tougher links let me know, because once I get done with Tiger Shots I want to learn (start fifth PM) even more.

Hater: u spam messages too? fuck this just blocked your ass

….aaaannnnd you win. Bonus points if you get them to apologize to you after they realize you’re a “nice” guy. Double bonus points if the former hater agrees to some fun practice matches.


#3: Operation: flirtation

Haters gonna hate; they sure as hell aren’t gonna like or love. As stated before, they’re in the business of picking fights and trying to elicit some rage from you. But what if the only emotion they arouse… is arousal?

Hater: is that wut u call a rush bitch? u got stomped

You: mmmmm ur too fast for me i guess. whats ur APM ????

Hater: 250 fuckin way higher than urs noob

You: lemme ask you… are your hands always that fast?  ;)

Hater: wut

You: im just sayin if you wanna drop ur templar in the back of my main i wont push back  ;)  ;)


Usually at this point, you get blocked, which is essentially the same as winning. Please note: hitting on minors may or may not be a crime in your area. If it is, we disavow all responsibility for your amorous online interactions.


#4: Mistaken identity

When 13-year olds send you curse-laden verbal abuse, they’re typically relying on a two-way street of anonymity to enhance the annoyance. They don’t know who you are, so they can distance themselves emotionally from berating you. And you don’t know who they are, so they can let loose their entire 9th-grade cussin’ vocabulary with the knowledge you’ll never find out who they are. Yeah,  it’s true you can’t actually find out their identities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t act like you know them in real life!

Hater: yeah thats right retard quit the match liek a baby

You: Hey sorry Hank, I gotta go! My sister is picking me up, we are actually going over by your place if you want a ride…?

Hater: what the fuck are you talking about i dont know ur sorry ass

You: haha Hank you’re so funny! No but seriously we’re going to Pizza Hut. It’s me and Liz. Do you wanna get a slice of stuffed crust?

Hater: no bitch who is this??

You: Hey look Hank if you don’t want to come, that’s cool, I know you’re not a big pizza fan. But you know me and Liz we just love that pepperoni. Hey look if you don’t wanna come to Pizza Hut I guess I will see you in geometry on Monday morning. Peace out!

Hater: wait what the fuck how did u know im in geometry? is this anthony??

You’ll never actually convince these douchebags that you know them in real life, but the interaction will quickly become so annoying that it’s not worth their time explaining otherwise. And, if you do happen to randomly guess some obscure detail about their real lives, they’ll be so freaked out they won’t ever message you again. The odds aren’t great, but the payoff is enormous!


#5: A preemptive strike

Sometimes, you just know when someone’s gonna be particularly butthurt. It’s usually someone you just beat in a game by a narrow margin (people at the bottom of the scoreboard tend to be less deluded about their skills) and 90% of the time, the user has some combination of the following in his or her his gamertag:

  • elite
  • XXx
  • nig
  • oO00o
  • sniper
  • iI1i1i1I!i1!I
  • h3adsh0t

So, as the match is ending, don’t just wait for the hatemail to arrive. Open up your messaging controls and let them know exactly what you think first. Heck, I bet you’d be surprised how often this last method completely prevents hatemail!

You: Hey man GG. You almost had me at that last shot! It’s nice to face someone who actually knows how to play.

Hater: uh yeah thanks gg

That’s right, you don’t always have to fight fire with fire. And hey – getting in the habit of spreading some good sportsmanship is probably a good idea anyway! Your opponent will know you’re not an egocentric asshole, and you might just change the way he thinks about hatemail. He may give up angry, petty messaging for life!

But you know, if he doesn’t, feel free to ask him out.


16 replies to this post
  1. My tactic has long been to flirt with flamers. Of course, by flirt I mean show them pictures of my genitals. For a number of months. With multiple email addresses.

  2. numbr 2 too much effort you idiot. only noobs spend that much time killing haters and noobs noob. very stupid moron article, gg nub

    hey, no offence right?

  3. Hahaha wing those are hilarious! will have to try them out next time, I used your disagree to agree tactic once and the guy actually apologized haha…

  4. Will definitely try these out, numbers 4 and 1 sound really fun, thanks for the ideas, Wing! (I’ll also refer all haters to you so that you can get the credit for me pissing them off. Your welcome) :)

  5. I’ve done #2 in the past. Some guy on Kotaku loved to troll me repeatedly, and finally I just started being disgustingly nice to him every time I could.

    Him: “Do how are those FAILED game design classes coming along? You FAILING yet??”

    Me: “They’re going really well – thanks! I’ll admit, I have a huge uphill battle, and programs like Maya and Unity really aren’t my strong-point. I liked UDK so much better, but what can you do? Thanks for asking! :D”

    Haven’t heard from him in an awfully long time, now.

  6. Now I really want to get into a trolling battle XD At the same time I don’t want to look like the shiniest of two turds.

        [insert wing’s comment]

      • For there is no situation ever which cannot be resolved through a juicy rap battle.

        On that note… WingspanTT vs. the running noobs, the anti-Izzet, that’s right, all the haters together. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

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