Meerkat’s Troll Watchlist

String Nguyen
4 min readApr 8, 2015

We live in an ever changing world where our playground is now the internet and hiding in the shadows are the trolls — their behaviours are best described as ‘emotional-sucking vampires’, hungry attention seekers or virtual bullies.

Unexpectedly, there is an apathetic attitude that trolls are part of online social realities. Many have advised to ignore their flaming comments; don’t fight against them as it’s pointless; block them and they’ll continue to set up more anonymous accounts. So, why even bother?!

I found this comment on Michaela’s post about harassment found online:

This offhand comment roughly translates to grow a thick skin, ignore it and get accustomed to the little jabs that come your way. Get used to it!

No. This is not a world I wish to belong in — there is no need for trolls to rule our lives. Ignoring what has happened won’t make it go away. This behaviour will continue to thrive and move into the direction of being ‘acceptable’.


I like to think I’m part of the amazing community within Meerkat. People are real and many want to genuinely connect and make a difference.

Before I stream, I like to tell my watchers, new and old, my house rules:

1. Respect. Everyone on this stream is worthy of respect.
2. Troll-like behaviours will be not condoned. Joke or not, I will block you.
3. Let’s have fun chatting.

Still, even with such house rules, an occasional troll will have the guts to ask for the colour of my bra or hurl abuse at me. Currently, Meerkat does not have a block button or any troll control at all. So far, you can directly go on Twitter to block them, but they can still jump on your meerstream. The other option is to directly email the team: share their usernames or/ and screen image.

“Social space like Meerkat should be SAFE for everyone.”

As members of the MK community, I like to believe that we’re responsible for maintaining a healthy and vibrant online-space. As early adopters and users, we’re building a foundation where we can have a safe environment to find our voice and be ourselves. It’s where we can engage and connect with amazing people from around the world.

The reality is, sometimes troll-like attitudes and behaviours are seen online, so what can we do about it?


A hashtag is currently being used to help aggregate a list and allow the Meerkat team to monitor and deal with the trolls.

After a few (broken) meerstreams, we decided to do something about the growing concerns of trolls; “#911MK

911 (help line)+ MK (Meerkat)

This watchlist is made to help ease people’s mind, empower the community and give Meerkat-users an option to deal with online abuse.

If you SPOT a troll on a live meerstream, do the following:

1. Comment with: {mention/username} + #911MK*
2. Make sure you have the toggle on, so it links to your Twitter account

[Edit] Don’t want the attention on to you? Use a second tool like a laptop or/and tweet using the #911MK and ‘mention’ the troll without the ‘@’

The other great thing about Meerkat is that it is integrated into the infrastructure of Twitter. When we comment on a meerstream, it is linked directly to our Twitter account and with the use of this hashtag it allows us to create a list on Twitter.

There are a few people who tried to dissuade me and say why even try, but I really believe in this: Every little action creates a ripple and grow into a wave of positive change.

“It’s like Neighbourhood Watch: when we monitor and point out negative behaviour and mind-sets. There’s no need to be a vigilante.
But one comment can make a huge difference.

We shared the #911MK hashtag with Team Meerkat and they love it. While they’re working hard to create a button (or some kind of troll control/management tool), we can at least make their job easier and help spot the trolls. They’ll be tuning into this hashtag-stream and be the ones responsibible for blocking or suspending the troll’s accounts.

This is only just the start.

As individuals, there are times when we feel helpless — but as a collective, we can be strong together. Let’s be strong together on Meerkat. We have a choice and I firmly believe that change begins with us. So, let’s end with a final positive note from Gandhi, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

Suzanne Nguyen
Follow me on Meerkat.

A shout out to Leslie (@Sportslad) and Michaela (@michaelwithana) for being my second eyes! Heads up; I’m also the only Australian on The Top 100 — Meerkat’s Leaderboard.

Feel free to comment and let everyone know about #911MK and what’s it trying to do.

String Nguyen

Video is my thing and I like fried chicken — I do better on Linkedin linkedin.com/in/stringstory