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blocking unwelcome visitors in hangouts (a.k.a. trolls)

like many of you, i’ve met a ton of amazing and interesting people in public hangouts. unfortunately we’re starting to see some people who purposely crash these types of hangouts and cause problems. :( we want to empower you to do something about this, so, today we are rolling out new block functionality in hangouts to empower you to block mr. troll. here’s how....

hover your mouse over mr. troll’s thumbnail and click on the red hand icon. this will immediately cut off communication between the two of you: you can no longer see or hear each other, or read each other’s text chats. mr. troll is also added to your Google+ block list, which means you can’t access each other’s posts or join hangouts the other person is in. if you have a change of heart, you can always go to your circles editor and unblock him.


when you block mr. troll, all participants in the hangout will receive a notification. this will help them understand why you aren’t responding to him anymore, and also why he can’t hear you. more importantly it educates/reminds others that they also have this option available to them. if everyone in the hangout blocks mr. troll, then he’s completely put in a box by himself. this is also effective for troll packs that travel together. just block them all and continue with your prior conversation.

i hope that the existence of this tool makes it much less rewarding for trolls to even try. however if you do meet mr. troll, don’t hesitate to have them talk to the hand and block’em.

.chee
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86 comments
 
But they still take up a slot in your hangout, yes?
 
+Lee Allison Until they leave or you start another Hangout. If everyone blocks them they are likely to get bored and leave.
 
+Chee Chew how about if half of the room block this person, mr. troll is automatically kicked out? =)
 
Thanks. We been waiting for this for a long time.
 
+Brian Kwong The problem is that if a gaggle of trolls hits your hangout, they could outnumber you. Hijacking your Hangout.
 
Good stuff!! Thank you heaps! :)
chee chew
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dropping someone if they're blocked by everyone else is something we have and are considering.

my guess is that most likely the mr. troll will leave in rather short time... i mean, i'd guess they'd rather go elsewhere....

but we'll keep watch. if we need to drop an isolated troll, we'll consider doing so.
 
+Chee Chew since day one, users been asking for a block/kick, and you kept saying that Google didnt plan to add that, cause that would cause stress and make ppl avoid hangouts.
today you launch a anti troll tool, that will eventually kick out an user.
what made you all change your minds?
 
I saw that last night. It's nice, but an option for the "host" to kick a person out would be nicer. :)
 
Very useful!
Thanks for taking these details into consideration ;)
 
+soulpower coach Hangout with extras are hangouts that allow screen sharing, sketchpad and document sharing. You can start one by clicking start a hangout then select try hangout with extras.
 
"Hosts" and "admin" often eventually go on power trips and demand their whole flock block people. I love that about google plus. Its a complete round table, like the circles! Dont change that and allow mod status to people!
 
Thanks, Chee! I could foresee how the requested functionality to kick a person out of a Hangout could also be abused. The way you've implemented it here is a good compromise in the sense that each person can decide for himself whether or not the "troll" in question is being offensive and isolate themselves from it. Anyway, we'll see how this goes, and I'm sure you'll tweak it accordingly :)
 
dropping people by majority rules is a tricky situation too. That can turn into blatent discrimination, or revenge tactics. This seems like an excellent idea.
 
awesome addition Chee, thanks for the heads up.
 
Great, the Block function in the stream has been great, use it when someone posts ads in my stream. This is a great addition to Hangouts.
 
I hope you are aware that none of these 'hover' features work with tablets. Drag & drop is no good either, since the screen wants to pan. Click is all there is. With more & more people using tablets, you'd think that vendors would be aware of thus...
 
It's unfortunate that there has been an increase in racist trolling in the past few weeks. It is fantastic to see new controls to help combat those who feel they can continue that type of childish behavior.
 
I think that this addition to hangouts is great. However, I don't like the idea that when you block a user in a Hangout session, it automatically assumes that you no longer want any contact with that person by adding them to a Google+ block list.

I was under the impression that Hangouts are normally used between friends, just as a real hangout might be like. So when I block a friend in a Hangout (maybe he's just being annoying that night), I don't necessarily want to cut off my connection with him through posts. In other words, I don't think it's fair that these "trolls" the block button was intended for are necessarily categorized as malicious. I still like the block list feature, but I think it should be separate from blocking someone in a Hangout session.
 
I'm really happy about this. It's quite the improvement. I've heard some bad stories of hangouts getting crashed.
 
Like this function. Because lets face it there will always be those trolls hanging under bridges. In the case of G plus bridges of communication.
 
The hangouts I've been in have been rather friendly. No trolls yet, but it's nice to see this as a "just in case." I do think, however, that it will eventually be abused.
 
Thanks! Now I am back to starting public hangouts again.
 
+Chee Chew like a few others here, I also feel that giving a Hangout host capabilities to truly kick the troll out is needed. I haven't seen any borderline trolls, but being tactful and saying "I have to ask that you sit and listen or I'll block you and drop you" might be the way to go. If they disregard the host, he should be able to block and drop the troll. I don't see why the whole group needs to be involved, nor do I see the need to wait for a troll to drop because he feels unloved. I don't think he's looking for love. The troll in +Ron Schott 's geo hangout the other day were down right offensive and didn't deserve a warning.
 
There should be the ability to kick users, by majority blockage. So if you're in a hangout with 5 people, get 3 people to block that person, and they'll offically be kicked.
 
Tks a lot for the useful hint and making Google better for us, Cheers!
 
im new to google+ (sorta... like two months new... but none of my friends have it so i ust scroll the "what's hot" section) so what exactly are these hangouts of which you speak?
 
Hi Will, Go to your G+ home, at the right of your screen you'll find the hangout icon. click it and have fun!
 
there will always be people, which will try to exploit a good and honest idea and its implementation for obscure reasons, including personal gain and so on. as long as there is money on the planet, they will always try.
 
Lol I love that there are people who legitimately think a troll on a hangout can be "offensive." It is, in the words of Vonnegut, like getting dressed up in full armor to fight a sundae.
 
Nice feature. lets hope i never have to use it.
 
have courage to fight. history says evil will die oneday. this is the rule this universe.
 
I think you hit the point Leo!.. what prevents 'Trolls' from joining a hangout and blocking others? that would satisfy them immensely, Man, they would get a kick out of it. And who gets punished? the innocent!
 
My concern is that the term "troll" is being thrown around too much lately, and in the wrong places. Trolls are not people that disagree with you or believe things you don't believe or who want a discussion or a lively debate in their conversation. Trolls are people who get their jollies by purposefully saying or doing things JUST to upset people and get a reaction.

Google +, there have been many, many chat services around, even before the internet there were the BBS'. The HOST should be able to kick or mute people, just like in all of those services before.
 
+Chris Jones actually the feature is designed so that this exact scenario will not be effective. if such people were to come into a hangout and block you, a virtual wall is erected between you such that you can't communicate with them (no big loss) and they can't communicate with you (your gain actually).

block is implemented more like "shields up" than an attack. so if some jerk jumps in and does "shields up" around himself, that's really no sweat off your brow...

there are lots of opinions about this. we had many debates. i'll take some time to post about them at some time.

i see lots of speculation about how this might or might not bring down the world :). i clearly don't believe that will happen. but we'll watch. and we'll adjust if needed.

again, i'd encourage folks to understand the feature a bit more. i believe it's subtle but effective. and provides protection without the need to introduce moderation.
 
+Leo G Wait, you were aware that the new 'feature' was the ability to block people in the hangout, and not the ability to kick people out of the hangout? Perhaps you missed the part where the original poster stated that they had considered and rejected exactly what you're railing against? Either you missed it, or you really are a troll. We caught your attempt at using sarcasm to disguise the fact that you have no clue what you're angry at, or about, but I think we all just filtered you out. Too bad your motto is not "Don't be stupid" or we could call you on it...
 
Maybe adding moderated hangouts as an option as well as public hangouts would be a wise move.
 
Screw you guys, I'm gonna start my own hangout, with beer... and hookers... and blackjack... On second thought, forget about the hangout part.
 
good to know, I have been nervous about hangouts with no security.
 
Oh don't you people start that YouTube shit on here regarding +1s.
 
Great solution! I love how you leave the power with each and everyone of us! Offensive to some might be quite ok for others. I think this solution is much better than having a moderator. Too many moderators kick people just because they don't agree with the mod.
 
So whereabouts is the option on G+ to just browse Public Hangouts? I havn't played with that feature yet because I don't know enough of my friends who have made the change yet.
 
Kudos, adulation & congrats! I am elated with happiness! Thank you CheeChew et al! You have made it fun again to have Public HangOuts with this feature! We have a weapon against the flamboyantly unsavory inelegant Google+er Trolls! YAY!!
 
this is a great solution and even more important is, it shows that google listens ... imagine that on the other large social network! ... ;-) ...

this is an immensely helpful start to get trolls in hangouts under control ... i just hope you understand that trolls in hangouts have other ways of pissing everybody off than just talking nastily ... that problem is covered rather nicely with the new block feature, but what about those air heads who find it funny to mute everybody continuously, as they did in +Dan McDermott's show the other day and forced him to shut it down prematurely? ... we need a feature for that one too please ...

i also agree with others here that there should be two kind of hangouts ... public and private ... google promotes their platform as being similar to making relationships in real life, so it makes sense, to take real life as a teacher for how to run this platform ... in real life there are public hangouts like bars or any other public place ... trolls there can be dealt with by shunning, but there also are private hangouts (parties in my own house, business meetings, etc) where the host has the sole power ... something like this should be implemented in G+ too ... as i have mentioned in other posts and comments, some business ideas involving hangouts are simply not possible if one doesn't have control over ones hangout ...

anyway +Chee Chew, great work! ... thank you for listening! ... keep up the good work! ...
 
+Chee Chew Thanks for the clarification. That would be better. so it doesn't really serve them if they did what I suggested they might. Thanks
 
The only problem I have with this is the part where it puts that person on your block list. There should be an additional question that asks "would you also like to block this person entirely?" or something to that extent. I might want to block my brother's douchebag friend in the middle of a hangout when he has one of his moments, but I don't want to completely remove him from my list.
 
So, after I blocked Troll1, if s/he beats me to joining the hangout with +Chee Chew, I can't even get in..
I understand the original 'avoid-stalking' intention behind this but: With the new Hangout-Shield feature (one-to-one Blocking), maybe we could reconsider this?

Because it sounds unreasonable that we may be unable to reach the Big Name Hangouts just because of an incompatibility with another User..

This is purely theoretical, for I do not yet use the feature..
 
Finally !!! Very needed addition to Hangouts !!! Good work +Chee Chew and crew !!! :-)
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