In the past, the streamers responded to these questions with bans, but once that was declared a violation of the First Amendment, streamers have done everything from avoid the question to actively taunting people with it. Neither strategy is especially good.
Well, in a new training document, which was acquired and then leaked by journalist Micah Loewinger, we've learned that the US Navy, at least, has formalized a way for streamers to engage with these so-called trolls. Namely, they're being instructed to be as cowardly as possible in the face of the question.
There are four "correct" responses to someone asking about war crimes, according to the US Navy:
“I am here to hang out with people like me who love gaming. If you want to know more about my life in the Navy, I am happy to discuss. But I will not speak on behalf of others.”
Which is bunk, since they're actually 'here' to recruit people into the US war machine, and people curious about how the US is handling all these war crimes is not an unfair question.
“If you have concerns about Navy policies or actions, I suggest you contact the Federal Elected Officials from your state.”
Oh hey, way to avoid taking responsibility, nice save.
“I’m here to play games. I have no interest in engaging in personal attacks.”
Again, you're here to recruit people into a military apparatus. The actual gaming is maybe a distant third on your list of priorities. And asking about war crimes would only be a personal attack if you, you know, committed a friggin' war crime. Food for thought.
“I understand that some people here oppose the military and have no interest in a Navy career. But for those who are curious about what it’s like to serve, let’s talk.”
It's not that people have a problem with a Navy career, old sport, it's that people have a problem with their tax dollars funding war crimes. Any citizen, regardless of their job prospect, should have the right to both question and object to these things.
So yeah, that's... not a great suite of choices. I guess they're technically better than just straight-up banning people who bring the topic up, but that's a low bar to pass, and I very much doubt the navy or army will ever honestly reckon with their audience on this topic.
And why should they? After all: they're just here to play games.