2020 Will Be A Difficult Year For Twitch If They Don’t Get It Together
This year has been rough for Twitch. Over the last 12 months, they’ve seen numerous complaints about their inconsistent moderation. They’ve also been accused of being toxic, which has directly led to the departure of some well-known streamers including Ninja and Shroud, both of whom had huge followings on Twitch.
As rumblings continue about inconsistent and unclear rules, favoritism being shown towards big-name streamers, especially women, and the platform’s general toxicity, it’s clear that Twitch needs to improve – and fast.
Moderation right now is an absolute joke, the new pinnacle of which appears to be that Twitch even managed to ban popular Twitch tool, Nightbot!
There is zero consistency and streamers are being left stressed and confused regarding the rules. While many smaller channels are being banned, sometimes for lengthy periods, after arguably zero infractions, others are facing no consequences for clear and blatant rule-breaking. It also seems that anyone with enough time on their hands can get a streamer banned by making fake accounts.
When a small streamer gets banned for wearing an outfit you see people walking down the street in, while another flashes their underwear several times with no consequence, things are broken.
Twitch needs to find a positive way forward on this.
A Clear Dress Code
A first step would be to produce a clear policy for what is and isn’t deemed appropriate to wear on stream. While it’s understandable that certain items of clothing may be considered too skimpy, so far Twitch’s version of this has included workout gear and jumpsuits.
While Mixer’s dress code came under fire for its overly conservative nature, at least streamers know where they stand. With Twitch, the rules are vague at best and many creators are confused by what is or isn’t acceptable.
Once this has been done, the code needs to be properly enforced. This means bans all around for clear infractions, with no exceptions because you’re a streamer who brings in a large audience, or because you’re a partner. If anything, Twitch should be holding partners to a higher standard as these streamers are supposed to be representing what the platform stands for. Based on that right now, the platform isn’t looking too hot.
As well as moderation, the other key area in which improvements need to be made is with regards to toxicity. Right now many streamers are fostering toxic communities and this is having negative effects on other streamers. THump’s recent ban highlighted the milder dangers of having a toxic community but he’s far from the only streamer with bad apples in his chat.
There are also far too many streamers who are themselves toxic, with us seeing bans (or not) for hate speech, animal abuse and, well, this.
Twitch has also become a place where we’ve seen many streamers struggle as they are targeted by racist or sexist trolls. We’ve also seen a rise in the dangerous practice of swatting – when armed police are wrongfully called to a streamer’s home expecting danger – with one recent target being Clix, who is just 14 years old.
Moderation needs to expand to abusive community members as well as those who are streaming. Viewers need to be more aware of the reporting system for abusive users and it needs to be properly utilized and consequences given.
Consistency Is Key
Above all else, Twitch needs to be consistent. At the moment, the inconsistency is the cause of most issues and the biggest cause of headaches for smaller streamers. Bans can have a huge effect on streamers, and smaller creators especially will often have few other income sources. These mistakes and accidental bans have a huge impact.
After his five day ban for “invasion of privacy” after he streamed at a restaurant, with permission, PaymoneyWubby spoke out about the issue and many agreed.
Choosing A Platform
Currently, Twitch is counting on its name and audience share, rather than its reputation. It still leads the way when it comes to viewer accounts and this is propping it up right now. However, for the first time in a long time, other genuine competitors are springing up and they’ve got money behind them.
Mixer may not be dominating yet, but if Microsoft plays their cards right it could take over the streaming scene. The movement of a few major personalities over to the platform has given it a boost, but it will be new streamers who truly change the playing field.
Many are attracted by the sheer number of viewers on Twitch, but there are also a huge number of broadcasters. Sometimes being in a smaller pond can give you more exposure, similar to how you can more easily find indie games on The Epic Store rather than on the behemoth that is Steam, where everything is so abundant that small titles get lost.
If Mixer can provide a warm, friendly environment where toxicity is stamped out and rules are clear and consistent, then streamers looking to establish themselves are far more likely to be tempted. Seeing so many small Twitch channels being banned for breaking rules they didn’t even know about doesn’t create a good impression.
If Twitch doesn’t get its act together fast, then 2020 could quite easily become the year of Mixer.
Or FB Gaming. Miracles can happen, after all.
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