Twitch Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules

Be it the so-called Netiquette or any other matters, there are always unwritten rules that exist in different spaces that people either abide by… or people do not potentially upsetting other people in those spaces. Today I wanted to talk about some of Twitch’s terminology and some of Twitch’s Viewer/Streamer Etiquette

For starters, (this may be a given but…) not only viewers but also streamers have to abide by Twitch’s official Terms of Service (also known as ToS). On top of those rules and terms, however, each streamer tends to have their own values and rules. Hence, I’d recommend checking out any channel’s rules upon your first visit. Most timeouts, bans and arguments happen because these rules get ignored or frankly not seen. Channels tend to have a panel with their rules or the rules mentioned in the chat rules that you see upon your first visit or by clicking the cogwheel symbol followed by clicking on the option labelled “view chat rules”.

These rules may sometimes seem unreasonable. Some channels don’t want you to mention the view count, for instance, while other channels don’t want to see emotes by other streamers… and while I don’t get the latter, if it’s a rule, you’ll have to abide by it and understand. Don’t question rules as that may seem as you arguing about it. Move on to other streams if you don’t like the rules in place in one stream. Similarly, if you’ve been banned, don’t try and avoid the ban by creating different accounts or asking people to talk for you. If you ask for someone else to get unbanned, you may very much get banned yourself. There are times when people accidentally get timed out or perma’d because of bots or misclicks but in those cases, it’s best to send an unban request or whisper a mod or streamer once and then just wait for a reply/respect their decision. I once was banned somewhere but wouldn’t know why it happened. I filled out the unban request and despite my chat logs showing absolutely nothing problematic, it got denied immediately. I then messaged the streamer somewhere but they didn’t reply at all, which was weird since they weren’t that big… but since a second or third message would be rude or maybe even intimidating, I decided to just move on instead. You can’t do much about it. Eventually, it will get cleared up and if not, there’re plenty of other streamers out there to watch instead. Respect their decision. Move on.

Often, streamers put information about themselves, their pronouns, their specs, their games, rules, commands, social media, etc. in the panels below the stream. Hence, checking out those panels before joining the chat can be helpful to get to know the streamer and to prevent the streamer from getting annoyed by repeated questions. I know that it’s not a big deal to answer a question like “Where are you from?” once or twice… but sometimes, streamers get asked stuff like that ten times within a few minutes or even more often, based on their size, so I’d say that you can play it safe by just looking through the given information a bit more before you ask stuff. I personally wouldn’t get annoyed at people for asking stuff even if it’s in the panels. I just noticed in other places that people prefer it when viewers read about it in the panels before asking, so this may be something worth considering.

Don’t be rude. There are a lot of things that can be seen or interpreted as “rude”. One of those things would be backseating, aka telling the streamer what to do. It’s weird. It’s annoying. It’s frankly frustrating and more often than not, streamers will warn you once and then time you out if you do it. Backseating not only causes frustration but can also spoil games. “You’re going to love this next part” or “You should use X weapon” or “I can’t believe you’re not doing X”, etc. is just annoying. Don’t do that. Be better. Most of the time it’s not ill-intentioned but it can ruin the experience for both the streamer and other people in chat. Similarly, spoilers are usually a no-go even if the streamer has already played the game and even if the game is relatively old. So what if it’s old? So what if the streamer has already played it? Someone else in chat may not have played it. Don’t ruin people’s time. Don’t spoil games, shows, etc.

And there’re also other things that you shouldn’t say. Stuff like “I’ll go watch Y now” or “I’ll start up my own stream now, goodbye” is just weird and advertising generally doesn’t really sit well with most people. If you want to promote your stream in some way, you can use social media or you can put yourself out there by raiding people or hosting them. Mentioning that you also stream out of nowhere… and then trying to leech off someone else’s content or channel is just annoying. Similarly, you don’t want to go to a streamer and ask them to raid you or to collab with you. If you’ve gotten to know them already, you can DM or whisper them afterwards maybe and “talk shop” but most of the time, doing that stuff on a stream doesn’t really fly well. I personally tend to be quite tolerant about that stuff. I’m not insecure about my content. I doubt people will suddenly “steal” my viewers. I don’t mind that there are literally thousands of other streamers live at the same time as me. Still, there were scenarios where my patience was tested when a viewer would dip in and out of chat and always announce that they were leaving for someone else’s stream. Like, alright, it happens once… or twice… but doing that four or five times in a row is just annoying.

And then there’s other stuff like calling lurkers or streamers out. You saw someone chat before but they’re not active right now? Don’t @ them all of a sudden. As a streamer, you shouldn’t call them out, and as a viewer, it’s just weird to get called out by another viewer. Similarly, if you see a streamer, you may say hi to them or whatever… but asking them about their streams or their channel when they act as viewers in someone else’s chat is rude and often not well-received. Apart from that, you may also want to refrain from mentioning viewer count, sub count, or other data unless the streamer is talking about it right now. Discussing purges, timeouts, bans, etc. also can be seen as rude. Saying that you’re under 13 is often an easy way to get banned (again, ToS). If you’re in a mature stream, you should still watch out for what you say. Just because a stream is 18+, that doesn’t make bigotry okay. On top of that, there’s also still the chance of minors watching, which is why you should be aware of that possibility and your language.

I feel like that’s already plenty of information and I can’t really think of much else. If you have other ideas for unwritten rules or if you think differently about things here, let me know! I hope that this list of Twitch Etiquette helps you out a bit as a streamer or viewer. I also hope that you enjoyed this.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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