Twitch Etiquette – Don’t Trauma-dump!

So, this prompt was kind of issued by a friend of mine mentioning someone that made fun of someone with cancer… and that was horrible… but I didn’t want to bandwagon on some streamer that already milked their fair share of clout out of this dead horse that is still getting beaten by people around the world that milk dead horses. I don’t know if this metaphor is working or not but my point is: I don’t know if horse milk is a thing but I’m pretty sure that you cannot milk dead horses. Anyways, today I wanted to talk about more Twitch Etiquette and stuff that is hard to respond to.

Today’s topic is “trauma dumping in streams”. Trauma Dumping is similar to venting… but in a way that completely ignores the existence of other people’s feelings on it. Some people out there end up venting about work stuff, for instance, and it’s fine. If I’m live on Twitch and ask you how you are and you tell me that you had a shitty day at work, I naturally will ask you what’s wrong or offer to listen to you off-stream if you need someone to be there for you. That’s a different story in a way since I basically give “consent” to the situation by letting you know that I’m emotionally available. Well, trauma dumping is quite the opposite, I would say. There are people that will mention celebrity deaths or their anxieties, fears, triggers, abusive relationships, cancer, suicide, and other triggering topics and all of that with the intention of venting… but without making sure that the others involved (aka the streamer and the chat) are okay with it and emotionally available. It’s a bit of an issue when people trigger text-to-speech via donations, subs, bits and so on only to dump all kinds of negative topics onto people and putting a damper on the mood. It comes across as very negative and overbearing and it can upset people and potentially trigger them.

On top of it all, there are plenty of wrong ways to react to it… but not really a whole lot of good ways. I’d offer to talk about it off-stream but that may seem like neglecting it. If you get too much into a triggering subject, it may upset people, resulting in them leaving, which is something that streamers may not like… You cannot get too much into it but you also cannot completely ignore it. The death of a pet, relative, friend or celebrity is similar… You cannot shrug it off completely and it’s awkward at best to react to it. I’d say “I’m sorry for your loss” but then I’d be lost as to what I could say apart from the typical “I’m sure they’re in a better place now”. I had this one person come into the stream once, saying that their best friend died. I said exactly that: “I’m sorry to hear. If you need to talk, you can DM me later. I’m sure they’re in a better place now. I hope that this helps.” …and then they frankly said “no, he probably burns in hell now because he was gay” and then I banned them. It’s weird. Trolls like doing that but I wouldn’t say that it’s always ill-willed. Some people just don’t know how to handle it or don’t know that it can leave people in weird places or that it can upset people.

Hence this post. If you just dump your trauma everywhere without making sure that people are prepared for it or without asking if it’s okay,… you’ll end up upsetting/triggering people and you may end up making people uncomfortable. So, don’t trauma dump. 

Now, I sometimes talk about mental health topics but ultimately, streamers aren’t professionals and if you need help, there is no shame in talking to a therapist. Btw, there’s a nice carrd link here if you need help and there are more numbers to call over here. I’m no expert on Mental Health topics (yet!) but I plan on educating myself and there are plenty of carrds like the Mental Health Help SiteAppreciating My LifeStay Safes, and Mental Health Resources that can be helpful. I’ll have to see which ones are the best to use/promote for me personally… but we all learn from situations and essentially, I’m just a layman when it comes to all of this and if you come to my stream and ask me about what to do in certain situations I may not be educated enough to help you out, so I may just send you some of those resources and let you know that there is plenty of information there. Other streamers may have those resources available on the spot, too, but it can be very hard to deal with situations like those, especially in the context of “trying to entertain people, live”.

I hope that I got my point across and that this doesn’t bite me in the back.

Venting can be okay as long as you allow others to consent to it. Frankly dumping your trauma, your problems and your issues onto people, however, can be triggering and upsetting to a lot of people. It can make other people’s days a lot worse, it can ruin streams, it can put streamers into a weird spot and there are even cases where people genuinely care about something you said and get anxious, scared or worried about you, which again, can be triggering and upsetting.

Obviously, all concerns should be taken seriously and I doubt that there’re people that will troll by trauma dumping or anything. If someone says they’re suicidal or that they’re having a panic attack, etc., it should be taken seriously. Streamers should educate their communities to be tolerant and to take care of others… but there’s only so much you can do. Linking to resources via commands, talking about it, and all of that can help already. I think the best way to respond to trauma dumping incidents is to be short and professional. “I hope you’ll do better soon. Here are some resources to take a look at with plenty of hotlines to call based on what country you’re in and they may help you out. I don’t think this is the right place to handle that right now but you can message me later after the stream if that’s okay with you.” – I guess that could be a good response, covering all bases essentially. But really, there are so many ways of fucking interactions like up and not enough ways of doing a great job or anything, so… short and professional. We are no professionals but we do our best to distract, entertain and take care! We can’t do all of that at the same time, I’d say. So maybe go to a therapist/professional instead of a stream full of strangers with no experience on the matter.

Don’t trauma dump. Be nice. Stay hydrated. Stay kind. Have a nice day!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Follower Alerts – The how and why!

Whenever you follow a channel, host them, raid them, subscribe to, cheer or tip them, you may trigger an alert that was made for that instance. There are plenty of streamers that don’t have alerts but most of them will have them on. After all, it feels good to trigger something fun, something quirky or a cool sound effect and animation while reading your name on the screen. It certainly feels better to do anything if you get rewarded for it, right? So, today I wanted to talk about the process of why alerts are fun, what you can do with them, and how you set them up, as well as whether or not you should use anonymous alerts for the likes of Follows!

So, for starters, the alert box is a widget hosted by Streamlabs, Streamelements and other platforms that allow streamers to create and set up their own alerts. To do that, you simply add a sound file, some text, and/or a gif to the alert and add the browser source to OBS. As to whether or not you should use one platform over the other, I can’t really help you out too much. There are a lot of people that like Streamelements more while I’ve only used Streamlabs before. I can’t really complain when it comes to Streamlabs and I found Streamelements a bit weird to use. People don’t typically talk about other platforms but I’m sure you’ll be fine with whatever you go for! No matter what site you chose, you’ll log in with your Twitch account, move to the Alert Box section and start creating whatever you need. You can even set up different alert boxes to separate your follower alert and your raid/sub/tip/bit/host alerts as I mentioned before and you can also have alternative alerts that trigger rarely based on your own preferences. There are a lot of options but I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

As for the question, why? – It really is just for that instant-gratification effect. When people click on a button, they get a reaction. Even if you don’t say “thanks for the follow”, your alert may say “Thanks for Following!” and people will like that. Usually, it will even have the name pop up on the screen which is something that a lot of people like… but… I personally don’t do that anymore.

So, a while ago I removed the {name} section of the follower alert because quite frankly, Twitch has a bunch of problems. You can create racist account names and have them be displayed in the chat or in the alert box but a streamer might get banned for not banning those people on-sight or for saying their name out loud by accident. It doesn’t make sense. So, to not give them a platform, I essentially ended up disabling that part of the Follows and Hosts, so that goebbelsfan88 or whoever decides to follow doesn’t get the gratification of their racist names getting displayed on the screen for a solid second. 

Another reason why you may not want to have that name pop up is to not call lurkers out. Lurkers are the backbone of Twitch and while there are a lot of people that enjoy chatting, there are many that just enjoy being around and listening in while doing other things, which is fine. Calling them out is considered rude or can be weird for lurkers. So, if they follow, I personally just tend to say “Thanks for the follow” and I don’t ask them how they are and whatnot until they end up speaking up in chat. After all, I want them to be as comfortable in my chat as possible, so I won’t force them to talk all of a sudden. 

Hence, I basically changed the alert to resemble that lurker-friendly nature of my stream and not give racists and edgelords a platform. Those are my two main reasons. Instead of saying “Thanks for following, X” and essentially calling them out, I just say “Thanks for following!” or “Thanks for the follow!” – I don’t think that that change really makes that much of a difference behaviour-wise but a huge difference in terms of keeping things comfortable. Obviously, you don’t have to acknowledge anything. You don’t have to say thank you. You can also completely ignore it or insult them or call them out or whatever… your stream is your stream after all. But I personally wouldn’t watch a stream if they did that, which is just my preference, but also a preference shared by others.

At last, links to some cool streamers:

itsTwiggie – kind of sparked the idea for this post due to her recent tweet where she mentioned her preference. I personally only removed the follower name from the alert because of racist names I’ve seen containing slurs, etc. but because of Twiggie, I stopped calling out names unless people spoke up in chat. Twiggie’s streams are super cool and fun. Can recommend her streams!

CaveMobster – has been one of the first streams that I’ve seen without the name on the screen. I never would have thought of removing the {name} part of the alert message if I hadn’t seen it there first. Cave is super nice and plays a lot of simulation-type games from Snowrunner to HouseFlipper and Farming Sim. She also played Darksouls 3 with a steering wheel… which’s impressive! Check her out.

Joecrastination – one of the inspirations that got me into streaming in the first place. He’s a friend of mine and super chill and cool. I personally find it rather easy to spend hours in his stream without any issues… but it’s also fun to just hang out and lurk there. Really can recommend him!

Anyways, that’s it for the post. How do you feel about this? Do you have any preference when you’re in Twitch streams? I find it kinda weird but I don’t mind being called out. My streams remove the “kinda weird” as I remove the username from the equation, essentially, and I think that people like that more now because of that change.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

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.

Alerts and Overlays on Twitch? Why?

Just recently Bel from Tales of the Aggronaut posted a piece on the “machinery of streaming” and about him being tired off widgets, overlays, alerts, and all of that stuff on the screen that is in the “meta” right now on Twitch and Co. Hence, I figured I’d write a piece about it and state my opinion on whether or not all of that stuff is needed… or rather why I agree with Bel in a lot of ways. Please check out his post as well! I’ll link it below, too!

As always, take everything here with lots of salt. I’m not the biggest streamer in the world but I do analyse and think about a lot of this stuff and talk with other streamers (that are partly bigger than myself) about stuff like this, so I like writing about it. How I run my channel/stream and what I like to do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only way of doing things. Keep that in mind and don’t get offended. Thanks!

So, uh, let’s start this from the beginning: What are alerts, overlays, bots and extensions?

Well, alerts, extensions and overlays are ways of creating a better or more interesting experience for viewers. As a streamer, you can opt-in for them or leave them out. Alerts pop up on the screen or play a sound and a gif or something when someone follows, subscribes, cheers, tips, hosts, raids, gifts subs, or buys merch. It’s a fun little thing that pops up on the screen every once in a while and it doesn’t do much harm, in my opinion, and helps since you don’t always watch the activity feed and since the sounds help you out. You can customise everything with services like stream-elements or streamlabs taking a load of work away from you on their sites respectively. Meanwhile, you can also use Twitch-integrated extensions that show up in your panels or when you hover over the screen. There are a lot of nice ones there that may get rid of frequent questions. When I used to stream Destiny 2, I used one of the extensions for that game so that people can see my gear, loadout and power level at any time without it distracting other viewers. You as a viewer could look it up and click it away whenever you wanted to, which was quite nice. There are also things like that for other games… and games like Ring of Pain or Dead Cells even have integrations that allow your Twitch audience to vote for your items, draw enemies (in the case of Ring of Pain, for instance), choose when to heal you (in Dead Cells’ case) or even appear as an enemy (in Domina, as an example) in the game… all of those things are funny gimmicks that can add to the experience.

Now, the problem with extensions is that I’ve seen some people use way too many. You can disable, rearrange them and enable them whenever you want… but some people just tend to forget and have everything up at the same time which can be very frustrating and distracting for users/viewers. In the same way, there are also overlays that streamers add in OBS itself where the most recent follower or the chat messages and whatever are shown. You can create your own overlay or play around with downloadable packs from the internet. I have a widget that makes chat messages appear on-screen for two seconds or something and one that makes emotes that are posted in the chat float around the screen for a second. Nothing big. I don’t like boasting with the biggest tip or the latest gift-subs or follows, which is why I don’t show those off on stream… but generally speaking, they can be good incentives for viewers to do that. 

My Starting Soon Screen with my Follower Goal (temporary) and the current song that is being played. Chat can be seen on the right if I’d type something now or if I was live… alerts pop up in the bottom middle section of the screen.

The idea behind that is that having a goal on stream that shows viewers that you’re very close to reaching a specific milestone or whatever is a somewhat subtle way of creating a “call to action”. You can use timers for that or have a goal on stream. I just recently mentioned that I’d play “Getting Over It” on stream if I were to hit 500 followers until my birthday (this upcoming Tuesday) and while I hate it… I actually added a follower goal and people that usually would just forget about it now basically hit that follow button. I don’t earn anything from it but it’s a milestone… half a thousand, you know? So I wanted to celebrate it and since we’re quite close, I figured… might as well put up that stupid goal. It’s small and somewhat subtle but still, it can be quite distracting or even obnoxious, which is why I don’t tend to do that often… if at all.

With alerts and these overlays, the good thing is that viewers have this “call of action” at all times present. Some people like being called out for subscribing and supporting the stream. Some people like seeing their name there and all of that. Hence, those people get rewarded. I personally don’t like it as I think it’s obnoxious and distracting to have a live-ticker of the latest events or whatever on stream at the same time. That’s also why I don’t like news shows on TV and read the news online since I don’t care about the weather and the stock market stuff that is obnoxiously being promoted below the reports, etc. In my streams, I hence have these occasional things going on at most… the chat messages showing basically lets people see that their messages did make it to my side and that I did not ignore them for a while but there’s just a delay… meanwhile, the emote-wall overlay is just a fun little gimmick that is quite cute and cool, in my opinion, when there are raids or breaks.

On top of that, you can also use bots to keep viewers engaged with *cough* gambling for loyalty points *cough* or to mess with each other and duel or whatever. There are lots of commands and scripts out there and all kinds of bots. A bot that I use, for instance, is called buttsbot and basically, it just hops into chat sometimes and butt-ifies messages… which can be fun at times. It’s silly and nothing big but it can be a bit of fun and create moments. A streamer I watch at times, Vicksy, once said that she added a bot to her stream because she’d sometimes be so busy with League of Legends that she couldn’t react to chat at all. Sometimes there is a lot of action that requires a bunch of focus… hence, the bot is there to give the viewers a bit more to do, like the occasional heist, duels, hugs, sound commands, and other features that enable viewers to have a nice time with her stream even when she’s not looking at chat right now.

In the screenshot here you can see the extensions I currently have. For a while I did pla ya lot of Destiny 2 and League of Legends as well, so I had those overlays activated for some quick info on the game. When I don’t play those games, I have them deactivated. So, they don’t clog up space or anything and people have a nice experience. Similarly, I can activate/deactivate the Ring of Pain/Dead Cells extension when I play those games on stream. Currently there are only three extensions active on my end. Two of which are in the panels below the stream (the Emote Panel that showcases emotes in a cool way) and the stream schedule (that I’ll probably just get rid of since Twitch added a schedule feature already… I’ll think about it). The Closed Captions that I have installed (see “Overlay 1”) appear on-screen, meaning that you’ll see them when you open the stream. You can turn it off without any issues, though, if you don’t need them. It’s just something that I installed for those viewers that don’t hear well or that can’t currently listen in or that are deaf. They may not be perfect and they may not catch every word I say… but it’s better than nothing and it makes the stream more accessible to people on Twitch that may also want to see my streams. Closed Captions are one of many examples for overlays that are actually great and somewhat important for content creators. These ones right there were created by Alejo Pereyra (Twitter | Twitch | Discord) and they are relatively easy to set up and, again, work quite well. You can customise the text/background colour, the location, the size or turn it off completely. It’s all up to you and I really like that about this specific extension!

The follower goal is a temporary thing but it will be there only until Tuesday and then it will be gone forever. I do have a gif of Magi (the necromancer) in the corner of the screen at all times as it belongs to my branding and then there’s also some emotes on some corners or gifs here and there just to fill out space. It could be distracting, potentially, if they were moving a whole lot but since they’re super slow-moving or since it’s minimal movement, really, I personally like it a lot and I only got good feedback about it so far, which is nice.

Apart from that, I either have a static purple background or a moving magical purple thing looping in the background instead of those fancy borders that everyone is using for their cams and whatnot. Bel also noted that it was fun in the beginning but eventually everyone was using the same things over and over again… or everyone is doing one thing because all the big streamers are doing it. Having chat up at all times, for instance, is something huge streamers can afford to do… small streamers with an inactive chat, however, could end up seeing it backfiring on them,… which is why my messages only appear for two seconds if at all to not cover any UI or game elements but still have that effect of “message is now being read” appear. I also have a tiny widget on stream that shows what music is playing when I’m on break or when I’m chatting… because I like crediting the musicians that allowed me to use their music when I mailed them. I feel like it’s less intrusive than widgets used by other streamers and overall, it’s a small thing and better than not crediting people. 

So, overall overlays, chatbots, extensions, alerts, widgets, and all of that can create opportunities for streamers but I don’t think they’re needed. You don’t need to invest in some professionally made ones, either. I’m currently working on reworking all of my alerts to fit the Crypt theme I’ve got going on with art and animations/gifs made by myself and all of that and while it’s a lot of work, it’s going to be absolutely worth it once I’m done with everything. All my alert sounds are recorded by myself (either some sound effect that I just spoke into the mic… or a silly song cover for the sub alerts)… meanwhile, I’m not using an overlay in the classic sense at all and am still happy with my layout. I’d like to show one of those animations I created but it doesn’t seem to work in WordPress… which is a bummer… I’ll post about it once it’s done!

The most important rule in streaming is, in my opinion, to create content that you – yourself – would watch and enjoy…

And,… well, the streams that I watch don’t have all the live tickers and overlays and all the different obnoxious things going on at all times… or rather I’d stop watching streams if they were constantly flashing in my eyes or if everything was overstimulating my brain and trying to grab attention from me in all sorts of corners when I’m effectively only there for a game and the streamer that is playing it… or the personality behind the screen… or the community feel in the chat… or the interactions.

Bel also goes into his experience and him wanting to go back to streaming and also him not wanting to go back, in a way… It’s a very interesting read that goes into different directions and I enjoyed reading it a lot. I’d highly recommend checking his post out!

Anyways, what do your layouts, alerts, and overlays look like? Do you use any at all? Do you use a bot? What kind of streams do you prefer? Ever got annoyed by obnoxious live-tickers of chat and whatnot? Have you set up closed captions, yet, and if not why not? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Lurking on Twitch

In my beginning days on Twitch, I did a lot of things wrong. I’m kind of cringing at that one time where I just started streaming and would chat in a stream before that before eventually saying “Okay, I’m going to stream now. See you later” only to then be told that that counts as self-promo and that other streamers would ban me for it. I didn’t quite get that as it wasn’t my intention and I immediately apologised for it. I just figured that basically everyone on Twitch is streaming… but yeah, I think I covered that in my first ever post on Streaming on Twitch and… yeah, it’s bad. Don’t do that. But apart from that, I also did other things wrong like keeping quiet when nobody is watching and suddenly starting to talk when the viewer count went from 0 to 1. I’d also look up people’s names when they were lurking and would call them out… and… that sucked. For obvious reasons: Hence, a post on lurkers.

Lurkers are the backbone of Twitch. A lurker is someone who’s counting as a viewer but who isn’t actively participating in the chat. By having the stream open, you count as a viewer, but if you have more than four streams open at the same time, your views don’t count at all for any of them. Hence, #NoMoreThanFour! 

A lurker may be doing something else while working on things or gaming or whatever. I tend to lurk in a lot of streams while writing blog posts, studying or while I cook, for instance, as it fills the silence with someone’s voice and potentially some nice conversations. At the same time, I get to support the streamers as viewers – an important thing for discovery on Twitch. 

Lurkers are the backbone of Twitch. Without them, you wouldn’t see as many streamers at the top every day. Sure, there’s also viewerbotting and embedded streams and that kind of stuff going on, but if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t using any of those, right? Lurkers are so important because they count as viewers even when you’re on your break or whatever. They may be sleeping or working or doing anything else, and they’ll still support you with that view, which is great. On Twitch there isn’t that much discoverability, really. There are categories and tags, for starters, as well as recommended channels… but generally speaking, you’ll browse a category for a stream to watch and you’ll probably look at the big viewer numbers first since a lot of people go that way. “When there are many other people, there must be good content. Meanwhile, there must be a reason that nobody is watching this one guy at the bottom.”

There is this so-called 5-viewer barrier on Twitch with a huge percentage of the streamers on Twitch being at 0-5 viewers on average. If you sort the Just Chatting streams from lowest to highest, for instance, it takes ages to get past these streamers with no viewers at all. If you open up one of their streams, it already catapults them so much in the rating… to the point where more viewers may find their streams. The more viewers there are, the easier it is to find the streamer with these numbers.

A lot of people on Reddit or in small streams complain about not getting any chatters on Twitch while they rant about lurkers and whatnot… and I don’t get it. I’ve seen it plenty of times when I was searching for new or smaller streamers, and it was a bit of an iffy situation as I didn’t feel that comfortable about supporting someone like that. If you’re not engaging, people don’t have a reason to chat with you, or do they? If they say hi and you don’t react to it for five minutes, they won’t stay either. If people want to support you or are just there to watch your gameplay, that’s 100% fine. You shouldn’t complain about it when people are lurking as they are enjoying what they’re seeing. Lurkshaming is such a petty thing, really… ugh.

As of late, it’s been hard for me to actually keep up with chats, as a lot of the streams that I’ve been watching have started to grow in size, resulting in a less pleasant experience for me. I still watch the content or lurk there, but I don’t chat anymore as I feel a bit overwhelmed with the chat messages that pop up and stuff. There are probably ways of stopping that overwhelming feeling from happening… but effectively there isn’t really a need to. After all, lurkers are gonna lurk. It’s in their nature. They’ll chat every now and then and get into the !lurk mode again when they feel like it.

And to keep lurkers in your chat, you need to try your best to make the experience good for them. Have a good grip on your audio balance, for instance, and keep your content engaging and fun to listen to are great ways of doing exactly that. Adding a noise gate to your microphone or a compressor, for instance, helps out as well. There is also a lot of other things you can do with your voice but I’ll post something on that another time. Generally speaking, you want your content to be good, even when people are only listening to it. At least I want that and a lot of people I’ve talked to wanted that. If that’s not your jam and you want to scream every five seconds in meme-language, you can do that… but some people may not like having to re-adjust the volume level all the time or being scared shitless after opening a stream to support someone small.

There are probably other things as well to make your stream more lurker-friendly but usually, you’ll figure stuff like that out as time goes on and as you know exactly what you want to do with your stream. 

What you really shouldn’t do is calling lurkers out by stalking their names and speaking to them specifically even though they haven’t talked in chat yet at all… that’s kind of weird and in a way… scary. I mean, you don’t like being stalked because that’s creepy as fuck, duh. Looking up someone’s name and calling them out is bad and shouldn’t be done. It scares people away. The examples I mentioned in the introduction of this post, for instance, are why I was stuck at 0 viewers for the first few streams: Nobody told me that that’s weird… and I didn’t know that it was weird to do that because I didn’t think that much about that behaviour.

But then again, take everything with a grain of salt. What I do with my stream and what others do with theirs, isn’t necessarily what you wanna do with yours. If you wanna scare people away by stalking them, do that. It’s your own thing after all. What is your experience? Do you shame lurkers or do you rant about them or are you like me and thank everyone who’s lurking without calling them out at the end of the stream? Did you ever call anyone out for lurking and if so, how did it go? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Twitch-Raids and Safety Measures

The other day I saw a tweet by some big YouTuber/Streamer that raided smaller streamers to support them. Obviously, big raids can be a great way to kickstart your community or allow you to show who you are to a lot of people… but for me personally, receiving a lot of people and jumping up from ten to a hundred viewers is more than frightening. At least, it used to be rather frightening when I just started out streaming and I wasn’t prepared for it at all.

In case you, dear reader, don’t know what a raid is, a raid is basically a feature on Twitch that allows you to bring your viewers over to a different streamer in order to support them, bring yourself out there, potentially “network” (I hate that word) and to share some love. To do so, you enter “/raid [streamername]” into the chat and wait until the timer ticks down. Once it’s up, you end your stream and you’re on your way to the target streamer’s channel. Their stream and chat is now shown on your channel and your viewers are over there now. Now, if the streamer in question raids as well, your viewers (if they are still there) will also be on their way to the next streamer. That’s what people call a Raid Train. 

The issue is that there are times when people do not wish to support you but actually have a bad intention in mind. There has been a streamer (that now is banned) who encouraged his community to “get banned” in the target streamer’s chat by spamming “fuck me” over and over again. The raided streamer was female, which didn’t make the situation better. Sexually harassing anyone on Twitch is a no-go but the streamer that raided her fully knew that (and I’m quoting here) “This is gonna be bad” while laughing.

GamerEarthJen (check her out! She’s a gem!) handled the situation really well by ignoring the messages in chat and (with the help of her mods) banning the trolls. While these instances can be quite bad, though, they are rather rare, from what I’ve heard. Hate Raids like that aren’t allowed on Twitch and Twitch themselves took action quite quickly against the streamer that incited all of this.

Now, to prepare for instances like that, you can visit your dashboard on Twitch, go into the Settings section, click on “Stream” and then select your settings for Raids. You can allow all raids (like me here) or only allow raids from friends, teammates, and followed channels (aka people you know)… or you block all raids to prevent anyone from raiding you. I feel like blocking all raids is quite radical in a way while only allowing certain people to raid you limit potentially meeting new friends, so I try to not block all of them… but in case you want to do that, there is an option for it.

Two other features that Twitch has are Followers-Only Chat and Slow-Mode. In case of a negative experience with raids, you can turn on Followers-Only Chat in your chat settings (the cog-symbol at the chatbox) to activate it. There you can select the time that people need to follow you to be able to chat. I wouldn’t do this though. 

The issue with Followers-Only Chat is that new people that actually want to participate in the chat are forced to follow you, which I often would perceive as a “dick-move to get easy followers”. Normal people on Twitch will most likely get scared off by Followers-Only Chat in smaller streams. It makes sense for big streamers with thousands of viewers… but when you don’t have many viewers, the Followers-Only Chat feature hinders your growth. 

The Slow-Mode, however, is an excellent feature. Not only does it allow you to moderate your chat better by limiting the messages that people can send within seconds to minutes, but it also lets you keep up with chat when it gets a bit overwhelming. I’d recommend activating this at the beginning if you feel like chat is getting overwhelming after a raid. Usually, people hop off rather fast or lurk after the raid, so you can deactivate it later on. If you were to receive a 200-man raid or something along those lines when you average five people, that can – after all – be rather overwhelming and stressful. Alas, the Slow-Mode is a great way to slow down the chat (duh).

Another in-built feature on Twitch is the Automod. It’s found in the Dashboard > Settings > Moderation Tab right at the top. You can customise the filtering you accept, allow or prohibit. Generally speaking, I’d recommend utilizing AutoMod, although it sometimes doesn’t allow phrases like “How” in the chat. In those cases, you’ll just accept/permit it in the chat. Quite easy-going and rather intuitive to use. I currently have it set up to Level 1 since I run a mature stream and swearing is allowed. I noticed that sometimes AutoMod can be a bit harsh on trivial things. Profanity is no biggie and if people are being excessive about it, I can tell them off or time them out myself. I have some filtering enabled for the derogative terms or “Discrimination” as it’s called here as I want to create a safe environment. Again, I could probably crank this up quite a lot higher but since I do have an active mod that I trust and appreciate and since I can also time people out myself, I set it up like this. If it doesn’t work out for ya, you can also just change the settings more easily.

Now, apart from that, you can also change your alerts to prepare for big raids. If you were to hear your Follow-alert 100 times after receiving a raid or after being botted by someone, then you’d probably get frustrated or annoyed quite a lot, especially as potential tips, cheers, subs, hosts, raids, and gift subs would also be put further back in line, resulting in you not being able to thank them in time, potentially. Hence, I’d recommend separating the alert box for Follows and the alert box for everything else for a more pleasant experience. 

I personally am using Streamlabs’ Alert Box for my alerts and can do that rather easily. You simply need one alert box link with all interactions but the Follows enabled… and one alert box link with only the Follows enabled. This way, you’ll have two browser sources in your sources. The good thing about this is that if you have too many followers all of a sudden, you can just mute/disable the follower-alert by clicking the eye-symbol in the sources. That way they won’t appear or make any sounds anymore. After the raid, once everything has settled down, you can also activate it again without any issues. I personally like this idea as it enables you to deal with different “threats” rather quickly. 

Obviously, you shouldn’t be afraid of Raids. These are just precautions or safety measures to deal with them in the worst case scenario that a huge raid shuts down your stream or overwhelms you. I’d recommend doing that follow-thing and have Slow-Mode and Auto-Mod at your disposal when needed. The Raid Settings and the Followers-Only Chat aren’t needed at all, in my opinion, unless of course, you’re a bigger streamer or you don’t want raids/chatters for whatever reason. If you receive a hate raid, simply ignore and ban them, before reporting them to Twitch later on. If you receive a nice raid by someone, then thank them and introduce yourself. Raids aren’t inherently bad and you shouldn’t be afraid of the worst-case-scenario. In my opinion, though, you should still potentially prepare for that one. Just in case.

Do you have any other tips and measures for hate raids or other negative interactions like that in place? A friend of mine got botted once (that’s where someone buys a lot of followers for a streamer to annoy them by playing the follower alert a lot) and used this specific thing to gain control of the situation and deal with it quickly. I feel like she handled that rather well and thought more people should know about the possibility and opportunity there.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

PogChamp’s not so PogChamp?

Not too long ago, Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez’ face got removed from the popular Twitch-Emote “PogChamp” in response to him inciting violence with a tweet during the Capitol Riots. There also have been other things that he got called out for in the past but Twitch specifically talked about this incident and none of the previous one, like the far-right conspiracies and the misinformation he spread on Covid-19 and the pandemic. Either way, I didn’t want to talk about that specific thing. That’s old news at this point, I guess.

I’d rather like to talk about the implementation of a daily PogChamp emote that was submitted by the community that would showcase the community on Twitch more by featuring a different content creator/streamer every single day. This was lovely as it featured people that are more fit to represent Twitch compared to someone who’d rather incite and provoke more violence during difficult times than using his platform to help. After the removal of PogChamp, someone suggested that there’d be a daily or random PogChamp that would be user-submitted and Twitch just went with it, featuring lovely streamers such as AshleyRoboto, Critical Brad, and Deere.

This feature ended up causing a lot of trouble, however, with Critical Bard receiving a lot of negative and toxic attention from trolls, racists, and death threats. Obviously, something like this can be an opportunity for the Twitch community to get to know their streamers more and it can even lead to people discovering new content creators… but it also allows trolls and bigots to bring hate speech to places they wouldn’t have found otherwise. Not to say that there can’t be any love and support for streamers through this feature… it just also has the risk of bringing people over to a place where they can do more harm than good, which sucks.

And obviously, that wouldn’t be a problem if Twitch had a handle on their platform but people can still create racist usernames or express hate speech with no issues at all. While you can’t put into your bio that you’ve got autism, anyone and everyone can call you an autist, the r-word, the n-word and anything they want to without any issues. The only protection that Twitch offers is Automod which… also blocks “How” and “Are” sometimes, which is weird.

I’m sure Twitch is trying to act as if they’re trying but instead, they decided to stop announcing who’s featured as the daily PogChamp after only ten days, making it virtually impossible to find them, alas just giving them no discoverability at all.

And now, the PogChamp global emote got replaced by KomodoHype altogether. I like KomodoHype, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t know why we need a “PogChamp” but not a trans tag or rule-enforcement for viewers. I don’t get why we need something silly like a global emote having two names while not having any discoverability for smaller streamers and while not having any rules in place that stop a user from creating hateful usernames that get potentially shouted out via alerts or TTS.

In a way, this could have been an opportunity to show love to a content creator that is positive and loving and could very much be the face of Twitch, like AshleyRoboto or Deere or Critical Bard, that isn’t as big as those huge streamers with toxic communities. The removal of PogChamp altogether could also have been a nice idea. Why do we need that emote anyways if the people – that use it so much and get so worked up about it – end up attacking and threatening featured content creators for various reasons. Why do we support that sort of behaviour instead of getting rid of it? Well, money. If Twitch starts banning trolls and bigots now, there’d be less money for them. At the same time, it’ll cost way too much to create a working system of filters and mechanisms to get rid of the trash on Twitch. Money rules the world.

And just posting about this whole thing makes it easy for me to understand why so many people think that Twitch is a truly toxic place. I’m blessed to be in a bubble of wholesome and inclusive streamers that produce good content but also are there for their communities and who enlighten these dark times, one stream at a time. I’m blessed to be able to make so many great friends through streaming and through watching streams on Twitch while not having to experience any form of bigotry apart from the occasional idiot who barges into a stream only to get banned. But stories like this only further enable people’s thoughts and prejudices on Twitch and the community on there. Stories like the one of Gootecks only further enable people to think that everyone on this platform must be a fanatic that would threaten a black person because they don’t look like a far-right conspiracy theorist. I don’t know.

Alas, good riddance to PogChamp and all the bigotry associated with it for now. Hopefully, the removal of the daily system will bring more good than harm… I hope that the toxic amalgamation of 4channers, toxic reditors and 14-year-olds that don’t realise that racism is just racism and not “b l a c k h u m o u r” eventually stops to exist. And again, praise the Komodo, or something.

Any thoughts on this? Let me know.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Streaming on Twitch – Quality and Consistency

I haven’t done one of these posts in ages, so, today we’re talking about Growth on Twitch! Sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy!

Warning: There are cat pictures. If you don’t like cats or if you’re afraid of them, you’ve been warned. There is a cat btw that needs some help and you can find his gofundme campaign over here and it would mean the world to me if you could maybe share it so that more people are aware of Aikka. Cancer sucks and our feline friends don’t even know about why it’s hurting or why things are happening. Regardless of that, thank you!

Growth is something that a lot of people aim for when it comes to Streaming. Naturally, if you’re doing your best, you want others to appreciate that and you want “your best” to be reflected in the numbers. So, what is “the secret” to growth on Twitch? Well, in my opinion, there isn’t really much of a secret there. All you need is Quality and Consistency.

Quality means that your streams or your “content” are pleasing and entertaining to watch. People enjoy what you do because it is good content, so naturally, you grow from that. You create it, they share it with others, recommend it and you grow. Part of the “quality” is also the video and audio quality. If your microphone is bad, people won’t be able to hear you or enjoy it as much. Background noises and distracting sounds can hinder the quality, and alas your growth. The same thing goes for a bad internet connection or bad commentary. More on that later.

Consistency is about the fluctuations in your quality but also about your schedule. Today’s stream could be 10/10 but maybe tomorrow, you’re tired and you end up creating bad content that is maybe just 4/10. Creating good content consistently means that people will appreciate it more because they can rely on you “delivering” consistently. If you stick to a schedule, people will know when and where to find your content. If you’re constantly late or if you skip out on days, you’re hindering yourself. If your streams take place at different times every day, you end up hindering yourself as well. People won’t be able to tune in more often and that sucks and just makes people a rare sight.

There is more to growth than that obviously, especially because of the limited discoverability, but for this post, I wanted to focus on how to improve your quality and how to keep up with the consistency in the best way possible. Discoverability will be a topic in a later post in the series, though, so stay tuned for that.

Here’s a picture of Aikka, the cat I mentioned above!

Quality generally is subjective, obviously. There are many kinds of streamers out there and there are many kinds of viewers. Some people watch streams for the games featured in them. The Dark Souls community on Twitch is a great example of this: No matter how good your stream is, they most likely will not watch any of your other played games unless they are also souls-likes. At least, it’s very hard to convince them to migrate to those other stream categories. Some people watch streamers for the skill they have. A good example of this would be people that follow E-Sport Pros on Twitch to maybe get better at League of Legends or see some sick plays. Again, that’s totally fine. And then there are people like me that tend to watch people for the personality that they add to a game. I don’t care if people play Subnautica or not… I’m there for the person behind the screen in the community… and that’s the kind of stream, I try to build as well. The kind of stream that is more community-based in which interaction with chat is more important. 

Naturally, you don’t have to be like me or run your stream like me but I’d like to give advice on what I’ve seen a lot of people do and what a lot of people (including me) struggle(d) with. 

For starters, your hardware doesn’t matter. You’ll need a good internet connection and something that can run your game if you wanna do gameplay. You can stream on your phone as well and don’t need to worry about anything when you do that, usually. You don’t need a microphone if you don’t want to talk. You don’t need a cam if you don’t wanna show yourself. A camera can help attract people but it can also bring a lot of trolls to your stream or make you a target. The bare minimum for a stream is really just a device to stream on and something to stream. 

Getting a $7k microphone with Go-XLR and whatever isn’t going to help you produce good content. It may help with the audio quality but it won’t be of any use if you don’t talk. Similarly, you can have a bad microphone but still be really entertaining. Your content is what’s important. Nobody cares about your hardware! 

What I try to do in my streams is to constantly narrate whatever I’m doing. Try talking at all times to not let any dead air ruin your quality. Try to give insights as to why you’re doing something or as to what your thinking. Try stirring up a conversation or maybe talk about recent things that you’ve been interested in. 

What attracts people generally is passion. Do you watch anime? Talk about shows you watch. Do you love Indie Bands? Talk about your latest discoveries! You’re really good at cooking, so why don’t you try to talk about this new recipe you tried out? If you’re passionate about a subject, you can attract people to your space: Like-minded people. Your community, essentially, makes it easier for you when they like similar things about as you. 

Your audio quality can be bad at first but what matters is that you actually use your microphone if you use one. It’s important to be there. You’re not playing games alone, you’re showing them to potential other people and you’re broadcasting live, right now, on Twitch! I mean… maybe not right now, but you get what I mean.

Consistency is the other thing I mentioned before. Due to timezones, you won’t be able to catch everyone at the same time. If you stream in the evenings, you may not catch people to the East of you but more from the West. If you stream in the mornings, you may not catch people to the West of you but may very much catch people from the East of you. It’s all a matter of what works for you as there are always people awake at any time. Heck, sometimes I browse through Twitch and find streams when I can’t sleep at 2 in the morning, ALTHOUGH I’d never catch them usually. 

This is Dougal, the cat owned by Hudson who you can find over here on GSRR! Please check their blog out!

Don’t shape your schedule around your viewers but rather your viewers around your schedule. I stream in the mornings before uni starts or in the afternoon after my classes. If I stream in the evenings, I may screw my sleep schedule, so that’s something to pay attention to. After work, you may be less energetic and maybe even frustrated, so that can be bad for it… but in the end, it’s a matter of trial and error. Try looking at yourself and see what works best for you. What makes you the happiest? 

The other thing about schedules is that you have to make sure to limit your stream days and stream times in some way. You can’t be live 24/7. Not everyone can watch you for that long. Rather, you may switch to three to five stream days instead with streams that go for three to six hours, so that you don’t burn out too much. Streaming is something that I look forward to and I look forward to watching streams that I couldn’t watch for three days. If I were able to see a streamer every day, I’d think that I can “check them out another time”… and then I just never return because there is always something else. Your stream is an event of sorts and if it’s rarer, it can be something that people look forward to. 

As an example here, my current schedule is set to three guaranteed days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It works best for me that way. The other days are quite busy with RL-stuff but I may chuck in another stream into that with Art or Chatting when I finish stuff faster. This schedule works best for me as it allows me to focus on making those weekend streams special while preparing things for them during the weekdays!

Now, the other issue is the consistency of your quality: You want to deliver the best content in every stream and be there on-time, right? Well, then you’ll have to prepare for streams and make revisions, think about how a stream went and then change what bothered you. I’d recommend looking at your own VOD for that and see if you notice anything. Asking a mod or a friend for feedback can help, too! Be critical with yourself and do better next time! Obviously, you can’t give 100% every day but I think that it’s important to at least try to in order to grow more. 

A great example of that would be XilentFlex or Flex for short. Whenever I go there, I have a blast. Sometimes, there are a lot of people or I don’t like the game, so I tend to lurk more… but most of the time, I tend to enjoy my time there more than anywhere else because it’s cosy AF and wholesome. I don’t ever get “bad stream” vibes when I go there because the quality is just so good every time. Alas, I come to hang out more often or actively seek out his streams to watch them. Sometimes, I even make time for that stream! That’s how consistent Flex is with his quality!

But either way, that’s it really for the post. I feel like these two points are important when it comes to streaming. Obviously, you can take anything I say with a lot of salt because I’m a small streamer myself but this is just an opinion and it’s based on my experience as well as conversations with bigger streamers than me. Basically, these blog posts will be accumulated experience on Twitch-Streaming documented in blog-form. Next time, I will probably make a post on how to use your voice and some practices. Looking forward to writing it!

Thanks a lot for reading today’s post! Thanks a lot to Noom for allowing me to use his cat pic here and to Hudson for allowing me to use their cat pic for this post! You guys rock!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

One year of streaming on Twitch

Today’s the 19th of November and this day is special to me as it marked the day that one of my favourite hobbies, streaming, started. In the beginning, I just wanted to do it for the sake of trying it out and honestly, I had low hopes as to whether or not I’m going to continue doing it for a long time and after many technical issues and changes, I’m more than happy, after a whole year of streaming, to announce that I love it and that I’m happy with what I’m doing on this platform called Twitch and that I’m looking forward to the future and to what I’ll be doing on this platform. 

Now, to celebrate occasions like these, I used to do 24-hour-streams and stuff like that but I know that I’m not able to do that anymore due to the bitrate issues that I have in the afternoon and the evening. Also, it’s not the healthiest thing to do and while I was thinking of doing two twelve-hour-streams, I thought to myself that I should maybe borrow some inspirations from other great streamers that have inspired me to do this in the first place. Alas, in a similar fashion to other streamers, I’ll keep the celebration simple. 

We’ll be live on Saturday, the 21st of November, at 9 AM GMT, for a total of 12 hours! During those twelve hours of fun and necromancy, we’re going to perform a vast amount of rituals to summon the dead and raise hell, by giving away games, playing Jackbox and other titles, and doing some Twitch Sings. We’re also going to talk about a lot of things, like the games we played and vote on a lot of things using the poll-feature. Apart from that, we’ll review one year worth of clips and chat and maybe do some more Art as the time goes on. 

If you haven’t already, join the Discord server to stay up-to-date and bond with other undead and living, alike! 

Either way, I hope you’re having a fantastical day and that you’re doing alright. I have yet to finish editing the one-year-of-blogging-post that I have in my drafts, so look out for that one.

Cheers!

The “How are you?” controversy and Fleeksie

Today a tweet by Twitch streamer “Fleeksie” blew up and went viral, causing a relatively one-sided discussion about small talk, streamer-to-chat-interaction and toxicity. I usually wouldn’t write about this since it’s just gonna pass after a day or two at max anyways but I thought it would be an interesting topic for a blog post.

Either way, first things first: What happened?
On September 6th, Fleeksie tweeted the following thread where she effectively complains about people coming to her stream and asking how she’s doing. While it’s somewhat understandable that she, as a bigger streamer, gets that question a lot throughout one stream I don’t think that this is the right approach to the problem. Obviously, she’s entitled to her own opinion and she can think and say whatever she wants (to a degree) but I don’t think that her response to this “problem” is valid at all, which is my opinion to which I’m entitled, obviously.

The “problem” at hand is the fact that people tend to ask a question at times and when other people join in later they may ask the same question as well not knowing that it was asked already before, resulting in the streamer answering the same question over and over again. This can range from a simple “How are you?” to stuff related to the stream or the content, like “Does Zoe’s Q proc her passive twice?” – a question that Vicksy has to answer relatively often throughout every stream.

My stance on this matter is that streams that are community-focused often rely on a little bit of Small Talk to get a conversation going. People joining in and being curious about your day or about your well-being is never bad – on the contrary, this opens up potential other topics like your job, your hobbies, your stream so far, games you’ve been playing, news you’ve heard about and other things. On top of that, you can ask others how they have been (which I do anyway, even if I didn’t get that question), resulting in you finding out things about your viewers, their well-being, job, hobbies and other things that they have done/read/heard, etc. You can then essentially just latch on to any of those conversation points to never run out of topics.

Hence, I wouldn’t say that Small Talk is essential to streaming but it is not the worst thing ever either and if anything it can actually help you.

Back to Fleeksie, she continues saying that she feels puke coming up whenever she reads “I’m good how are you?”. It’s apparently painful to respond to that question. Even if this physical reaction to a harmless question was real, being rude to others wouldn’t solve it at all.
To solve this “issue”, streamers could introduce a chat rule saying that you aren’t allowed to ask how the streamer is doing. It’s that simple. Especially with mods, you can just time people out or ban them when they do that and you’re fine. It’s not going to be necessarily helpful to do so, though, as people getting timed out for formalities or small talk is just stupid.

And as per usual, Twitter… was Twitter. The tweet went viral and all kinds of people ended up either meme-ing about it, asking her how she’s doing… or they had constructive criticism, saying that they personally don’t agree… or they were just toxic. But Fleeskie also didn’t make things better, constantly tweeting about how she’s not getting scratched by it while also still going on about it, showing that it affects her. And while I don’t agree with her attitude and how she’s handling the situation, I don’t think it’s alright for people to straight-up attack her. Even when she’s now tweeting about how “hating small talk is controversial”, trying to fix the narrative… It’s not about “hating small talk”, it’s about making it sound as if every single streamer in the world thinks that way and as if every single viewer in the world is doing it wrong. It’s about biting the hand that feeds you. It’s about acting as if you’re entitled to people’s kindness and interest in and for you. That’s what’s ticking people off and that’s why people are getting so agitated about this.

If you cannot deal with people caring about you or people asking you something as simple as “how are you”, then Streaming on Twitch may not be the best thing to do since a lot of people ask questions and talk to the chat/streamer at times. I struggle with conversations, people and all of that stuff all the time, being an autist, but I’d never go as far as to attack others for being curious or for being nice. I don’t think that you should bite the hand that feeds you. I don’t think that attacking others for essentially nothing is the way to go, and I don’t think that being rude to people for asking a question that others have asked before is going to solve anything at all.

Twitch is currently in a peculiar state already. There are a lot of users and streamers that are just way too toxic or that harass, bully and attack others, on a whim. Especially women and people of colour have it rough on Twitch and I don’t think that this kind of stuff is going to help the case. Call me a hippie, a dreamer or even a “Gutmensch”, but I believe that there’s one good person for every ten people and that kindness and reason are able to solve more problems than rudeness and madness. Being nice to people and reporting offenders is a better way to handle things compared to attacking people that attacked you or being rude to people that were trying to be nice.

And since this is the internet, it’s only understandable that there’s always going to be some person (or rather a lot) that is really toxic… but it’d be great if there were more people out there that would promote positivity, respect, kindness and inclusiveness so that people would have a place to return to from all of that toxicity. I don’t want to watch a stream after having had a bad day only to see that I’m not welcome or that I’m being treated badly. I’d rather see others building each other up and us all having a good time.

But maybe that’s just me. Do you have any thoughts on this matter? What’s your stance on small talk in Twitch streams? Would you handle this any different?

#TwitchBlackout and how I handled it

Just recently I wrote about #TwitchBlackout and my issues with it. On Wednesday, the 24th, I actually went live and talked with my community about different issues and, here’s how that went. 

So, at first, I thought I’d talk about the issues that are currently in the focus and why I think talking about it is better than not streaming for one day to my three to four regulars. My stream would start with the usual Just Chatting and would then slowly move into a discussion with information and the links I provided and all of that.

I was fearing that a few things could happen:

  • 1. People might not like these “heavier topics” and would just leave, resulting in us not really spreading awareness. 
  • > This wasn’t the case. In fact, a lot of people new ones and regulars talked about their experiences and shared a bit of stories. One viewer, in particular, mentioned that he’s from Romania and how there’s still a fair bit of racism against “gipsies” (don’t like the term) and how being LGBQTIA+ isn’t acceptable at all. 
  • 2. I feared that the discussion would drag on and people wouldn’t like it too much or wouldn’t appreciate my input or other people’s inputs.
  • > This wasn’t the case… luckily, everyone took part in it and most people agreed with my views that staying silent is stupid and that Twitch won’t take that much of a punch when a bunch of small streamers stop streaming all of a sudden for ONE DAY. 
  • 3. Someone would be offended that someone as privileged as me is talking about those issues, being male and white.
  • > I talked about racism in Germany and that my parents were refugees, too. I talked about the fact that you’re always “the different one” and that people don’t necessarily accept you for who you are but always see you as “that other guy”, and a lot of other people talked about that as well. So that was nice, actually. 
  • 4. This would become a One-Time-Thing and would never happen again on Stream…
  • > I’m going to continue the discussions in the future. But more about that later.
  • 5. People would make it about me, suddenly. 
  • > This did happen at one point. Someone said that it’s good that I’m doing that, so I instantly refused to accept that. It’s not about me. It’s about discrimination, harassment, assault and abuse victims and survivors in the Streaming and Gaming industry. More about that later as well.

So, the discussion was rather fun and quite enlightening. We shared experiences and opinions. We talked for about an hour in total before heading into Children of Morta, a game I’m revisiting shortly for a post. During the gameplay, we still talked about it, so that worked out fine. And in the end, it has been a lot of fun and the links I shared were copied by other people to use on their streams as well. 

Spread awareness. Don’t go silent. 

Now, regarding my 4th point from earlier:

I don’t want this to be something that I do only once. I’d like to discuss these things more often in the next few streams and then see what days are the best to talk about issues like that and about discrimination, sexism or socio-critical stuff like toxic masculinity, TERFs, and other stuff. I feel like that would be the better way to handle this. We could talk about heavier topics on Wednesdays for instance while having mediocre gameplay in the background. And if the demand is there, I’d maybe have it twice per week where we talk about that stuff, discuss different point of views and try to spread awareness on other things. 

And, regarding the 5th point: 

I don’t want this to be about myself. I’m not constantly getting harassed by people. I’ve seen people creeping in female streamers’ chats so often, asking for silicone moulds of the shape of their feet and videos of them pumping the pedals or donating bits or money to get other advances. Usually, they get made fun of but I’ve also seen people not react too well about that. At the same time, there’s also a ton of people of colour on Twitch that get harassed for being PoC. I can’t say that I get sexually harassed on Twitch or that I get harassed for being German with a migration background. I can’t say that I’m getting bullied or attacked by people. I didn’t get assaulted or catcalled or even attacked in public yet for being male or “looking pretty”. 

I’m not a fan of the “other people suffer more” or “kids in Africa are starving, so you shouldn’t complain” mentality. I don’t think that people should necessarily do that. I don’t think that that’s the right thing to do at all. But in this case, it really isn’t about me. I don’t want to spread awareness because “I’m such a nice guy” or “because I’m white and need to help others”. I just want to take part in spreading awareness and talk about it, hear other people’s views. 

So, that’s essentially why I hate that “thanks for doing this” that I got there. No. Just don’t. It should be normal for people to talk about that stuff. And sexism and harassment isn’t exactly something new either. The important things jut tend to get put into focus over time. 

People forgot about the locust plague in Africa after COVID broke out. People forgot about COVID when the riots in the United States happened. People forgot about BLM and the riots when people came out with their stories now. And I know that right now people are shitting on me and others for going live. I get it. But in three weeks nobody is going to give a fuck about it since Trump will have done something stupid again. In Stuttgart there’s riots as well right now and people will forget about it once the AfD has done something racist again. 

So, that’s what I’d like to do differently in my streams. I’ll try to talk about more serious things every Wednesday and we’ll have discussions while playing Hollow Knight or some Roguelike or something. Idk. 

And I feel like the stream went well overall and I’m happy that the people in my community actually cared enough about the topics and didn’t flame me for being a white male (being bi or migration background doesn’t matter in that case, I’ve heard), so that was nice. 

And I’m thankful for that. It worked out well and all the anxiety I felt right before the stream… just vanished in a go when I saw the usual faces participate in the stream and actually engage in the topic… and well, just yesterday we had a bit of a discussion on racism and discrimination based on being a muslim or, in the case of a viewer, being arabic.

It was really insightful and I could share my fair bits on how Europe is also shitty in that regard with all kinds of “right-wing parties” spreading in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries… parties that are not good at all and that always paint a bad picture on certain groups of people… and it was a lovely discussion. It didn’t turn into something one-sided or anything like that. We were able to talk about negativity and later even got into relationship stuff and, honestly, I don’t even know how but we got really deep into all kinds of topics and that’s something I’d like to turn into a more common thing.

Thanks a ton to my regulars there for actually caring about the topics and helping me with actually spreading awareness. This is not going to be a one-time-thing. I want to spread awareness on a lot of things and I wanna talk about these things without anyone having to fear their opinions, as long as they don’t harm others.

Thanks a lot.

Cheers

Going silent to spread awareness? Thoughts on #TwitchBlackout

In this post, I’m talking about why exactly I feel like the blackout-movement isn’t exactly working and what would be better. Sadly a lot of the things that I wanted to say were already put into less words in a lot better way by Lowco, so I’ve linked her video down there and tried to talk about something else in this post. 🙂 Please check out @Lowco2525!

It’s a small movement with little to no force behind it. A view thousand people stopping to stream is not going to bring down the bad guys. There are demands that are being heard but I am not a fan of the “silent protest” treatment that we’re supposed to give to Twitch. 

Be loud! Be angry! Make yourself heard!

Spread awareness!

Don’t go silent. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, the TwitchBlackout “trend” was a movement in support of #BLM where you don’t stream on Tuesdays and essentially try to host/support POC on Twitch. I didn’t participate for the same reason that I’m not participating in the movement now. 

made by @badluckbuddha

Right now, it’s to make ourselves heard about the harassment and bullying as well as the sexual assault and the abuse of power that is happening in the Streaming/Gaming industry. Women are sharing their stories once again talking about their abusers and the predators that haunt them to this day. And now people won’t stream today (the 24th of June) because… that spreads awareness? 

I’ve read plenty of these stories and it’s saddening and sickening to hear about what these victims and survivors have been through.

What a movement like this needs is for people to SPREAD AWARENESS by NOT GOING SILENT. How does one spread awareness? Well, talk to people, educate them, spread resources and links about the issues. 

Twitch-streamer Lowco summarized the issues that she has with the movement quite well in a recent video that I’d recommend checking out as well. She also put out a google doc with all kinds of important resources, links and information, so check that out as well.

I’ll set up a command with this doc so that people can educate themselves and, if they want to, support charity foundations that help assault victims. I’ll talk about it. I’ll try to show my support with a logo on the screen. That’s how I’ll try to spread awareness. By not being live I’ll just mess with my viewers. I won’t be able to spread anything. I won’t be heard. I’d be silent. 

Don’t go silent. Be heard. Be loud. 

That’s my opinion at least. And while I think that a movement like that is alright… I don’t think it’s perfect. 

There is no force behind it that pushes forward.

The tweet by @SirKatelyn that I could find was from two days ago, so there was barely any time to organize it and from what I’ve seen most “bigger streamers” that I follow don’t take part in it either. 

So overall, I’m not a fan of it. I feel like it’s pointless and harms any movement more than it helps.

I’d rather spread awareness for a longer period of time while making sure that my viewers (that possibly could get harassed somewhere else for being female or lgbtqia+ or whatever) have some place to return to where they are safe. I’d rather have that going for me than a silent, black screen with some information or whatever and no context.

How to not-promote your channel on Twitch

So you created an account as well now, eh? Welcome to Twitch! It’s a lovely platform with a bunch of issues but you haven’t heard about those yet since you’ve only been viewing people from afar or you’ve heard about all those big Twitch streamers before, so you’re trying to be like that! Maybe you’re also just new to all of this and thinking about trying it out yourself… and alas, you end up setting up OBS, hitting that “Go Live” button and playing a game… by yourself… while nobody is there. 

And alas, you’re wondering: Why is nobody watching you? 

Clearly, it can’t be you as you’re awesome! Clearly, it can’t be the category as Fortnite is popular with a ton of streamers playing it and a market that seems to be as deep as the players’ parents’ bank deposits… and clearly, it can’t be your settings since you watched plenty of tutorials before even creating a brand or anything like that!

Pet picture provided by the lovely MuddChi! Check her stream out 🙂

So you decide to watch other streamers and ask them what you’re doing wrong… and you got banned! Uh… what? Rude! Screw you! Guess we’ll go somewhere else and ask about the best obs settings for your stream and… oh, weird… you can’t chat anymore for another…. 8 HOURS?! WHAT?! It must be a bug! Let’s try somewhere else… you say Hello and have a nice convo going and before you get to ask about your initial question, you see that it’s time to go live again. You drop a follow to that streamer and say your farewells. “Going to stream now myself! See you another time!” – and BAM! The banhammer has spoken, for you’ve done the verboten! (forbidden… in German… I tried!)

So, this post is about Twitch Etiquette and promotion/networking. The Do’s and Don’t’s! The way to go and the way to not go! That kinda thing! 

First of all, that person up there… could’ve been anyone! I once mentioned my stream somewhere by accident as I was super excited and while I didn’t get banned, I received a warning that people consider that as “self-promotion” which people don’t like to see. I wasn’t aware of that at all at the time and while it wasn’t my intention to self-advertise myself, I can see how it could have very much come across like that! Alas, I’d say that people should never mention their streams in other streams unless specifically asked about it. 

Streamer: “Do you stream?” – You: “Ah, yes, actually, I do!” – […]

You don’t want to be the person to bring it up… in another person’s stream. Just like you don’t bring a sub from SubWays to BurgerKing! You just don’t do that kind of thing. It’s considered rude and you’re most likely going to get kicked out for so blatantly promoting a different store. 

“But, Magi,…”, you may interrupt, “what if I actually want to ask a streamer about something?”

Well, then, new Twitch-Person, I’d recommend DMs to you! Chat with the streamer in their chat, get to know them. Ask them questions about their stream (also quite helpful) without bringing up your stream (again, nogo!) and then you later message them on Twitter or Discord. If it’s a smaller streamer, with less than three digits of viewers, they will reply to you and probably quite fast as well! Off-stream they won’t bite off your head or whatever. I’m sure they’ll provide you with links, guides, screenshots, etc. 

Sunflower – picture provided by Threadandbearit! Check them out!

A while ago someone came to my stream and asked something about his streams and while I initially thought of banning that person for self-promoting, I thought it’s an easy topic to talk about and that it may be quite interesting for others. The person ended up not only donating money to me (which I didn’t ask for but he did it anyways while I was away) but also joining our community and they even raided me once with their community, which is lovely. In the end, helping them helped me but usually, they’d get banned for that kinda stuff. That was also the first advice I gave to him: Don’t ask about your stream on other people’s channel. People consider it rude and quite often get rather pissed off about it. Quite often they ban people for that even if it’s not meant in a harmful way.

Now, so far I’ve only talked about the less rude people that have good intentions and don’t want to promote their stream… but some people just suck. Sometimes people come into your chat and ask for followers and whatever. 

Person: “Hey, I followed you. Please check me out as well now.” – Yup, banned. 

“Follow for Follow” aka “F4F” is not only incredibly useless but also highly bannable as it violates Twitch’s Terms of Service (also known as TOS). Followers are a good indicator of how big the community is, nothing more… nothing less… People that follow you will get notified when you go live and they’ll be able to see you being live on the left side of the screen. When people follow, they become community members enabling them to get community-gift subs that are not directed at anyone in particular, which can be quite neat now and then… 

But followers don’t decide how successful you are on Twitch and it doesn’t matter in terms of view count or quality of the stream. If that was the case then you could just buy followers or set up a bunch of fake/bot accounts that follow you and suddenly you get a ton of viewers or fans or money or whatever you’re after. While you need to have 50 followers to become an Affiliate, that is your smallest problem considering the other goals. 

When I see F4F-people, I instantly ban them. I don’t want them in my community as they violate TOS openly and as they probably will start to bother my viewers as well. 

Sophie – also another lovely cat picture provided to me by TabiHastings! Check them out on Twitter/Twitch! 🙂

And then there are people that backseat your stream or that are only there to start a fight. Don’t just come to a channel and correct people on the way they’re playing. Don’t spoil their games. Don’t tell them off. Don’t make them do things for you. It’s their stream, not yours. 

Last Saturday, I did a 25-hour-charity stream for the Trevor Project. We were able to raise a total of 140.20$ with the help of some very generous viewers of mine, which I’m grateful for, and in the end, we got to unlock all the milestones in one single donation, resulting in a bunch of giveaways for the community. I was going to give away a bunch of different games from Moonlighter to Hart’s Island to Felix the Reaper to other titles. I was excited to see all of these different people get their games after we reached certain milestones and hence I put “Giveaways” into the title… but that naturally also attracts people that only are there for the giveaways…

And there he was… some guy called “madafaka” with some number at the end of his name whose literal first message in the chat was “!giveaway”. 

….

Yeah,… no. Obviously, I was already tired and sleep-deprived at that point so maybe I’ve overreacted a tad… but at the same I paused everything while telling him off as I thought that it’s a prove that has to be made clear.

I told him that it’s bullshit to go to small streams only for the giveaway and to be so bold about it that you don’t care at all about them but only care about that giveaway. One of my viewers (a lovely regular at this point) agreed with me while that guy was actually trying to defend themselves, talking about us “going to the zoo to visit the monkey” and not to “buy the monkey” or something like that. I don’t know what he was on about or if he was on drugs or whatever… but it was hilarious for anyone who saw it and “!giveaway” has become a meme on my channel now, which is lovely. 

When he then told me to “stop bitching about it”, I told him that he can tell me that again at a later time. The stream would have continued for eight and a half more hours so I timed him out for exactly eight hours. It would have been funny if he had returned… but he didn’t… which is for the better.

Jynx again, MuddChi‘s lovely cat

So, let summarize the Don’t’s of promotion:

  • Don’t promote yourself openly. 
  • Don’t mention your stream in other people’s streams unless asked about it or unless you know the streamer/unless you’re a regular.
  • Don’t bring your stream up on your own.
  • Don’t do F4F.
  • Don’t be a dick by backseat-gaming, spoiling, or by telling the streamer/moderators off.
  • Respect others and treat them like you want to be treated.

And lastly, you’ll want to ask how you promote yourself properly, right?

Well, honestly, there are a lot of ways. So, that’s going to essentially be a whole different post on its own, but to be frank I guess I could say that there are more Do Nots that are essential for that…

Just be careful and:

  • don’t beg for hosts or raids.
  • don’t expect others to do the same for you. They are not obligated to!
  • don’t make friends for the sole purpose of getting “twitch famous”. There may be a whole post dedicated to just this one topic, so look forward to that.
  • check the streamer you’re raiding out BEFORE you raid them. Best case, they’re cool and your community loves them! Worst case, it’s some bigot that offends and insults you and your community while traumatizing everyone so badly that they won’t watch you ever again!

Overall, I think that this might be a nice little series of posts that I could do. I just don’t know yet in what category to put it or if I should create a whole new category for Twitch stuff (Edit: Done! New Sub-category in the Gaming Journal!)… If you’re completely new to this kind of stuff and want to learn more about streaming or ask any questions about that kind of thing, then I highly recommend CastorDie, which is a wonderful little Twitch Community full of streamers and uh… people… of sorts… and among them is also MrGoodHand who’s running a blog as well, so check him out over here. 🙂 

I hope you enjoyed this little “guide” of sorts. It’s a bit rambly and chaotic, but overall, I’m sure that I can create some useful informational posts like this as well in the future that might be quite nice to read through. I’m sure I could also feature/recommend streamers in this Twitch-Category or whatever… I feel like that might be quite cool. ^-^)

If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll write something about it or put something together out of a lot of different opinions and stuff! 

Either way, have a nice day and see you another time!

Cheers!

Edit: Changed the title of the post from “New to Twitch, what now? #1 – Promotion” to “How to not-promote your channel on Twitch” as the earlier title was misleadin and as I don’t feel like a “series” of posts would be the way to go for this. Instead I’d rather enjoy having posts here and there on the topic of channel growth, activity on your channel and my journey on Twitch without having them correlate to any sort of over-arching category, like it’s the case with The Stray Sheep.

Unofficial Stream Teams

Over time, I noticed the existence of stream teams on Twitch and I thought that they are rather cool. It’s a great way of learning new things and supporting each other or being there for a certain idea and hence, I was looking forward to someday being able to create my own (if I ever plan to reach Partner) or to join one myself (if I find one that I wanna join).

As of now, I’ve applied to one stream team so far and it’s one that I’m generally excited about that a lot of streamers that I enjoy watching… and I love their communities and stuff, so I hope that I get accepted and if not, I’ll just apply another time haha.

Earlier in March, I was still part of an unofficial stream team, though, and alas I wanted to talk about it and tell others about my experience.

So, essentially, I ended up in an unofficial stream team for a while that required me to have a certain logo on the screen, have the founder’s banners in my channel-description, auto host other people from the community, be active in her community and have a hashtag in my stream-tweets and the title.

I thought it was a great way of helping each other grow and get some collabs with other streamers and learn new things but over time I noticed that I probably was streaming the most out of everyone there and that nobody was as excited about possible collabs as me. There were also moments where I’d notice that others wouldn’t be as consistent with the rules. Some streamers would end up not using the hashtag at all while others would essentially never host me. And while I personally didn’t care all that much about the growth, I was feeling like I’m getting taken advantage of and hence I left.

The inconsistencies between streamers could have been fixed but nobody enforced the rules. Nobody got a penalty for not doing it and hence, I could have just enjoyed the hosts that I received while not caring about others… but I’d feel bad about it. Hence, I just decided to message the founder of that team and leave the team as I wasn’t bound by a contract or whatever. It was an unofficial team, to begin with, and I asked them beforehand if I was allowed to leave the team at any point if I don’t like the experience.

I didn’t learn much from my time in that “team” and I didn’t grow all that much either. The only collabs that happened were collabs I initiated and essentially, I can get those collabs with other streamers either way if I just ask them. I don’t need to be a member of some team to work with others and I don’t want to be part of a team that only funnels viewers into one stream while taking advantage of others with the founder essentially doing nothing.

Solaire is love, Solaire is life! Enjoy my drawing here!

So, I left eventually and made this post to essentially tell people to be warry of certain conditions that may take advantage of them and stuff…
I mean, Blaugust and Blapril are communities or teams of sorts, too, where people are supporting each other and posting new posts together. Hence, Blaugust/Blapril is a great example of a great community/team. There are no drawbacks for being in there and nobody profits from it more than anyone else. There are no requirements apart from blogging and you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to (apart from signing up and maybe using the hashtag to link to the other bloggers). Overall, it’s a great way of showing others that you’re blogging and it helps everyone and not just one person. And if you’ve got questions, you can ask others for advice and they usually answer super-fast!

So, Blaugust is lovely and I’ll stick around for sure and aim for the stars while at it! 😀

And as for the streamer who created that team, I’m still friends with her (kind of) and this post is not meant to be a rant of sorts or some kind of shit-talking-post or whatever. It’s just meant to be informational and I didn’t mention her name or stream because of me not wanting that people go over there and hate her (not that I think that I have that kind of power but safe is safe, eh?).

And either way, that’s it for today’s evening-post.
I hope you enjoyed this little rambling-post.

Have a nice night/evening/day/morning! Stay safe! Stay healthy! Luv ya!

Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!