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.

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?