On Wednesday, September 1, a number of channels on Twitch will go down as streamers participate in #ADayOffTwitch, a walkout designed to draw attention to the continued hatred and harassment that plagues the platform over the past few weeks. .
Created by Twitch streamers ShineyPen, Lucia Everblack, and RekitRaven, the walkout aims to raise awareness among creators of the issues creators suffer from on Twitch. The edge spoke with these organizers, streamers and more to talk about #ADayOffTwitch, how they are dealing with the precipitous rise in hate raids, and what they hope the platform will do to protect its users at home. ‘to come up.
A Day Off Twitch was born from the #TwitchDoBetter movement, a hashtag created by streamers affected by the hate raids that have exploded on Twitch in recent weeks. While the act of bombarding a streamer’s chat with racist, sexist, transphobic, and generally abusive messages is nothing new, the phenomenon has seen a dramatic increase, with users using bots to overwhelm chats with hundreds. automatically generated messages. In response to what they thought was Twitch’s slow response to abuse, streamer RekitRaven created the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter to urge the Amazon-owned streaming platform to deploy better tools to stem the tide of harassment.
Twitch promised that fixes are coming, but in the meantime, streamers must fight hate raids with community-developed tools and resources. ShineyPen, a black trans streamer, felt more and more needed to be done to talk about the problem, so he decided to hold a walkout. “One day off [Twitch] largely is to come together in solidarity. A day off is one step in the many steps we need to take towards change, ”said Shiney. The edge.
RekitRaven echoed Shiney’s statements that this walkout is more about solidarity among marginalized streamers than a way to impact Twitch’s bottom line. “I think it is important to come together for the good of all those who have been affected and to show that we will not back down,” she said.
Responses to A Day Off Twitch have been varied, even among its supporters. Due to Twitch’s endemic grip on the streaming community, it’s just not possible for some smaller streamers, arguably the population most affected by hate raids, to take a day off. For some creators, Twitch is their only source of income. Users who attempt to gain or maintain Affiliate or Partner status (designations that give creators access to many different monetization methods) could put their finances or the health of their channel at risk by taking even a day off. There are also contractual obligations such as advertising deals or partnerships that prevent streamers from skipping a day.
A note on #ADayOffTwitch from the cast and crew of our streaming show.
Please read and remember that not everyone is free to take the day off tomorrow, regardless of the level of support they have for the event. pic.twitter.com/Pu6lE8CucQ
– Mother LandsRPG: Season 3! (@MotherlandsRPG) August 31, 2021
Other streamers oppose A Day Off Twitch for more philosophical reasons. For them, the people behind these heinous raids are working to intimidate marginalized streamers off the platform, and taking a day off gives them exactly what they want. Continuing to disseminate and denounce the abuses is therefore the best way to counter the trolls who otherwise would not suffer repercussions for their actions.
As September 1 approaches and A Day Off Twitch gains traction, there is a notable silence from some of Twitch’s biggest stars. And some of the biggest streamers who talk about it don’t have a great thing to say. Asmongold, long World of warcraft streamer who made the headlines when he switched to Final Fantasy XIV, said in one stream, “Nobody cares if you take a day off. Nobody knows who you are. He goes on to say that he would be in a walkout on Twitch if all the other big streamers got away with it. involved and that he believes “in the power of numbers.” Asmongold has 2.4 million Twitch subscribers and did not respond to The edgerequest for comments.
There is a broader sense of abandonment and hypocrisy regarding the silence of the bigger streamers on the issue of hate raids. During Pride Month or Racial Equality Protests, streamers large and small expressed their support for the affected communities. Yet some of those same voices are not being heard now. “I accept that not everyone will agree with the support #ADayOffTwitch“Says ShineyPen.” I believe that many, not all, of these greatest creators speak from a privileged point of view.
“Being vocal has the potential to hurt them financially”, Parris lilly, Twitch streamer and host of the 2021 Xbox Showcase Gamescom, adds. “Nobody cares how POCs are treated until it affects them. “
RekitRaven was less concerned with the apparent reluctance of the bigger streamers to participate or even acknowledge the Twitch walkout. “All I can say is I’m not worried about it. We are already having an impact. The world is watching.
Twitch is also watching. A spokesperson for Twitch said The edge, “We support the rights of our streamers to speak up and bring attention to important issues across our service. No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they represent, and we are working hard to improve chain-level ban evasion detection and additional improvements to account to help make Twitch a safer place for creators.
Twitch’s support for A Day Off Twitch even extends beyond its statements. The platform is launching its Subtember event on September 2, a day after the protests, presumably so that streamers who might participate can still enjoy it.
As Twitch works to develop these security improvements, and streamers still grapple with the dangerous heinous raids that lead to doxxing and swatting, the conversation about moving to other platforms has once again arisen. Twitch is the biggest fish in the pond, but it’s not the only one. Even after Microsoft shut down its Mixer platform, Facebook and YouTube are offering alternatives to streamers who are fed up with what they think is Twitch’s slow and responsive response to harassment.
DrLupo, once one of the biggest streamers on Twitch, has announced that it has signed an exclusive deal with YouTube Gaming, making the platform an attractive alternative to Twitch and, most importantly, one that can be financially viable. The edge asked YouTube Gaming what protections it had in place for streamers, but did not respond in time for the post.
While it doesn’t have the reach of Twitch or YouTube, Facebook Gaming is also slowly increasing its streaming presence, especially among black creators – a frequent target of hate raids. Facebook Gaming’s Black Creators Program guarantees a monthly salary, early product access, and offers mentoring programs to participating black streamers.
Luis Olivalves, Global Director of Game Creator Partnerships at Facebook Gaming, also shared the platform’s policies for protecting streamers:
The majority of creators come to Facebook Gaming to create positive and supportive communities around the games they love. To do this, it is important that creators and their moderators have the tools and resources to foster the safe and inclusive environments they want.
We also hear from our creators and gaming communities that using real names on our platform, which reduces anonymity, contributes to a generally more positive environment on Facebook Gaming.
While we find that raids are most often used in a positive and favorable way on our platform, it is important that our creators have control over who can and cannot loot their channels. Creators on Facebook Gaming can turn off raids altogether or select individual Creator Pages to “block” incoming raids.
Disabling raids and being able to filter raids before they can cause damage is one of the biggest demands of the Twitch community.
And while quitting Twitch is just not a feasible solution, now there are ways to continue using the platform while depriving Twitch of its share of streamers’ profits. Streamlabs, a popular streaming tools service, recently announced the addition of a tip feature that allows viewers to set up recurring donations. Currently, only streamers who meet certain criteria are allowed to collect subscription money of which Twitch takes 50%. This Streamlabs option allows anyone to receive recurring donations, 100 percent of which go directly to the streamer after the processing fee.
The organizers of A Day Off Twitch don’t necessarily want to jump ship just yet. “I don’t intend to find a new platform,” says ShineyPen. “Nevertheless […] I think it’s good to have an alternative in our back pockets.
Connection to Twitch is strong. This is the place where these streamers have made friendships, communities, and business opportunities, and they don’t want to lose this place to the malice of racist and transphobic trolls.
“There are so many marginalized people out there looking for a place to feel safe and in their place and have representation and that’s what we do,” says ShineyPen.
“We owe it to ourselves and our communities to at least try to improve conditions and make it a better place,” said Lucia Everblack.
According to Everblack, A Day Off Twitch is already a success, before it even started. “The aim was to generate a larger discussion. But more than awareness, Everblack and the walkout organizers and participants just want their communities to feel safe and protected. “We don’t just want solutions to current problems,” says Everblack. “We want policies in place so that these kinds of problems never happen again or at least never get so bad.”
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