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Improving Twitch Chat Universally

Kirbyrocket - June 7, 2017

Twitch chat—although it may infamous for containing some abysmal people—is not as awful as people may depict it to be. As tournament organizers, as casual viewers, and even as toxic people in chat—all of us are affected by the material that is placed in chat; however, there is way to filter out the hate speeches, prejudice, and spam within the chat. This is how we—as the streamers, the moderators, and the viewers—the community—can make Twitch chat a better place for all of us and how we gain growth, by creating a welcoming environment for all kinds of people.

The question arises: How can we fix this? How do we stop the toxicity that has offended, hurt, and insulted many of us trying to enjoy an event in Twitch chat? How do we do all of this without ripping the fun straight out of the other viewers’ hands?

The answer is simple: Twitch chat cannot be ignored—for it is not the horrible place that it is assumed to be. I'm going to show you how to successfully moderate Twitch chat and what Twitch apps, bots and tools you need to do it.

                Many readers may be thinking: “How is Twitch chat NOT toxic?! Anyone who has ever seen Twitch chat first hand would obviously agree that it is indeed one of the most toxic environments one could be in and might as well be ignored. It’s not like you can contain trolls anyway since they’ll just come back again. There’s always a way.” The number of people who have this mindset is quite surprising, but here is why it is objectively false for the most part:

                Many users on Twitch love the ability to watch their favorite games, events, streamers, and more with the ability to talk to others as they enjoy the stream together in their own manners; however, not everyone may enjoy the stream as much as others. Of course, one cannot please everyone at once—especially when these numbers skyrocket to numbers in the thousands—but there is a way to please the mass majority of people within the area. That is why we—as Twitch users—were all given the ability to bestow the holy weapon to another Twitch user that bleeds purple with you to fight the monstrous scum that may reside within your chat—the moderator sword—we are what makes up Twitch Unity. If we simply ignore the chat as it breaks loose, the noxious gas will only spread even further from where it is at. It will spread more inappropriate behavior, imply that the tournament organizers condone to all the harassment, explicit, and crude content produced from the users in the chatroom; and will convey a much more hostile environment. There is an analogy that is used to describe this with clear and concise perfection: if you see a wildfire starting to spread, would you simply let it consume the forest and all its inhabitants whole since it was only bound to happen again?

                Moderating large chatrooms is no easy feat, and it most certainly does take a lot of energy out of one person to do so. Because of this, the Twitch website nor the Twitch Desktop app alone will not be enough to control the chat. Moderators need something powerful—something ruthless—something legendary. To moderate and control the chat, you are going to need the following to tools within your stream:

Chatty is a Twitch chat client that does absolute wonders for those who moderate large Twitch streams since it already provides you with the essential tools that you need as well as the freedom to add more custom tools that you may desire as a moderator or even just as a casual chatter—such as custom commands—which give you almost an infinite amount of options—for example, adding a report button whenever you click a user’s name—and displaying a small window within Chatty that shows all the details of an emote as well as the ability to view all the other emotes from the channel which it came from on the fly by simply clicking on the emote—including all BTTV and FrankerFaceZ emotes within the channel. With a text document for highlighted words and phrases that I have made for moderation purposes, timing out users sending toxic messages has never been easier. The only action Chatty cannot do is create clips from within the IRC client.

Logviewer is what exactly the name states it is: a bot that allows you to view logs of chat—including moderator actions as well. Was there a rogue moderator within the event? Is someone asking to get unbanned? Not sure if what a moderator did was justified? Well you and other moderators (if you choose to) can even leave comments about said moderator actions. Want to have an elevated moderator that can help manage the channel while the stream is running? Give the desired moderator a role such as manager! Want to give someone limited permissions in managing the stream that’s not a moderator? Give them the regular role, and give all those with the regular permission to read/write comments. With all these resources available, why have we not made handling users this efficient already?

CBenni’s MultiTwitch is by far better than your standard MultiTwitch since it uses minimal UI—allowing more room for other programs in use due to its minimal CPU usage. If you combine the effectiveness of this web application and Chatty, you will likely never run into an issue with getting clips, following up with the content on stream, and keeping up with chat again.

Moobot and Ohbot although are both bots that are necessary for moderating major events. They both server for different purposes, yet have the same goal near the end—to help keep the chat in order. With Moobot, there is a dashboard that allows easy collaboration and state-checking or “debugging” and is typically used for commands, basic filters, and temporary banphrases; on the other hand, Ohbot contains regexes which allow you to catch things Moobot will miss. As much as some of you may like the following bot, Nightbot must be put to rest.

Although it is constantly debated as to why should someone use FrankerFaceZ over BetterTTV, FrankerFaceZ is simply the objective better extension for Twitch for those who are not a fan of external clients. FrankerFaceZ allows almost all the same options that Chatty offers. No, you cannot have both if you plan to not use Chatty. Having both BetterTTV and FrankerFaceZ conflicts with their ability to work—disabling many of the features that are required as a moderator—including custom moderator cards. If you truly want your BetterTTV emotes O so badly, you can either use Chatty or install the Global Twitch Emotes extension. [I was recently informed that there is an add-on pack to FrankerFaceZ that allows you to make BetterTTV emotes visible with FrankerFaceZ; you can find said add-on pack here.]

AutoMod is the blessing that every event stream needs to use. It takes off a significant amount of the unnecessary stress and workload that is received from being a moderator of an event. It not only allows moderators to catch messages with more ease, but it also stops users in their tracks when they attempt to type out something that does not belong within the event’s chat or on Twitch; however, if set to a higher setting than Level 2, it can lead to frequent false positives. AutoMod is the shield the moderators need with their sword.

For those who still want to use only vanilla Twitch without installing any third-party extensions or applications when moderating events, 3ventic’s Moderators’ Chat Client is the perfect fix for you! Chat movement stops when you press Ctrl, more moderator icons can appear without the use of a third-party extension, and the viewing experience is still crystal clear without any intrusion. It essentially is Chatty for those who prefer to not use anything but Twitch itself.

A problem that many people are unaware of would be the features of Twitch, when to use them, and why one should use them; r9k mode and subscribers-only mode are two prime examples of this issue. Many streamers think it is acceptable to put on subscribers-only mode when chat seems to be getting out of hand; however, subscribers-only mode is never the solution to moderating chat in an event. If chat is frequently spamming, and there is nothing but hatred within the chat; the chat moderators are not doing a sufficient job at keeping chat controlled. Many people in chat often type repeated messages, jokes, and more for the sake of spamming or flooding the chatroom; when there is a mass number of people doing so or when there are thousands of viewers within the chat; it is highly advised that r9k mode gets turned on. R9k mode will prevent users from typing often repeated messages or spam; typing an excess of emoticons, Unicode characters, or text; and ultimately prevents flooding within the channel. Slow mode should also be used when there are many viewers actively tuning into the stream and typing in chat; however, to ensure that slow mode does not hinder chatting experience as much as possible, slow mode should range from 5 seconds to 15 seconds on average and never should exceed 30 seconds. Chat does not need to come to a near halt so that you may do your job as a moderator correctly. A good way to analyze how slow mode affects your channel can be found using 3ventic's Slow Mode Analyzer.

Choosing moderators is almost just as difficult. It is quite difficult not having many people who moderate outside events outside of the competitive Smash Bros. community—making it quite difficult to determine when someone is a trustworthy moderator or not. Fret not; for there are tools that can help determine this too instead of just giving moderator permissions to those are known as friends in their scene or via popularity on social media. Some of these tools include: 3ventic's Moderator Lookup Tool and 3ventic's Unmod All script if you need to remove all the excess of moderators you have on your channel (NOTE: THIS WILL UNMOD EVERYONE WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION). Although these tools may be useful for what they offer, it can only do so much; therefore, there needs to be an application process for moderating all future events. GamesDoneQuick has done this, PUBG eSports has done this, and Counter-Strike eSports has done this. Why have we not?

Many people tend to make the generalization that age is correlated with someone’s maturity; however, as the definition does state—it is nothing more than a mere generalization. Our future lies not only within our hands, but more within our younger audiences’ hands too. The reason why many young children and teenagers become so toxic is because they are exposed to the behavior without explanation as to why something is unacceptable. Many people fail to understand that children and teenagers are just like adults in a sense: they want to seek knowledge as to why they should or should not do something. For example, as a child or teenager—whether you are still one now or not—has your parent or legal guardian ever told you to do something, but they did not explain why you should do it? Have they ever taken something from you without explaining why they took it? It is not a matter of being blatantly disobedient in all cases; it is rather that some people are unaware that they are committing an abomination and have all intents and purposes on changing who they are for the benefit of themselves and those around them.

Viewer Discretion is advised for the following sensitive material

“What about us? What is wrong with these jokes? Are these rules really to help us, or are you just inflicting your Nazi Moderator ways to the rest of the Smash community?”

The answer is no, and I can even explain to you why the answer is no as someone who grew in a toxic environment. First, allow these definitions set by the standard dictionary of the English language and more—the Oxford English Dictionary—to be engrained in your personal dictionary to know and refer to later within this article:

  • Gender (noun) – The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).
  • Sex (noun) – Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.
  • Racism (noun) – Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
  • Prejudice (noun) – Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
    • dislike, hostility, or unjust behavior deriving from unfounded opinions.
  • Bigotry (noun) – Intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

The reason why you need to know these terms is so that you are informed as to what someone means when they say these following terms. These terms will often be brought up in the Smash community, so it is wise to memorize these terms as if they are on the back of your hand.

Still getting timed out? It may be likely because you said an offensive term, phrase, or subject instead of using their proper terms. Some may wonder: how and why are these offensive? How come something so seemingly small got someone blistering with fury? The reason why people get offended at these terms is not the words themselves, but the context and connotations of these words. A word or phrase does not carry hateful meanings or connotations until it is used in a hateful manner at any given point in history; therefore, we have all these swear words to this very day. In all reality, none of the vulgar words or phrases we have today carry meaning without any of its connotations. “What should I not say, so I don’t trigger someone,” you may wonder. These are the following words, phrases, or subjects that may likely get you purged, timed out, or banned in a Twitch chat and why:

  • Nigger – This is a derogatory term used against people with a darker skin tone—specifically the people whose race is black—as a method of being racist. It not only hurts people on personal levels of distaste and grief, but it also can bring traumatic memories to some people—possibly leading into cataclysmic actions in reaction to these memories clouding their mind.
  • Spic (often misspelled as spick) – This is a derogatory term used against people of Latin, Hispanic, or Spanish descent. This term also hurts people on personal levels of distaste and grief and can bring traumatic memories to some people—possibly leading into cataclysmic actions in reaction to these memories clouding their mind.
  • Jap – This is a derogatory term used against people of Japanese descent that originated during World War II. Enemies of the Japanese would use this term in a hateful manner and would associate it with the Japanese and other Asians that they could not determine their origins.
  • Trap/Tranny (often misspelled as trannie, trany, etc.) – This is a derogatory term used against people who identify themselves as transgender, genderfluid, or non-binary.
  • Hyuga (when VikkiKitty is commentating) – Hyuga is a top Toon Link main from Mexico who made an enormous debut at CEO Fighting Game Championship 2016 by taking games off top players during Top 8 as if they were absolutely nothing. A common misconception is that Hyuga is VikkiKitty’s significant other; this, however, is not the case. During EVO 2016, Hyuga did an unspeakable act unto VikkiKitty that many people lost respect towards him as a person for—sexual assault. Although he was under the influence of alcohol, the did admit that he had an issue when it came to abusing the psychoactive substance. VikkiKitty and her true significant other—the premier Ryu main from South Florida named DJ Jack—have asked myself many other moderators to remove all content insinuating to the assault; for it has brought back recurring trauma due to her PTSD, and it inhibits her from sharing her career that she has excelled in to her family.
  • Tr4sh, Gaylee, and all other forms of banter or hatred towards any other game – On Twitch, we promote inclusion with the freedom to be a part of any welcoming community. We are welcoming—we are strong—we are courageous—we are the casters, chatters, and viewers—we are united—we are Twitch Unity. Excluding the Melee community from Smash 4 and vice versa does not help anyone nor does it make other want to join the community.
  • Rape – Rape is not a joke; it is a traumatic, tragic, and heart-breaking occurrence that people have suffered from. When it is simply treated as if it were some sort of sick and twisted joke, those that have gone through such a horrible act feel unwelcome by the community’s atmosphere that is displayed within Twitch chat. Although the IRC may not accurately depict the community’s atmosphere most of the time, it is what people get to experience firsthand when joining a community. If that becomes they’re only interaction, they likely will not want to join said community due to its environment—hindering our growth and success.
  • ___ ON SUICIDE WATCH” and all other mentions of suicide – As with rape, suicide is no laughing matter. It is quite literally a life-taking decision that one can contemplate and even attempt after many hardships have occurred within their lifetime. Some of us who have even attempted such a multitude of times become highly offended by people who simply poke fun of all the suffering that we have lived through since it seems as if we are treated as some sort of subhuman species.
  • Horny, Boner, Cum, and all other forms of sexual objectifying – There is not a period at any given point where you need to talk about someone’s sexual lust—regardless if it is ironic, metaphorical, or even satirical. Nobody needs to know whether if someone is sexually aroused, and nobody will need to know when watching an eSports event especially.
  • Faggot (often abbreviated as fgt)– This is a derogatory term used to discriminate against those who identify as bisexual or gay in the LGBTQIAP community. It is used in a hateful manner and is nothing but prejudice. Hatred displayed by such will be banned immediately no matter what; for this violates Twitch Community Guidelines and Twitch Terms of Service that you agree to when you create your account on Twitch.
  • Cancer – Cancer is an extremely serious illness—not some sort of derogatory insult. When people use cancer as if it is some sort of insult, those who have lost dear loved ones to cancer may become offended by the slur since it may remind them of their dear departed loved one in their life. Nevertheless, it is inappropriate, and it does not belong in this inclusive environment we have built within the Smash Bros. Community.
  • Retard – Retardation is not an insult, and it cannot happen from simple actions such as a mistake within a certain match or a quote stated on social media. Labeling people as such is against Twitch Community Guidelines and Twitch Terms of Service; therefore, doing so will result in a permanent ban.
  • Obesity – One’s weight is nothing of your concern whenever you are watching an eSports event at any given point. To go into the IRC and discuss about their weight or downright throw slurs about their body mass is utterly unacceptable, for it also violates Twitch Community guidelines and Twitch Terms of Service that you agree to when signing up on Twitch.
  • Copypastas – Although memes may be fun to spread and start within the community, they flood the chatroom with repeated messages—giving any other messages stated by other people within the chat little meaning whatsoever due to their message being sent up into orbit with all the other copypasta—regardless of who is the person that said it or what the person said. There is a time and place for everything.

This concludes with all the sensitive material within this article

A lot of you may be wondering: “How are [some] of these offensive?” The answer to that question can be put into one singular quote: “Offense is not given; it is taken.” What may be offensive to you may not be offensive to someone else and vice versa because offensiveness is all subjective and a matter of perception. Words do not contain any (hateful) meaning until they are used in a (hateful) manner with a connotation matching said (hateful) meaning. That is just the basics of how a language develops—including its slang which later integrates itself within the language as time progresses; following the changes of said language and abiding by its definitions of offensiveness can lead to greater recognition in having an open-mind and a good-willing spirit.

                Running a successful event is one heck of a challenge; however, it is not impossible. Properly moderating Twitch chat is the perfect way to start improve the viewing experience for all people participating in the event—whether they are at the venue or watching at home on Twitch. A live event is for everyone to enjoy. Why not start by making some of these miniscule changes?

                You can find all the places I moderate—including the channels of the Twitch Staff that I moderate—here.

This blog post was written by a SSB World community member. Share your Smash 4 knowledge by creating your own blog post now.

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