GaymerX is a gaming convention designed by and for LGBTQ gamers, with the tagline “Everyone games!” It’s officially a fan-facing event, but many of the panels and talks were geared for game devs just as much as gamers. I took notes, and you can click here for my other GX4 notes.
GaymerX speakers: Please contact me (carolyn at sibylmoon.com) if:
- I included something you said that should not be included, or
- I quoted you without attributing (when you would prefer attribution), or
- I made a factual error (I take notes by hand, and I make no pretense of infallibility!)
How to Twitch Safely as a POC/LGBTQIA/Female Streamer
Panelists: Tanya DePass (moderator), DJ Kirkland, Carolyn Petit, Simply Undrea
It’s important to stay safe while streaming both for you and your audience. We celebrate and participate in games through Twitch, and hostility/unsafety destroys that. Try to carve out a space where people can interact positively and openly, and bring people together.
The responsibility of asking for decency shouldn’t rest with minority/underprivileged viewers. This is the responsibility of streamers, mods, or majority/privileged streamers.
Streamers should empower their mods both with tools and confidence to act when needed.
As a streamer, always thank your audience, whether you have 3 people, 30, or 300.
Important to have each other’s backs – streamers often swap moderation duties for each other.
Don’t make unsafe people into mods!
Many bots can act as mods for stuff like all-caps typing or emoji spam. Some popular bots for this purpose include Nightbot, Ankhbot, Moobot, and Branebot.
Mods need to understand your priorities and needs. Communicate with them about what you want your viewing environment to be.
Twitch supports a banned words list, which you as a streamer (or your empowered mods) can add to. If anyone enters them, they get autobanned or time out. Address is twitch.tv/settings/channel.
If you set up a banned word under specific circumstances, make sure to remove it later! An onslaught of trolls saying things like “get back in the kitchen” caused Carolyn Petit (who streams for Feminist Frequency) to ban the word “kitchen” – which caused perfectly well-behaved viewers to get autobanned later, when they were streaming the game Overcooked with “kitchen” still on the list.
What to do if you’re harassed while you’re streaming?
- Report the harasser
- Ban the harasser
- Warn other streamers if the harasser starts following you to other channels you frequent
When reporting harassment to Twitch, you can be (and should be!) really specific about what happened.
You can set your channel to require valid emails or agreement to follow rules before people can view.
Remember: you are the one building a community! Don’t let harassment take you off the air, but do practice self-care. If something awful happens, take a break (which you can attribute to a bio break or getting a glass of water) and come back in 5 minutes.
What should you do about harassment that continues post-chat?
- Report to Twitch with screenshots and captures of whispers
- Change your settings so that only people you follow can send whispers
- If harassment escalates, especially outside Twitch, screenshot, report, and tell other people
- If there’s any chance this could move into meatspace, file a police report
- Remember, no one is entitled to your space!
You came to offer your voice and your vision to the community you serve. People harassing you are interfering with your voice and vision. Block them in a heartbeat.
Keep a close-knit circle of people you trust who will have your back.
Law enforcement doesn’t yet understand how online harassment produces danger in meatspace.
As a viewer, don’t go out of your way to let streamers know about crappy things people have said about them. If they’re avoiding harassment, and you give the harasser another channel to access the streamer, that makes you part of the problem.
Twitch streamers are extra-vulnerable to SWATting (the hoax where police officers are called to someone’s residence under false pretenses) while they are on air. Do not give out your personal information and ban people who ask for it persistently. Use a pseudonym when you stream, and set your Facebook to private.
File a police report if anyone even hints at SWATting you. Randi Harper filed a police report in advance of someone trying to SWAT her, which led to a significantly deescalated situation. Keep screenshots and evidence that you can bring to the police.
Look up cybercrime and stalking laws. Make sure you understand them yourself before you speak with the police. haltabuse.org provides a state-by-state list of cyberstalking laws for the US.
For help scrubbing your personal information off the Internet, check out the resources at Crash Override.
Be vague when you travel – never tag locations or addresses. Never let Twitter have your location, and don’t make plans with friends on public Twitter.
Be a real person on Twitch! – but remember, that doesn’t come from giving people information about you. It comes from your interests and enthusiasm.
Make a stream group where you support your friends, etc. This is also a way to learn about problematic streamers (you can see who allows who to be moderators, watch their feed, etc.)
Panelists confirmed that Twitch is working on ways to reduce toxicity, and that there’s a research team dedicated to this problem (but they couldn’t share details, which had been received confidentially.)