Twitch is trying to clarify just how much the actions of communities will affect casters when its new community guidelines go into effect.
A blog post today explains what responsibilities streamers have when policing their own audience.
“Creators are role models and leaders of the communities they create or foster around them,” the post reads. “Creators should consider the consequences of their statements and actions of their audiences; we ask that you make a good faith effort to quell any efforts from those in your community to harass others. Twitch should not be used to incite, encourage, promote, facilitate, or organize hateful conduct or harassment, whether on or off Twitch.
“We will suspend communities, organizations, and individuals that do so.”
The post adds that, if a caster sees something happening, they must try to stop it.
The key phrase in Twitch’s statement is “good faith.” If streamers see something happening in chat or on their personal subreddits, and ask their community to not antagonize or attack someone, they’ll be within the guidelines. If they blatantly ignore what is happening on their Twitch stream, however, they could face consequences.
The post also explains why Twitch is examining viewers and streamers’ off-platform behavior in the first place. The company understands that some harassment and bullying that affects streamers does happen off-platform, but the company says it wants to make Twitch itself a more welcoming place.
“Our desire to moderate verifiable off-Twitch harassment stems from our belief that ignoring conduct when we are able to verify and attribute it to a Twitch account compromises one of our most important goals: every Twitch user can bring their whole authentic selves to the Twitch community without fear of harassment,” the blog post reads.
Twitch further specifies how off-platform content will be examined by its moderation team once the new rules go into effect next week. If you’re reporting a user for offensive content, it has to be that user’s own content, and the target of the attack must also be someone on Twitch. Moderators will then determine whether or not the reported content violates the community guidelines and will take action if they believe it does.
“Twitch will not actively monitor other websites or services for violations of our Community Guidelines, nor will we be acting on off-Twitch content created prior to March 5, 2018,” the post reads.
Any content that technically breaks Twitch’s new guidelines, but was created before the rules went into effect, will not typically result in a suspension for the streamer. The company is reserving the “right to exercise discretion on severe violations,” however.
Twitch’s new rules for community behavior stoked the ire of many top streamers known for their more reckless and outspoken viewers. Forsen, one of Twitch’s most popular casters known for his community’s antics, spoke about his concerns during a stream after Twitch first announced the guidelines.
“Creators should consider the consequences of their statements and the actions of their audiences,” he said in the video below. “No, no, no, no. You cannot have both. I can watch what I say ... I cannot watch what my community does. Are you fucking serious?”
More information about the new rules can be read on Twitch’s FAQ.