Twitch is a great platform for gaming streamers to share their skills and personalities with the world, but the website has also long suffered with a harassment problem. New steps are being taken to cut down on this, and they include punishment for conduct that doesn’t occur on the site at all.
“We recognize that harassment against Twitch community members can sometimes originate from off-Twitch conduct,” Twitch said in a community guidelines FAQ. “Our desire to moderate verifiable off-Twitch harassment stems from our belief that ignoring conduct when we are able to verify and arribute it to a Twitch account compromises on our most important goals: Every Twitch users can bring their whole authentic selves to the Twitch community without fear of harassment.”
The new guidelines take effect Monday, March 5, and are not retroactive — any harassment found to have originated before March 5 will not be subject to the rules. If Twitch is able to verify that a Twitch user directed harassment to another Twitch user, they will be subject to disciplinary action.
Twitter is likely going to be the biggest source of off-Twitch harassment, as it can be easier to direct hate at a particular account through a post on the site than through a mention in your stream or in Twitch chat. It should also be easier for Twitch’s moderators to verify, provided that any harassment-provoking posts can be captured prior to their deletion.
Twitch added that streamers should make a “good faith effort” to moderate their own chat in order to stop harassment, and so long as they aren’t ignoring content that violates the site’s community guidelines, they would not be punished for their viewers’ actions.
The latest community guidelines update also addressed other forms of “hateful conduct,” which are banned by Twitch. These include discriminating against or promoting the discrimination of a group based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, appearance, and military veteran status. Twitch’s reaffirmation of these rules comes shortly after popular streaming Guy Beahm — better known as “Dr Disrespect” — was called out for using a faux-Chinese accent when angered by other players in online games.
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