Toxicity in the gaming community seems to be hitting an all time high, superseding the traditional "trash talk" and moving into more hateful and harmful patterns. With several high profile streamers in the media lately for abhorrent behavior, including encouraging suicide, Twitch is now finally stepping in to update their community standards after many flocked to the company begging for them to pay attention to what was going on under their noses.
Hateful conduct and harassment were both addressed in their latest update. According to Twitch:
"Twitch is a space for people to create, join, and participate in communities that share their interests. We want everyone to be able to express themselves on Twitch, but it's important that we do so in ways that allow everyone to flourish. This means preventing, protecting users from, and moderating hateful behavior and harassment.
We support Twitch users who express diverse or unpopular points of view, or do so in humorous or controversial ways, but make your intent clear. We don't tolerate conduct that encourages or condones hate or harassment in any way. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse for conduct that results in hate or harassment."
"Hateful conduct is any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics, and is strictly prohibited:
- Race, ethnicity, or national origin
- Sex, Gender, or Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Disability or Medical Condition
- Physical Characteristics
- Veteran Status
Twitch will consider a number of factors to determine the intent and context of any reported hateful conduct. Hateful conduct is a zero-tolerance violation and all accounts associated with such activity will receive an indefinite suspension."
"Harassment is any content or activity that attempts to intimidate, degrade, abuse, or bully others, or creates a hostile environment for others, and is prohibited. Harassment is prohibited. Twitch will consider a number of factors to determine the intent, context, and impact of any reported harassment. To help you identify what types of behavior and content may constitute harassment, below is a list of examples:
- Bullying, such as repeated name calling or attempts to embarrass someone, with the intent to harm
- Abusing someone based on their employer, organization, or other affiliation
- Telling someone to hurt or kill themselves
- Creating user accounts dedicated to harassment or hate
- Stalking or violating someone's established personal boundaries, such as circumventing channel bans, account blocks, or requests not to contact them
- Revealing someone's personal information against their will or with the intent to harm them
- Recording someone against their will or with the intent to harm them
- Sharing content, including doctored or out-of-context content, with the intent to degrade, bully, or harm someone
- Browsing or raiding channels with malicious intent
- Unwanted sexual advances, sexual harassment, and sexual bullying
- Learn more about our policies and enforcement of sexual content, including sexual violence and exploitation
- Deliberately submitting false reports, doctoring report evidence, or report brigading
- Inciting or encouraging others to harass
Violating our policy against harassment will result in your account being suspended. Depending on the severity of the offense, harassers may be indefinitely suspended on the first violation."
You can read more about how they are holding the community, and individuals, responsible for this kind of conduct here as well as learn more about the violation penalties possible. It's a step in the right direction, but is it enough?