I’ve always had a low tolerance for bigotry in my Twitch chat room. My moderators hand out bans like they’re candy, and I can’t recall ever giving someone a second chance. But no matter how hard we worked, it wasn’t enough.
I couldn’t stop the drive-by harassment. You know the kind, when a guy joins the chat just to demand tits, or some other one liner about how fuckable the streamer is, how undeserving of their followers they are, and so on. I could have the fastest moderators around and my viewers (and myself) would still be subjected to the first message sent by this person. Every time this happened I felt a deep sadness. I wanted a safer place for my viewers. I wanted a safer place for myself.
Then Twitch launched the private chat room feature, rolling it out to partners first. Within a couple hours I had created a private room (“Jasbros”) and began sending out invites to regular chatters. I left my public room open for the rest of the week so I could gather up as many viewers as possible before I switched it over to subscriber only mode.
I didn’t want to just flip the switch over to subscriber only chat and leave it at that. There’s nothing wrong with sub only chat, and most of the larger streamers I enjoy are sub only, but I knew a lot of my regulars couldn’t afford a sub fee right now, and I didn’t want to shut everyone out that couldn’t pay. I was looking for a middle ground, and invite only chat rooms gave me that middle ground.
Right now only myself and one moderator are able to invite users to the chat room. The feature is still in development, and it’s a bit buggy, so I’m currently sending out almost all of the invites myself. I check my Twitch inbox and social sites regularly during my streams, taking the time to invite most people while I’m still live.
The result has been a very low stress situation for myself, and a product I’m deeply, truly proud to put online. I’m able to confidently offer a highly safe space in the middle of a community where its chat rooms are known for being overwhelmingly toxic. Users know the kind of experience they’ll be getting when they visit, and I know, more or less, what kind of experience I’m going to be able to offer them. New users join the private, safe space chat room every time I live stream, and our small community is slowly, steadily growing.
I’m not strict about who I invite because I want my chat room to be easily accessible by everyone seeking a safe space. There is no interview process, all I need is a family friendly Twitch handle and a politely worded request. That’s it.
It would be pretty easy for someone with ill intentions to sneak into my room, but that, I feel, is a reasonable use of banning and moderation. Instead of sitting around a campfire trying to enjoy the warmth, and constantly swatting away profanity spewing mosquitos, we’re playing video games under mosquito netting, and squishing the odd bug when it slips through and asks to see my tits.
This isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s better than anything I’ve been able to offer before. Instead of feeling drained after each stream, I feel proud, I feel energized. Numbers-wise, it’s like starting over again, but thats more than alright. I finally have a place in the live streaming community where I can provide the kind of content I’ve always wanted. I have my safe space.
[Jasmine's Twitch channel: IRLJasmine. Read About Chat for more details. ♥]
There may be another blog post coming later, complete with feelings and opinions and things, but for right now I would just like to let everyone know very briefly what’s happening.
Massively, and the whole network we’re a part of, have experienced dramatic budget cuts and as a result of this myself, and other talented people, have been laid off (or, in some cases, had their workload cut to the extreme). This will be my last week. No choices were made based on our performance – our blog is doing exceptionally well – this is just one of those things that happens and nobody likes it. AOL shifted their funding around and we didn’t end up with enough to keep everyone employed.
As a website, Massively will continue. This isn’t the death of our blog by a long shot, just a massive (ha ha!) restructuring. Please know none of these changes have anything to do with the management at Massively proper – our boss has always taken care of us to the best of her ability, and this situation is out of our hands. Everyone is doing the best they can, but sometimes that means making hard choices, like who to lay off.
I leave Massively with only the best wishes for everyone still there, and I take with me many happy memories. I will miss my Massively family. I can’t quite imagine finding another home that will feel the same. I love you all.
This week I go in for my first therapy appointment in so many years and I couldn’t be happier about it. Bless you brand new insurance.
I absolutely can’t stand the stigma surrounding choosing to take care of our mind like we’re expected to take care of our body. I don’t “need” therapy just like I don’t “need” to eat healthy or “need” exercise right now. I’m still able to stand up and function on a day to day basis. I’m not broken. I don’t have heart disease. I’m not suicidal.
But I also don’t want to become unhealthy, I don’t want to get heart disease, and I don’t want to become suicidal. I firmly believe that preventative medicine can be hugely beneficial. I don’t wait until I have severe tooth pain before I see a dentist so why the actual fuck should I wait until I’m incapacitated from a complete mental breakdown before I see a therapist? It shouldn’t be considered weird to spend time keeping my mind healthy just like I spend time keeping my body healthy.
I read self improvement books. I meditate. I take “me time”. I value caring for my heart and mind as much as caring for my body. Therapy is just another way to care for myself. I’m not ashamed to love myself and I’m not ashamed to use every tool at my disposal to make sure I’m doing the best I can.
I now have insurance that makes therapy incredibly affordable. It also makes a specialist for my back pain affordable. I made an appointment to care for my mind and I’ll be making an appointment to care for my lower back.
I will have my body and my mind for the rest of my life so I’m going to take the best care of both of them I possibly can. This is a healthy choice that it’s alright to talk about.
Since last night many folks on Twitter and Facebook have jokingly asked “what took him so long!” Chris didn’t ask me for my hand in marriage, we sat down together and communicated our intentions and feelings about the future of our relationship many, many times throughout the last 2+ years.
A few months ago we had a long, loving talk and decided it was the right time to become engaged. We picked out rings for the both of us, put mine on layaway, and aimed to be engaged before Christmas so we could tell his gigantic family in person.
The actual engagement took place at sunset on a gorgeous beach in southern California. We brought the rings with us, recorded bits by hand using one of my cameras, and spent about an hour sitting there watching the waves and talking about how much we love each other, how we want to continue building a life together, and how excited we are to have found someone in our life we can share everything with.
Getting married is a very big decision and it wasn’t something either of us wanted to spring on the other person. This works wonderfully for other couples, but it wasn’t right for us. Our relationship has been built on equal communication and mutual decisions from the very beginning and it only felt right to continue that at every stage of our life.
Tradition can be lovely and perfect for your situation, or it might not quite fit. It’s alright to do what makes the most sense for you (or your relationship) even when it might take a bit of explaining to other people. Chris having an engagement ring certainly sparked quite a lot of questions from his family while we were in Minnesota!