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. ♥]