AGDQ Twitch Chat Is Tolerable Right Now, But Not Everyone Is Happy

The Games Done Quick speedrunning charity marathon started up this weekend. The event, coming off years of increased runner and chat-related controversy, has taken extra steps to keep their chat free from spam and trolls. Their solution has drawn anger from fans and led to short lived chat alternatives that are quickly banned.

Before this year, Games Done Quick didn't restrict their chat, so it was common for viewers to spam memes, mock minorities, and generally misbehave. Last year, GDQ chat banned an emote depicting a bearded lady that chat would spam anytime a transgender individual was on stream. While some viewers found this type of environment exciting, others were quick to hide the chat entirely.

It was so bad that a special site was made last year specifically for the purpose of filtering the chat and making it tolerable for viewers.

In order to crack down on chat spam and poor behaviour, the organisers of Games Done Quick have put their Twitch chat into "subscribers only" mode for the duration of Awesome Games Done Quick 2018. The mode prevents casual viewership from talking in chat unless they have subscribed to the channel with a $US5 ($6) dollar monthly pledge or a free subscription earned through Amazon Prime.

It is a decision that's upset viewers looking to chat without restrictions or spending their and lead many of them to host the stream so fans could chat freely. Hosting is a Twitch feature that allows streamers to broadcast another stream on their channel while allowing viewers to interact in that channel's chat.

An image from GDQ_Poverty's channel, which has been banned by Twitch.

The largest of these channels was GDQ_Poverty, a channel with became the go-to place for viewers looking to chat about the marathon without having to adhere to the official stream's rules or pay the requisite $US5 ($6) fee.

"I just made this account on a whim in order to avoid having to (ridiculously) pay for a subscription to the official GDQ channel in order to chat with everyone else," GQQ_Poverty creator Tatortotts said in a statement on Reddit.

"For the first half-hour or so it was very nice, everyone was civil and excited to be able to use their favourite emotes. Word of the channel spread quickly, though, and soon the chat became a constant flood of emotes and spam."

As the stream grew and more viewers flocked to it, moderation became next to impossible and the chat was soon flooded with comments that led to a ban for hate speech according to Tatortotts. Additional streams including the channel GDQ_Plebs and a re-hosted stream from user Forsenlol were also shutdown.

In a statement (h/t Polygon) GDQ staff responded to concerns about the chat with the following statement:

"We take moderation seriously and want to maintain a positive atmosphere in all of our events, especially as we are representing the charities we are benefiting. As Games Done Quick has grown over the years, our channel has now been averaging between 100k-150k concurrent viewers, and moderating a channel of this size has been extremely difficult. We're currently exploring options to alleviate the situation and have opted to make the chat for AGDQ this year subscription-only. All GDQ subscription revenue in January will be donated to Prevent Cancer Foundation."

"Anyone is welcome to host the GDQ event as long as they're not blocked by or banned from the hosted channel and do not violate our Community Guidelines," a representative of Twitch said in a statement to Kotaku via email.

"The majority of channels hosting GDQ have done so without issue."

Meanwhile, in the Games Done Quick chat, viewers seem split about whether the subscription only mode has been a positive change or not. While chat commentary focuses on the speedruns and what is happening on the stream, occasional arguments crop up with some people insisting that non-subscriber "plebs" be let in.

Others have taken to spamming the chat even though it is against a rule specifying "no excessive ascii or copypasta spam."

For now, GDQ's chat alternates between enthusiastic commentary and pseudo-memetastic chants regarding the subscriber mode. The change to subscribers only had largely removed hostile and offensive content from chat.

However, the sudden change from previous marathons along with bans levied against channels rehosting the stream have created a new problem for chat that will likely last the entire marathon.


Comments

    GDQ has changed over the years of being targeted to a gamer audience to a documentary. No banter, no laughter. It's changed since they had to go PC because they're now signed up as an official fundraiser by Prevent Cancer etc.

    It's because it's now a "paid" fundraiser. All the money goes into the charity, but then the charity pays them to have the fundraiser. I'd rather them just have a poll each year for which charity should get funded and then take a % to run the event, keep it independent, keep it fun, let the people swear when frustrated and have banter.

    The trouble I have with AGDQ this year is that it feels so sanitized compared to previous years. Paid chat, showing a splash-screen in-between games instead of the crowd cam and the heavily moderated use of emotes / copy-pasta might be necessary at this point because of how far the event has grown but as a casual viewer I cant help but miss the chaos of past streams. From the outside looking in the viewer feels more disconnected from the action than previous years and the event doesn't quite feel as 'alive' as it has in the past.

    I find it telling that TriHex's rehost of the stream has a much more active / fun chat than the actual stream. I would like to know how others feel about this years AGDQ compared to previous years.

    Last edited 09/01/18 1:58 pm

      Hate it. It just isn't as fun. Way too PC and not as chill. It's taking itself way too seriously. Pretty disappointing.

      Who will save the animals now?

      That's the way of things, always. It's fun and wild and chaotic and then, bad people take advantage of that chaos to harm, abuse and profit from it all and the rules necessary to weed them out also take away a good portion of the fun. It's literally the reason why we can't have nice things.

      Just be glad that you were the for the innocent times of any given thing and don't hold necessary progress towards order and protection hostage to nostalgia.

    from what i see a lot of people see the Sub-only mode as "Throwing the baby out with the bathwater" as while it gets rid of the racism and transphobia, it also gets rid of some of the fun chaos of twitch chat (the non-racist/Transphobic parts of it).

    I honestly think that this was the only way to deal with it, as no matter how many moderators you have, having almost 100k people commenting at the same time is impossible to moderate, and i don't think the people that are willing to pay dollars to chat are going to waste it by being a shit and getting banned. I'd rather have severely less bigotry in the chat if there's less clapping hands and people spamming "RESET"

    Especially because the twitch sub goes all towards charity (which twitch has done for every GDQ since subs where a thing if i remember right) i don't see why it's an issue, see it as a reward for donating, and people can go to there Plebchats and try and wade through the waves of racist and deplorable comments if they really miss it (assuming they don't get taken down for being too vile). I've heard that Trihex's chat actually has some form of moderation which is probably at least a bit better?

    The issues with the actual event are valid (it not feeling as homegrown as it used to and such), but the people who think this is some sort of SJW conspiracy to ruin speedrunning make my head hurt.

      "i don't think the people that are willing to pay dollars to chat are going to waste it by being a shit and getting banned"

      Hahahahahahaha. They did.

    GDQ has really lost its heart and soul and feels really corporate now; like a business event that brings in large sums of money twice a year. Never mind about the experience of the people who actually donate or the runners that run. GDQ's management doesn't care, they're on PCF's payroll!

      Since the money goes to charity, we should be celebrating that large sums of money are brought in. Similarly, if certain folks are not made feel unwelcome that's a win as well. Do you realise that in only takes one full-on racist (or any other kind of bigot) to drive away dozens of people from having fun and donating to charity?

      I'm sorry that you feel that your fun was diminished, but in exchange lots of people are allowed to have fun while donating to important causes.

    As the stream grew and more viewers flocked to it, moderation became next to impossible and the chat was soon flooded with comments that led to a ban for hate speech according to Tatortotts.

    This is why I think GDQ going into sub mode is a great idea. If people want to act like tools in chat then let them pay for the privilege. Not that it actually stops anyone though, people seem to go to great lengths to behave like obnoxious kids in chat.

    Doesn't really bother me that much though, (aside from being a despair inducing commentary on the state of humanity) I just turn chat off on most events like this because it's guaranteed to never contain any real conversation.

    Maybe if people didn’t behave like assholes this wouldn’t be necessary.

      They should just stop all twitch comments, with +100k people watching and spamming it's not like it's at all viable to read comments

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