Twitch's New Policies Are Worrying Some Provocative Streamers

Yesterday, Twitch announced a series of new, more stringent policies around sexual content, harassment and community behaviour. Now streamers who've built their brands on pushing boundaries are worried that their channels might be on the chopping block.

During a stream yesterday, popular streamer Sebastian "Forsen" Fors, whose community is notoriously rowdy and has had a hand in popularising a number of controversial memes such as racist gag Ugandan Knuckles, voiced concern that a specific portion of the new guidelines - namely, the part that holds streamers accountable for hateful conduct from their communities - could get him banned. Forsen, who has 756,784 followers on Twitch, is by no means a small-timer, and his audience spans multiple platforms such as Reddit and Discord. They have been known to do things such as raid other streams (up to and including spamming the n-word in the chat of 2017's Awesome Games Done Quick charity marathon) and stream snipe Forsen relentlessly. Over the years, Forsen has gained a reputation for being permissive of a lot of this, though he's tried to shut down more severe incidents such as the AGDQ thing.

"Creators should consider the consequences of their statements and the actions of their audiences?" he asked on stream yesterday while reading Twitch's new guidelines. "No, no, no, no. You cannot have both. I can watch what I say; I cannot watch what my community does. Are you fucking serious?"

Seconds later, one of his viewers used a text-to-speech program, which viewers can type messages into if they make a donation, to complain on stream about "titty streamers". Forsen sighed.

"I might be banned soon," he said. "Apparently."

As the stream went on, Forsen reined in his initial reaction, saying that he believes he's made a good effort to quell his community when it's gotten out of hand. His chat didn't entirely agree, with some posting the kappa emote, which implies irony.

"I don't know why you're kappa-ing," Forsen said.

Forsen eventually came to the conclusion that he's "semi in the crosshair", but not as much as other streamers such as his friend Greekgodx, who has a tendency to pick fights with streamers and whose audience does things such as jokingly threaten Twitch employees. Later that day, Greekgodx joined Forsen on stream as they watched a video of Twitch staff hosting a town hall about the new policies.

The pair acknowledged that some things are probably gonna have to change if they want to stay on Twitch. Both resolved to delete old footage of streams that might break the rules, something Twitch has encouraged streamers to do before the new policies go into effect on Monday, February 19. Both also said they might have to cut down on "banter" and using other streamers as consistent butts of jokes, as that could be considered harassment.

"I'm not going to another platform," said Forsen, after the town hall video concluded. "Fuck that."

"Monday is a new day, I'm gonna be a new Greek, smiley faces and all that bullshit," said Greekgodx, who has 301,431 followers on Twitch.

In the end, Forsen remained concerned, saying that while he'll need to talk with Twitch staff before he's certain about where he stands, some things about his stream and community will probably have to change. For streamers such as Forsen and Greekgodx, who make a living off another company's platform even though they are not employees of that company, continuing to pay the bills means playing by the rules.

"You guys are probably pretty hated by Twitch, I'm not gonna lie," Forsen said to his chat, who pride themselves on being at the vanguard of "edgy" (which sometimes means racist, sexist or homophobic) memes, and who've gotten Forsen suspended from Twitch with questionable stunts in the past.

"Twitch might not give a single fuck whether or not you're memeing," Forsen said at another point during the stream. Still, he believes that his community is bigger than ever, and he still thinks that Twitch will hesitate to permanently ban streamers who pull big audiences.

His chat responded with "kill yourself" jokes and Nazi references, among other things. Forsen sighed again.

"Guys, you're gonna get me in trouble," he said.


Comments

    Again, no strong feelings about this, I don't watch streams.

    While new to the medium, the concept of broadcasters being held accountable for actions they may have had a hand in creating is nothing new.
    If a show on TV caused people to do something stupid they would most certainly be called out.

      seeing as you commented here, if you now go on to sprout racist sexist nonsense on another forum, kotaku is now responsible for your actions.

      thats the gist of the twitch rule changes.

        It's really not.

        Kotaku has a responsibility to moderate the comments on their site and if someone posted some racist sexist nonsense here it would almost certainly be modereted.

        The issue here is that these streamers are not doing that. They are not moderating their chats and are in fact encouraging the poor behaviour. They aren't responsible for what members of their community might post on other sites, but they ARE responsible for what members of their community post on twitch.

        THAT's the gist of the twitch rule changes - actually making these controversial streamers responsible for their channels.

    "...controversial memes such as racist gag Ugandan Knuckles,"

    Your incessant labelling of that meme as racist is only pushing it deeper into the shit pile, as much as I hate memes that's definitely the wrong thing to do, don't roll over and let shitty people ruin the imagery and don't fall into the pratfall of thinking anything to do with races in any negative or uncomfortable capacity is racist.

      Of course it's racist. It's a bunch of white kids making clicking noises 'because that's what africans do LOL'.

      And before you try the BUT THAT ONE UGANDAN GUY SAID IT IS OK SO THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT RACIST no, that isn't a counter argument unless you're a racist.

      The fact this comment will be censored by the usual roster of Kotaku alt right racists should just seal the deal.

        "...making clicking noises 'because that's what africans do LOL'."

        Or it's just an aspect of life they've not been exposed to and it's funny in that capacity. It sounds weird, odd, our natural response to that is humour. It's not inherently charged with malice or issue, thus not racist. If someone was to go and excessively mock or denigrate, then maybe, but until then it's just inappropriate and crass.

      It's 100% racist. You may not care or you may not think it's harmful and you may or may not be right. But it's racist, regardless.

      Call a spade a spade. It's a bunch of predominantly white people laughing about how African people speak. thatsracist.gif

        "...predominantly white people"

        First of all, take that racist shit and go fuck yourself with it, you hypocritical cunt.

        Also, white American people will also mock how white British and white Australian people talk, I'm pretty sure if you raised a white person in Africa they might sound different and people would laugh at that too because it's different and weird and that's sometimes how we respond to those scenarios you thick and stupid but opinion filled fuck.

          People who have a funny accent isn't the same as people who have a funny accent and have been living their entire lives without clean water.
          Edit: It's not a stretch to say that the majority of people from the English speaking world who spend a significant amount of time on the internet are going to be white. Most of Europe fits into that category as well, so "predominantly white people" fits the bill.

          Like I said. You can think it's harmless. You might be right. Maybe it's harmless, like Americans making fun of Australian accents. But that doesn't make it not racist.

          Also, Cool your fucking jets, mate.

          Last edited 13/02/18 12:51 pm

        Derogatory, yes.
        Mean, yes.
        Insensitive, yes.
        Racist, not by definition no.

        I'm not defending it at all but we are getting to the point where we incorrectly throw terms around so much that they start to loose their meaning when used correctly.

        The irony of inserting "That's racist.gif" which is now a joke meme about how people label everything as racist hasn't passed me either.

        So your more calling a spoon a spade.

          Derogatory and insensitive. Based on perceived racial difference. It is racist. I don't see how that's incorrectly labelled. Now, is all racism bad? If so, then The Boondocks is a bad show. But I like that show, so there's obviously a pretty interesting discussion to have, there. Is racism ok if it doesn't hurt anyone? How can we measure that? Does it matter who is being racist to whom? I don't know. That's a huge topic I'm not educated enough to really talk about.

          Like I said to Sweary McAngryface up there, I'm not arguing that it's harmful. I don't know if it is. I've never asked any of the Ugandans I've met about it. Maybe they don't care. But like you said, it's derogatory, mean, and insensitive. Seeing it's aimed specifically at African people, I'd say it's racist.

            Derogatory and insensitive. Based on perceived racial difference. It is racist. I don't see how that's incorrectly labelled.
            Get a dictionary and look it up. Where is the infected superiority, the prejudice or malice, in the Ugandan knuckles meme?

            And the rest, you're just running off to you're own discussion there that isn't adding or responding to anything I said.

              The other points you discussed either stem from the idea that I've incorrectly labelled racism, or are about a meme picture that tangentially relates to the topic. We're not talking about the gif and I can't address anything beyond that because the disagreement is with the definition. If we aren't working from the same definition, we can't discuss meaning.

              To answer your point: Racism doesn't need prejudice or malice to exist. That's kind of why institutionalised racism continues to exist in many places. A person doesn't need to try to be racist to be racist. You can do it with good intentions. Which is what I meant when I said that before. It doesn't matter if you mean it or if it actually hurts anyone. Attempting to make racial difference the punchline to a joke is racist by definition. You're using supposed racial differences as a base, which is the definition of racism.

    Streamers like this guy are an issue. Get as many followers as they can by letting their chat get away with acting anyway they want, even encouraging it. As a streamer its your responsibility to moderate your chat. Zero tolerance for bad and anti social behavior works wonders for gaining a mature chat that is respectful and actually enjoyable to interact with.

    Good. Anything that can get rid of the cancer that are some streams. Both the person hosting the stream and the viewers.

    Of course those who are part of the problem are gonna be upset over it as are there viewers.

    is it just me that thinks there's nothing wrong with a throwaway joke like ugandan knuckles? Chill tf out.

      You don't have to care, but it is racist. Like I said to the guy further up in the conversation: you might think it's totally harmless and you might be right. But that doesn't make it not racist.

    Good riddance. Too long visual social media has been Deadwood, virtually lawless, free of limitations and (parental) ratings, that pretty much all our forms of entertainment have to aspire to and follow. Mainly because they are web based they dont have to follow the legal requirements of 'one' country.

    There are reasons why parental ratings and other closely rated things, like broadcast guidelines exist, and despite when they sometimes go too far, they serve an important role in our society. Streamers like this guy are toxic, they promote toxicity and younger people see them as the 'norm'. Only the older you get the more you realise people like this arent brave, they arent clever for shaking the trees everyone else is too scared to, the masses dont do that because they have common human respect for others and know there are consequences for their actions. Most of streamers like this think they are the cleverest people in the room, the rest of just roll our eyes and know there is nothing original under the sun.

    “Waaaaaaaaaa I can’t behave like an asshole anymore and get paid for it - waaaaaaa”

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