Twitch Removes ‘Blind Playthrough’ Tag After Disability Criticism

Twitch Removes ‘Blind Playthrough’ Tag After Disability Criticism
Image: Twitch
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Since 2018, Twitch has had a tag system that allows streamers to categorise their broadcasts according to their content’s contents and give viewers an at-a-glance idea of what they’re about. Tags also tie into Twitch’s still-rudimentary (but increasingly prominent) recommendation system. Until very recently, “blind playthrough” was one of these official Twitch tags. Now, however, it’s not.

“Blind playthrough” was meant to be applied to first-time runs through games, frequently with the implication that streamers didn’t want chat spoiling key story elements or trying to backseat game. Streamers and other content creators use the term pretty frequently. Recently, however, Twitch removed the “blind playthrough” tag following concerns about ableist language. Today, Twitch community and creator marketing director Erin “Aureylian” Wayne acknowledged the change on Twitter.

“Happy to see Twitch has listened to everyone who shared feedback and removed the ‘Blind Playthrough’ tag to encourage more inclusive language for our community,” she wrote. “You can still use ‘First Playthrough’ or opt to use it in combination with ‘No Spoilers’ for the same sentiment.”

Previously, the “blind playthrough” tag received criticism over disability connotations. In June, for example, AbleGamers COO and Twitch partner Steven Spohn discussed the tag in a longer thread about disability terms and negative language.

“‘Blind playthrough’ or ‘going in blind’ can easily be replaced by saying ‘No spoilers playthrough’ or ‘Undiscovered’ or ‘first’ (if it is your first). A blind playthrough would be to turn your monitor off, and that’s not what most mean,” said Spohn. “Just as we used to say ‘gay’ when something was bad, using disability terms as an alternate word for a negative situation or feeling is common in today’s language. But just as we stopped saying gay to mean bad, we can stop saying these words too. Think about the words you choose.”

The change is, as Spohn pointed out, kind of a no-brainer; “first playthrough” not only avoids adding another drop to an ocean of ableist language, but it also makes more sense. If I was a Twitch outsider, I could assume that “blind playthrough” might refer to any number of things. “First playthrough” is exactly what it says on the box: Somebody’s first time playing through a game.

Some streamers, however, are hoping for something a little more substantial from Twitch in the future.

“I still wish they had a disability tag so I can find more disabled gamers on Twitch to network with,” said streamer and artist DaniDawnstar, echoing a sentiment that is not uncommon across multiple marginalised communities on Twitch.

Spohn, whose organisation regularly advises video game companies on these sorts of issues, thinks things are headed in an encouraging direction.

“I’m happy to see Twitch following through on promises to address and resolve issues and concerns from the disability community,” Spohn said on Twitter today. “It’s just the beginning.”

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Comments

  • What utter ridiculousness.

    Does this mean that we are now to disregard all other definitions of the word “blind”? Do people forget that “blind” also means, “lacking perception, awareness, or judgement.” Which is exactly what a blind playthrough is.

    Am I not to call my blinds at home, blinds? They are certainly not curtains…

    Does this mean the song “blinded by the light” is now ableist and should be stricken from my Spotify list?

    When driving, don’t forget to check those spots that you are unable to see because they are not readily in your eye line, and definitely not because of some form congenital, injury or disease, before you merge into the next lane. *rolls eyes*

    It’s the blind leading the blind here, with all this faux wokeness and virtue signalling. Perhaps they should instead focus on working on improving access to those with visual impairments, or even sending some of those millions to organisations that benefit such people… You know, enact real and thoughtful change instead of pandering to the woke mob

    • Care to share exactly what “real and thoughtful change” you are working on, in between all the time you invest in letting us know how offended you are?

      Certainly none of your no doubt very many worthy causes seem to come up in your voluminous rants about how a little bit of cheap courtesy will inevitably lead us down a slippery slope of biblical disaster, dogs and cats sleeping together, and the downfall of society due to a complete ban on vertical blinds.

      • Well, going by current woke mob standards, I’ll now be referring to “blinds” as “vertical slates which cover windows”. That’s good enough isn’t it? Hell, it’s better than what you’ve just done, using such ableist terminology.

        Tell me, with all your infinite wisdom, how is “blind playthrough” in any way a “negative connotation”.

        “blind” has many other definitions other than “can’t see cos reasons”. Definitions that “blind playthrough” actually adheres to. Do we just ignore those definitions now? Does “blind” only mean one thing now and we have to start using a different word for those other meanings?

        As for the “real and thoughtful change”. I dunno, that’s why there are organisations out there that specialise in such things. Literally read the sentence before I said that. Talk about being blind.

        • I read about what you think “they” should be doing, I’m still waiting to hear about what you are doing.

          You know, it’s actually quite possible to both ask people to be more respectful in their use of language and to be “working on improving access to those with visual impairments”. As if Twitch doesn’t have entire departments dedicated to that very thing. Yes, chewing gum and walking at the same time is actually a thing. But sure, you just keep throwing out your cheap, completely uninformed shots while congratulating yourself on how smart you are.

          It’s just so much easier to swan around criticising other people, and repeating the same tired old slippery slope arguments over and over as if this is going to somehow overcome the fallaciousness of your arguments by simple force of repetition, eh? lol

          • But doesn’t nuffman have the right to his opinions? He can respectfully decline what you’re saying. His opinions are valid and is the continual debate on if and when a line should be drawn, in this instance, it’s only fair to state that the word “blind” has many uses. The issue is that these changtes of words and how they “should be used” is becoming more and more common. This notion of changing everyday common words and phrases is pretty much becoming doublethink, and the narrative of “You have to use the word this way now”.

            It seems you ask him for respect but he respectfully has the right to not give it in return because you never showed it to begin with.

          • @kelsier
            Welcome to Kotaku comments where the circle never stops on the same arguments being said over and over and over again where those who have their gender pronouns on their twitter page want to police the way people talk and other that claim “context matters” and no respect is shown to either side because theres a better chance of an incel having sex with a feminist that people on here to change their mind on something.

      • Am I listening to myself? Excuse me, don’t use such ableistic terms with me? How dare you offend those people with hearing impediments

  • “Just as we used to say ‘gay’ when something was bad, using disability terms as an alternate word for a negative situation or feeling is common in today’s language. But just as we stopped saying gay to mean bad, we can stop saying these words too. ”

    I 100% agree, but it seems like a weird comparison to draw in this instance. The term ‘blind playthrough’ never had any negative connotations.

    I couldn’t care less about twitch’s tag names, and if avoiding the phrase actually does make some people feel better that’s good I guess, I’m just kinda surprised that a colloquialism like this that’s purely descriptive with no negativity associated with it would be considered a problem.

    • Hey if the ok sign can now be given a racist connotation anything is faur game these days I guess?

      Im personally disappointed in myself for even clicking and reading this… im over this whole thing. Someone call me when we can all start talking rationally again and remember that context matters.

    • Yes, gay as a slur has always been self-evidently a direct reference to homosexuality. The actual, original, meaning of ‘gay’ is ‘happy’, after all. It was indeed an odd assertion.

        • Huh? Angorafish was agreeing with me that it was strange to make a comparison between a word that became an obvious slur and one that… hasn’t.

          The analogy between ‘blind playthrough’ and the word gay (when used as a slur) being bad doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with Twitch voluntarily changing the name of one of their tags because a few people said it would make them more comfortable, of course.

          • The comment, which you quoted, was used to help justify Stephen’s stance on why “blind playthrough” should be changed for (somehow) being ableist.

            While correct in that “gay as a slur has always been self-evidently a direct reference to homosexuality.” “blind playthrough” has never had any form of negative connotation associated with it.

            From what I can gather (from https://www.acedisability.org.au/information-for-providers/language-disability.php) The only reason “blind” has been used negatively in association with people with such impediments, is because they wish to be referenced as a person first (instead of “blind person”, a “person who is blind”). Which, is a very different discussion, one I think even Angora and I would agree on (mostly), than what this article is about.

            My ignoring context comment is because a) Stephen uses a narrow definition of the word “blind” (someone that can’t see for reasons) when making his comment about “blind playthrough”. His words being, “A blind playthrough would be to turn your monitor off and that’s not what most mean.”

            A “blind playthrough” has never had any connotation with visual impairment, in any form. It literally means “a let’s play of a game which the author hasn’t played or finished before. This is used to capture the feeling of exploration one may get when playing certain games for the first time.”

            Hence the ignoring context.

  • No issue with the actual change, largely because it’s pretty harmless and there are other ways to describe it.

    However, I do take issue when people do things like this to accomplish these sorts of goals…
    // A blind playthrough would be to turn your monitor off, and that’s not what most mean, //
    When you ignore context and that the actual meaning of ‘blind playthrough’ doesn’t explicitly fit your hand picked meaning, of course it’s always going to be wrong.

    I just can’t stand people who ignore context and twist language, going on about how it doesn’t fit their exact personally selected meaning, all in order to quite literally manufacture more reasons on how something is wrong.

    • Nobody is ignoring context. Nobody is arguing that people using the phrase are intending it in some way as a slight on people with a disability.

      All that’s being said here is that the same thing can be said in a slightly different way without losing any of its meaning, and doing that makes Twitch feel like a slightly more inviting place for people with a disability.

      And it’s not like anyone on Twitch is actively censoring the phrase, all that’s happening is that Twitch will no longer be promoting it as an official tag in favour of a more inclusive alternative.

      Sheesh. Read some of the hysterical comments around here and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Ministry of Truth was physically visiting everyone’s house and forcibly redacting certain words and phrases from people’s dictionaries.

      • “Nobody is ignoring context.”

        In the article: “Previously, the “blind playthrough” tag received criticism over disability connotations. In June, for example, AbleGamers COO and Twitch partner Steven Spohn discussed the tag in a longer thread about disability terms and negative language.”

        From Stephen Spohn: “A blind playthrough would be to turn your monitor off, and that’s not what most mean.”

        He and they are literally ignoring context and the fact that blind has multiple different definitions. “blind playthrough” has literally zero connotation with the disability. Zero. the mental gymnastics needed to make the connection is asinine, at best.

        Your last comment is funny, considering I, a white man, cannot call my white friend, nigger (or even type the word out in full, let’s see how this goes), to indicate “solidarity or affection”. Because “reasons”. It has literally been “forcibly redacted” from my lexicon.

        Hell, a viral video that did the rounds showing a black rapper, calling on a white audience member to join him on stage and rap a song with him, got booed out and kicked off the stage (and maybe concert, I can’t remember) by said rapper and audience because they used the word “nigger” while rapping the lyrics of the song, the black rapper *knew* the word was in there, and still chose a white person to rap with him and then had a go at the person for rapping the song correctly. I should be able to spit out the lyrical awesomeness of Snoop Dogg at the top of my lungs without being called a racist, for rapping the song correctly and amazingly.

        But hey. Please continue to ignore context

        • Ive never seen a man eat so many chick…i mean ive never seen a man ignore context so often to make some point.
          But considering i will say the word nigga/nigger depending on context (I.E. “I like ol dirty bastards second album “Nigga Please”, i dont know why as im not a huge rap guy, but i really do like that album.) fishboy probably thinks im racist now. Boo hoo. 🙁

          • If you’re white, you’re not allowed to consume rap music. that’s cultural appropriation.

            Angorafish probably thinks I’m homophobic because I don’t think an 11 yr old boy, dressed in drag, should be dancing, topless, in a gay bar while adult men throw dollar bills at him. (hell, the boy’s mother called people homophobic for saying that)

          • @nuffman

            I wonder what he would think about my lesbian friends who still use “thats gay” as meaning something that sucks.
            Internal homophobia perhaps? Or is this a case where you an only use the word if you are gay/lesbian?
            OH WISE GATE KEEPER OF LANGUAGE! DIVINE US YOUR GIFT AND IMPART YOUR WISDOM FROM UPON THY HIGH HORSE!

        • Twitch: “lets change the name of this feature to try be more inclusive, without changing any of the functionality or features of the service we offer”
          Nuffman and m2d2: “WHY CAN’T WHITE PEOPLE SAY RACIST SLURS?? GENDER PRONOUNS ARE DUMB!! STRAIGHT WHITE PEOPLE ARE SO OPPRESSED IN THE LANGUAGE WE CAN USE”

          You two are actually bonkers. Do you even hear yourselves?

          • And, before you start assuming, I was as surprised as most people appear to be when I read that “blind playthrough” could have a negative connotation. But I also think that their decision to stop using the term is a non-issue, and certainly not one worth having an anguished freedom of speech tantrum about.

          • Interestingly none of that was said.

            Maybe you aren’t “hearing” correctly… Or is that now ableist also?

            How does changing the name “blind playthrough” help be inclusive, other than just virtue signal to a bunch of definitely not blind people, so you can pat yourself on the back and wish yourself a job well done? For that to be effective, it would have to have been offensive and be used in an offensive manner. Both of which are absent in context and intent.

            It sets a precedent that people can refer to. You laugh about a slippery slope, but you can see a clear line from “let’s not use nigger, cos of it’s extensive use horrendous history”, all the way to “blind playthrough is offensive. Even though blind is not an offensive word to those with visual impairment, blind, in this instance, doesn’t refer to a person’s sight, and a blind playthrough is not a negative thing”. May not be a slippery slope, but there’s a downward trajectory.

          • I think blind people have more issues than a word stopping them feeling included in twitch.

            Seriously, If the mere use of the word blind in circumstances not related to you causes you that much mental harm, You have serious issues and should seek mental help.

            It’s not normal.

            This isn’t something like someone using a racial slur which might make those targeted by it unwelcome. This is a normal word used in the English language.

            The word is not the problem, the person taking offence to it being used in this context is.

          • I was exaggerating for comical value, but these are all direct (and ridiculous) quotes from you both:

            “Your last comment is funny, considering I, a white man, cannot call my white friend, nigger (or even type the word out in full, let’s see how this goes), to indicate “solidarity or affection”. Because “reasons”. It has literally been “forcibly redacted” from my lexicon.”

            “I should be able to spit out the lyrical awesomeness of Snoop Dogg at the top of my lungs without being called a racist, for rapping the song correctly and amazingly.”

            “where those who have their gender pronouns on their twitter page want to police the way people talk and other that claim “context matters””

            “But considering i will say the word nigga/nigger depending on context (I.E. “I like ol dirty bastards second album “Nigga Please”, i dont know why as im not a huge rap guy, but i really do like that album.) fishboy probably thinks im racist now. Boo hoo. ????”

            “OH WISE GATE KEEPER OF LANGUAGE! DIVINE US YOUR GIFT AND IMPART YOUR WISDOM FROM UPON THY HIGH HORSE!”

            And forgive me for not wanting to enter into an earnest discussion with you about why inclusivity is a good thing to strive for and how little gestures can go a long way, even if you don’t personally believe it to be a problem. Your post history in this thread (and in general tbh) tells me it would be an exercise in futility and a waste of my time.

          • @mogwai

            To quote you.

            “I was exaggerating for comical value”

            Pointing out the absurdity of it all.

            “And forgive me for not wanting to enter into an earnest discussion with you about why inclusivity is a good thing to strive for”

            This has literally zero to do with actual inclusivity. This is as absurd as changing the name of vertical blinds, in the name of inclusivity. The word “blind” in “blind playthrough” has literally zero connotation with people who are blind, or with visual impairments. At all. The reason you don’t want to enter into an “earnest” discussion, is because there is no way to connect the two and justify it.

            If we were talking about the word “nigger” and it’s implications, we’d probably find some common ground, up until I say, “if it’s that bad, then noone should be using it, regardless of context.”
            (You probably celebrated in the streets when idiots were talking about forcing the change of the cheese brand Coon. Regardless if it was named after the guy who patented the process to make it and has literally zero connotation to the actual slur.)

            But we all know you people don’t care about context or intent.

            Offense is always taken, not always given.

            Go find a person who is blind, that is offended by the term “blind” or “blind playthrough”. You won’t, cos they aren’t.

          • “The word “blind” in “blind playthrough” has literally zero connotation with people who are blind, or with visual impairments. At all. The reason you don’t want to enter into an “earnest” discussion, is because there is no way to connect the two and justify it.”

            Go back and read my second comment. Y’know, the one where I said I was surprised that the term “blind playthrough” could be considered offensive. I don’t want to enter a discussion with you about the bigger picture of inclusive language and reclamation language because I have neither the time nor the energy. I also question whether you’d really pay attention to what I’m saying, given you still think I’m saying this particular change was justified, despite me preempting you several comments above by stating my opinion on this particular issue.

          • “Your post history in this thread (and in general tbh) tells me it would be an exercise in futility and a waste of my time.”
            You still wasted your time though didnt you.
            Checkmate.

          • and for the record, im still going to say ‘racist slurs’ in the right context, no matter if it is deemed unacceptable for white people to say ‘no matter the context’.
            And whilst very much silly that twitch has done this. I dont actually care, i just wanted to have a bit of fun. Which i did, so id like to thank you and fishboy for that.
            KISSES!

          • “Go back and read my second comment. Y’know, the one where I said I was surprised that the term “blind playthrough” could be considered offensive. ”

            “And forgive me for not wanting to enter into an earnest discussion with you about why inclusivity is a good thing to strive for and how little gestures can go a long way, even if you don’t personally believe it to be a problem.”

            Sure, you may have said that, but you also consider it a step on the right direction.

            And please, you’re the one that won’t actually listen or take anything on board. Your argument boils down to. “It’s bad cos it is.” You don’t care about context, you don’t care about intent.
            As soon as anyone brings up such things, you throw your hands in the air and say “but mah inclusivity”. Proof in point, your two comments above.

          • Cool, m2d2, I’m now glad you’ve directly clarified that the majority of your contribution to this topic (and site in general) consists of faux-outrage and trolling through wilful baiting to engage in bad faith arguments just to get a rise out of other community members.

            Nuffman, your valiant reaching to put an argument in my mouth where none has been stated is truly inspiring. Watch you don’t tear a logic muscle. My contribution to the actual topic has been “I don’t see a problem with the apparently offensive term, but I support efforts to be more inclusive, even if they misstep from time to time”. Not sure where you’re pulling the rest from.

            But if there is something m2d2 is right about, it’s that I am truly wasting my time. I’ve been got. I’m a sucker for a bite back apparently.

          • They busted out the ‘Good ol reliable’ “bad faith” argument again when someone said something they didnt like.
            Nothing beats that!
            But to be truthful, in this argument, as i said, i dont really care so it is very much fake outrage in this time, other times i do really think they(and you) want the lunatics to run the asylum.
            Still like to make fun of the ones with their pronouns in their twitter bio trying to make sure people dont say words they dont like even if the context is wildly fucking different.

          • “My contribution to the actual topic has been “I don’t see a problem with the apparently offensive term”

            Noone has given a reason as to why it is offensive, other than applying an incorrect definition to the word “blind”.

            The mincing of language in the vain attempt to stir faux outrage is what is offensive.

            If “blind playthrough” is offensive, then so is your comment, “I don’t see a problem”.

            And in fact, your comment would be the actual offensive term, because “see” in that context has to do with sight, unlike “blind” in “blind playthrough”.

            That’s how stupid your argument is.

          • Sweet Jesus, nuffman, you are either unbelievably dense or are the most gifted troll I’ve come across in a while. I actually cannot tell which it is, or which is worse.

            I said “apparently offensive” because “apparently” the AbleGamers COO finds it offensive. I never said I thought it was offensive. I think it’s an overreaction to a benign term that has very little, if anything, to do with the disability. HOWEVER, here’s where you and I differ: I think that it was a well intentioned, yet misguided, change that doesn’t really affect anyone in any meaningful way, so it’s not worth screaming “thought police!” from the rooftops.

            How do you not get this? It’s like you want someone to argue against so desperately that you’re flat out making shit up.

          • “because “apparently” the AbleGamers COO finds it offensive.”

            A person who is decidedly not blind, applying a false and incorrect definition to a word, so that he can find it offensive, on behalf of people who are actually blind, who most likely don’t give a rat’s arse.

            *Clap clap clap*

            “I think that it was a well intentioned”

            Explain to me how purposefully applying a false definition to a word, with the purpose of causing outrage, can be anything close to “well intentioned”. Give me a reason how it can be.

            Stephen is a gamer, from the looks of it, an experienced one, he *should* know the meaning of “blind playthrough”, and he has purposefully applied an incorrect definition, for some stupid reason.

            With his ability to apply false definitions, I’m surprised he hasn’t called out “speed running” for being ableist.

          • When I was referring to well intentioned actions, I wasn’t referring to Spohn or AbleGamers original statement, I was referring to Twitch platform changes. Either way, something can be well intentioned yet flawed or misguided.

            The intention was to try avoid offending people who are living with a hearing disability, which is an admirable thing to do; we should all strive to be more inclusive *in meaningful and productive ways*. They just didn’t stop to think that it wasn’t really a meaningful issue in the first place.

      • Twisting language to BE offensive is absolutely what has taken place here, no matter which way you slice it.

        Because you’re right… Nobody was using ‘blind playthrough’ as a slight on people with a disability. Nobody. It had nothing to even do with sight.

        You have to quite literally CHANGE THE DEFINITION of ‘blind playthrough’ for it to be offensive… And the ONLY ones who did that are the ones who were claiming it’s offensive.

        They gonna target Poker for using the term ‘blinds’ next?

      • “doing that makes Twitch feel like a slightly more inviting place for people with a disability.”

        Does that mean that people who are blind, wouldn’t find my house “inviting” because of all the blinds I have? Or would they feel uncomfortable knowing that I often check my blindspot before merging?

        Literally zero blind people would see this as a win or step in the right direction. (Wait.. is it offensive to use “see” in this context?).

  • Pssh, come on now.
    I have to wonder how many blind people “encounter” the term “blind playthrough” and are actually offended by it.
    As can be found in this mess of the comments, blind does have multiple meanings, so it’s odd that whoever spearedheaded this change decided there was only one and that it was bad to be used in this context.

    I wonder how many people are going to note its absence and just add it to the stream title instead.

    • I’m sure the vast majority of actually blind people would have encountered enough *real* hardship that they would not be phased by the different uses of the word ‘blind’.

  • Meh. Who cares if twitch use another name? Good for them?

    The phrase ‘blind playthrough’ is entirely reasonable and will likely continue to be used by many others; as has been pointed out, ‘blind’ has a number of definitions that have nothing to do with taking aim at those unfortunate enough to have serious problems with their actual sight.

    • I feel bad for those that have had their leg/s amputated, either for medical reasons or through accidents… They must feel really disclosed by hearing the term “Speed run”. I hope Twitch addresses that

    • Those who are recovering amphetamine addicts find the word “Speed” offensive.

      Speedrunners should check their privledge.

  • I think this comment section got a little silly. Although I think changing the word blind was a bit over-the-top, it has no bearing on how I view Twitch, which is to say I don’t view Twitch anyway.

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