Last week, an Indiana University Bloomington team released its analysis of over a billion comments made on Twitch over a two-month period in 2014 (not exactly gaming’s finest year), finding that at least in popular channels, a “streamer’s gender is significantly associated with the types of messages that they receive — male streamers receive more game-related messages while female streamers receive more objectifying messages.” In other words, male streamers are more likely to be barraged with comments about mechanics and combat, while female streamers are peppered with comments about their boobs and makeup, which is something you probably expected anyway and is now confirmed With Science. Sigh.
Here on Massively OP, our chief streamer is a woman (MJ), as is one of our podcasters (me), and while we’ve certainly taken more than our fair share of abuse over the years, I think I can say that in general, our community in specific and the MMORPG community are subject to much less garbage than the average e-sports or shooter channel. That’s probably because we’re one of the relatively small channels with tighter moderation referred to in the paper; the researchers found that in smaller channels, viewers are generally talking with the streamer, whereas on the crazy big channels with chat that flies by faster than you can read it, people are there to talk about the streamer.
I wonder how your own personal observations match up. Do you consider Twitch a minefield of abuse or gross behavior? Are MMORPGs better than other genres in this arena? Is it the general chat of the world? And if so, what exactly should Twitch (or we as users) do about it that it isn’t already doing?