No, Twitch’s move to investigate off-platform toxicity is not ‘novel’ for the industry

    
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Twitch is changing its hateful conduct and harassment policy once again, this time to allow moderators to take into account problematic activity that occurs beyond the platform’s hallowed halls.

“We will now enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch,” the company announced in a blog and email yesterday. Those offenses generally include terrorism, violence, extremism, threats of mass violence or threats toward staff, hate group membership, rape, and child exploitation. Harassment is also mentioned in the FAQ. The company will be bringing in an unnamed “third party investigative partner” to help investigations scale.

“Our law enforcement response team is trained to substantiate any evidence related to user reports and will only take action in cases where we or our third-party law firm partners have been able to find a preponderance of evidence. We will also suspend accounts for submitting large amounts of frivolous reports, or encouraging others to submit fake reports.”

Twitch says it believes this is a “novel approach for both Twitch and the industry at large,” but of course MMO players know it is not, as this is a very old problem in MMO communities and games and several MMO studios have issued similar policies in the past, including SOE before it was Daybreak (2013) and Blizzard (2018). Blizzard, for example, said it would be “proactively” looking for toxicity on YouTube and other social media to track down objectionable accounts even before they’d been reported, while five years before that, SOE declared that it would permanently ban game accounts of players caught abusing humans on social media.

In fact, when CCP Games said it was uncomfortable with such a policy a few years ago, our staff and readers weighed in with a lengthy discussion, so we probably don’t need to have it again, but let’s call it novel and do it anyway. Everything old is new again on the internet if we just say it is.

Source: Twitch
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Rndomuser

This is all will turn into Twitch banning some no-name streamers for “off platform behavior” without explaining them what they actually did while letting popular streamers still streaming regardless of what they post in their Twitter or Reddit or Discord or whatever.

This is how Twitch usually enforces their rules:

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Greaterdivinity

This is all will turn into Twitch banning some no-name streamers for “off platform behavior” without explaining them what they actually did while letting popular streamers still streaming regardless of what they post in their Twitter or Reddit or Discord or whatever.

Turn into? I mean that shit already happens, you’re pretty much describing Twitch in general : /

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Vanquesse V

I mean good on them if they manage to pull this off, but I have negative levels of trust that twitch can do anything proper these days, and yet their shortsightedness and unwillingness to actually solve their problems keep surprising me.

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Greaterdivinity

Also, who the heck is doing the investigating? Like, a reputable firm but…who?

That said this is a good policy that’s long overdue, even if it doesn’t address Twitch’s history of allowing known toxic streamers literally banned from other platforms to join Twitch with no problemo. They’re gonna need to show that they’re getting their act together, this sounds a lot more like the performative “streamer board” that seems to have disappeared into nothingness already.

In semi-related news, I guess some folks are noticing a talk Intel gave at GDC a few months back. Seems neat, though intrusive, AI to monitor chat and dynamically “bleep” out things like vulgarity or racist speech. Neat! And it’s got controllable tools so if say, you’re a group of mostly Black friends and you want to allow the N-word amongst your friends you can. Fair enough.

And then there’s a slide-bar for…white nationalism –
comment image

They’re trying, I give them props for this. But like…Intel…we get what you were going for and some of these are solid, like a slider for “sexually explicit language”. But like…the correct level of “white nationalism” to allow through your new AI service is, and should always be, “none”. That’s precisely the RIGHT amount of white nationalism to allow. If players want more than that, they can like, not use the tool.

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Bryan Correll

Is there a “just plain stupid” slider?

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Utakata

No software or AI can solve our N*zi problems though. Only we can solve our N*zi problems by openly resisting them and ridicule. And not voting them and their apologists into public offices or platforms. Just saying.

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McGuffn

I guess my question is why white nationalism isn’t just grouped under racism and xenophobia. and if you really need a separate n word category, why isn’t that a subheading under it too.

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Arktouros

The only scenario I can think of would be something like a “Pepe the Frog” style scenario. There was a lot of hub-bub about the thing way back when because some trolls started using the character for memes associated with some controversial causes. This in turn led to articles and other craziness where people were trying to say it’s become a symbol of white nationalism or hate and such and people using it on other places, such as Twitch, are all using racist symbolism. This is of course not the way most people are using it which leads to the scenario where people continue to use it regardless of what some people think it means.

So in that scenario I can see something like a setting is set to “None” means nothing at all, not even the semi controversial stuff, where as maybe a “Some” might let things like that pass.

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Greaterdivinity

Pepe and the “OK” hand gesture have the same kind origins.

Harmless and fine, then used by trolls to “own the media/libs” – pepe more just because he was co-opted hard by the alt-right (to the point where the creator even gave a mock funeral IIRC), the “OK” symbol purely as a troll that worked fantastically well for a brief moment…until actual white supremacists started routinely using it and the “trolling” became reality.

It’s hard to detach that symbolism when you see guys marching down the street waving Confederate, Nazi, and Pepe flags and integrating Pepe extensively into their racist imagery and messaging.

But given their talk about the AI, I imagine it’s designed to try to figure out the context around the image so just a normal posting wouldn’t trigger. But who knows. In most circles I hang around in its use has simply stopped and been replaced by other meme-esque images that are equally as good and don’t carry that depressing baggage : /

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Arktouros

It’s hard to detach that symbolism when you see guys marching down the street waving Confederate, Nazi, and Pepe flags and integrating Pepe extensively into their racist imagery and messaging.

For me, and I’d wager a good majority of Twitch users going by emote usage, it’s extremely easy to detach that symbolism. Oh some stupid fucking racists start using something, guess that’s not allowed anymore. That’s just some straight up bullshit to me. I don’t need machine learning AI to put context to an image to figure out that a peepo playing a saxaphone is just fine.

But this is the entire point of what I was getting at. The topic is a debated one. I’ve run into communities who just outright ban anything Pepe/peepo related because it’s debated. Obviously people aren’t always using it in racist ways, but some racists are using it. It’s a great example where a slider for something like “White Nationalism” would come in because if you really wanted “none” then you don’t want any of the even debated issues like a Pepe/Peepo to appear where as maybe a “some” lets in things like that.

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J. J. Sándor

And there I was, thinking, “I’ll just read some MMO news before going to sleep…” Silly me.

Not sure if you’re being racist, or just blinded by your American (?) perspective. But, you know, not all countries in the world are multicultural melting pots like yours. Some happen to be inhabited by very homogeneous, culturally and ethnically unique groups of people, and even though it may surprise you, their inhabitants like it that way. My country is one of them, one in the middle of several such countries, and it has been like that for over a thousand years. We’re quite literally the indigenous populace living in our own ancestral homeland. And… we also happen to be White. Although of course we never described ourselves as such, because we never had any non-White neighbors to compare with.

Despite our skin color, we’ve never held any African colonies. We’ve never imported any African slaves. We’ve never had as much as a pygmy ZOO here. We’ve never hurt anybody in Africa; in fact, during the Soviet era, we used to have an extensive free guest student program for African students in our medical and technical schools, and our construction engineers helped many African nations with their infrastructure during the 70s and 80s after their colonizers abandoned them.

And now… now you come over and claim that we, the indigenous people of this land, are not entitled to our own country, our own nationalism, our own cultural self-determination, our own ethnical uniqueness, because we happen to have a pale skin? I don’t even know how to describe it – racism, colonialism, or just plain ignorance?

I get it, you folks have every reason to feel guilty about Africans and their role in your cotton and molasses industry. But perhaps you could stop projecting your shame-induced self-flagellation onto the rest of the world? Just because YOU stole your land and populated it with slaves, it doesn’t mean that everybody else did the same.

Well, back to lurking mode. See you all in three years.

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Greaterdivinity

Yo, Finland or something being overwhelmingly white ain’t “white nationalism” yo. I have no clue what you’re going on about, to be honest. Just horribly, horribly confused.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Also known as ‘reverse racism’, or ‘white grievance’. White people like to play victim lately, after being ‘in power’ all over the world for their skin color for generations. How dare white people call out white people? They are under some delusion that because you’re calling them out for their skin color, that it’s racism. This is another example of a white apologist. They want you to think of them as a woe is me story so you can feel some sympathy for them after they denied other culture’s (They even quite clearly made that point in there.) existences. Then they make allusions to how ‘I had a black friend’ or in this person’s case, made a “We let ‘those people’ in here as charity” because they deigned to. Arrogance is going to be the downfall of these types, because people are sick of them thinking they are better than others.

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Arktouros

Not really all that shocking or surprising given the scenarios coming out last year about allegations against people outside of the platform. Like there was that whole thing with the PogChamp guy and the Capital riots earlier this year.

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Hikari Kenzaki

It’s not really new for Twitch, either. It’s something they’ve been doing for a while, this is more a public statement to appease detractors and limit liability.
It’s not a bad statement to make, but it’s not much beyond what they were already doing.

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Bryan Correll

All the title made he think was that a year ago most media were still referring to Covid-19 as “the novel coronavirus.”

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Utakata

I think scientifically that is the correct term for it. To most of us though, it’s become a household name that most of us wish it would just go away, including myself. /sigh

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Bryan Correll

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the correct name of the virus. Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is the correct name of the illness. The word “novel” is the older references was just a synonym for “new.”

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Utakata

Err…okays. Not sure that changes the consensus of why they where calling it that for accuracy sake.

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Bryan Correll

Being pedantic is just one of life’s small joys.

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Utakata

I read that as pandemic somehow. o.O

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Utakata

And look what I woke up this morning…

(Got to get out that cool kids’ new troll word first thing! /rolls eyes)

…and of course it’s not! :)

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Utakata

Edit/Erratum: And look what I woke up to* this morning…proper.

…and no doubt typo flubbing my attempt at humor only half awake. >.<

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Bryan Correll

So you only half-woke up to it?

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Utakata

Sarcasm side of brain was in full swing. The execution side of it however was still sleeping under the left pigtail. >.<